Microsoft will be PVC-free by the new year

Keep up the pressure, letter-writers: In response to customer concern, Microsoft has joined Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and other large corporations in declaring, “No vinyl, that’s final!” The software giant announced yesterday that it has eliminated about 361,000 pounds of polyvinyl chloride packaging since July and will phase it out completely by the end of 2005. “These measures will reduce PVC packaging over the next two years by over 1.6 million pounds,” the company says. As any good Grist reader knows, PVC has been widely criticized for releasing toxins, including dioxin and phthalates, that do all kinds of nasty stuff to humans and the natural environment. Microsoft plans to replace all PVC packaging with cardboard and recyclable polyethylene, and is also examining alternatives made out of corn starch, sugar, and vegetable oils. Soon you’ll be able to open up a new computer and then eat the packaging. Yum!