Just in time for the holiday madness, UPS embraces new green packaging label solution

Talk about a customized piece of green tech.Hewlett-Packard and the United Parcel Service have collaborated to design a device that not only can scan packages for tracking purposes but that can print sorting labels right onto packages, cutting out the paper that would normally go toward printing labels.

Talk about a customized piece of green tech.

Hewlett-Packard and the United Parcel Service have collaborated to design a device that not only can scan packages for tracking purposes but that can print sorting labels right onto packages, cutting out the paper that would normally go toward printing labels. The device will replace the solution that is currently provided by the combination of a large thermal printer PLUS a personal computer PLUS a monitor PLUS a scanner.

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The product, called the HP Handheld sp400 All-in-One and more familiarly referred to by the creators as an "imprinter," has already been deployed at 41 U.S. package centers and it will be in 55 centers by the end of the year. According to the companies, the total deployment will be about 850 imprinters. The two companies got together to spec out the hardware design and UPS has developed a custom application for its employees.

The handheld, which was used at a beta test in Orlando, is capable of handling about 40,000 packages daily. After the full-scale deployment, UPS will handle about 1.5 million packages per day using the devices by mid-2009 (with a goal of 3.1 million daily by 2010). The companies are estimating that they can save 1,338 tons of paper annually after the full deployment (reducing roughly 3,807 tons of carbon emissions), not to mention the millions it hopes to save in operational costs and reduced errors. (HP refers to this site as the source for its environmental impact estimate.) By 2013, UPS figures it could cut out $30 million in costs using the handheld to change the printing and tracking process.

This video shows the new product in action.