Packaging compliance

Microsoft designs its hardware and software packaging to meet global environmental requirements. Microsoft suppliers are required to comply with applicable laws and regulations, including compliance with the European Union’s Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (1994/62/EC), as amended by 2018/852/EU and CEN packaging standards (EN 13427:2005) as well as US Toxics in Packaging legislation. Packaging for Microsoft products meet heavy metal restrictions, labelling, and essential requirements regarding packaging optimization, manufacturing, composition, recovery and reuse. Microsoft’s commitment to the continual improvement of environmentally sound packaging was initiated when Microsoft signed the Australian Packaging Covenant (APCO) on March 25, 2009 and reinforced when Microsoft signed the APC Declaration form in August 2010. Microsoft has since expanded the APC to all global packaging programs.

Download our packaging environmental requirements

Do more with less

Microsoft’s paper-first design principles reduce or eliminate our use of plastics; increase sustainable sourcing; optimize packaging size and weight; and encourage recycling. Our paper-first design principles include using less paper, reducing package documentation like user manuals, and providing more online resources than ever before.

Microsoft sustainable packaging design principles:

  • Eliminate environmentally unfavorable materials
  • Minimize packaging weight and materials
  • Increase use of recycled content
  • Design for end-of-life recycling materials, separable components, and clear material markings
  • Increase use of bio-based and other sustainable materials
  • Reduce logistics and packaging manufacturing footprint
  • Source raw materials responsibly
  • Evaluate product platforms’ overall environmental impact through life cycle analysis
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Microsoft is reducing our environmental footprint through sustainable packaging, scientific design, and industry partnerships. We have implemented an end-to-end (i-E2E) program management process for new product packaging designs, to develop efficient and environmentally friendly packaging. The i-E2E data platform champions complete product development visibility, Microsoft environmental guidelines, and beautiful design.

Microsoft invests in initiatives that encourage our company, partners and customers to increase their sustainability. In March 2009, Microsoft signed the Australian Packaging Covenant. The covenant is governed by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) — a co-regulatory, not-for-profit organization that partners with government and industry to reduce negative impacts of packaging on the Australian environment. The program is a unique voluntary commitment against which we benchmark our global sustainability program for packaging. As one of the original signatory members to the covenant, we agreed to reduce the environmental impact of our consumer packaging by encouraging improvements in packaging design, recycling rates and packaging stewardship. Each year, we report our packaging sustainability improvements against an action plan to reach our goals. Our Annual Report & Action Plan shows our performance against the APCO Packaging Sustainability Framework and our public commitment to advancing packaging sustainability.

This is just the beginning

Microsoft is looking for new ways to integrate sustainability into our packaging to offer the most powerful protection with the least environmental impact. We continue to research and improve our emphasis on recycled and certified-virgin fibers, move manual content online, and build projects of passion like lightweight rigid-board packaging.

Questions? Ask the environmental compliance team (askect@microsoft.com)