Posting in Energy
eBay is giving away 100,000 FSC-certified boxes in the hopes their online buyers and sellers will share in a green shipping experience. Re-sell, re-use, recycle.
When it comes to shipping, I am lazy. The line at the post office is one thing, but finding a box of suitable size, weight and durability? Forget it, too tedious, there is nothing I have that needs shipping that badly.
I'm not lazy about recycling, however, which is one of the reasons there are no cardboard boxes lying around.
Perhaps people like me are who eBay had in mind when developing their new pilot program. Starting in October, the online auction house will give away 100,000 recyclable boxes to those who request them (first come, first served).
The corrugated cardboard eBox is 100-percent recyclable, comprised entirely of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified materials and printed with water-based inks.
By our calculations, if every box gets reused at least five times, we could protect nearly 4,000 trees, save 2.4 million gallons of water and conserve enough energy to power 49 homes for a year.
The idea is that eBay sellers will receive their box, send it to their buyer, who will then use the box when they sell something to someone, and so forth.
This seems like a lot of "ifs" to me. After all, the recycling scheme won't live up to its potential if people don't actually reuse and recycle the box. (This is akin to my mom forgetting her reusable grocery bag in the car every time she walks into the store.)
But I like the idea, and if a special box was being sent my way, I would be more likely to sell some of my old stuff on eBay for someone else to use, which is also the point.
To encourage the reuse of the box, eBay is allowing participants, and all others who encounter the box through the sale of its contents, to track the travels of their box online. You can also track other peoples' boxes. For instance, the box that has traveled the farthest, the box that has been to the most states, and the box that has gone through the most eBay transactions.
All time better spent rinsing your jars and separating your plastics.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- eBay's data center boss on new Project Topaz: green is green for us
- Giant clams, illegal wildlife on eBay, and the "Geoduck Gotti"
- Procter & Gamble's new packaging is pretty sweet. Literally
- The future of...packaging
Sep 8, 2010
I sell books on the Internet and use all sorts of recycled materials. For things like the priority mail boxes mentioned above, I turn them inside out. I also reuse all sorts of envelopes, grocery bags, lawn bags that my neighbors give me after I've put the lawn waste in my compost heap, and even cereal boxes. I've become quite creative in using tape to put my packages together. For books, these options work quite well. Buyers have commented on how well packaged my items are. I sometimes wonder if they have difficulty unwrapping the item with all the tape.
@John: Lol....proper use of the box...that is the attitude that keeps people from re-using boxes in the first place. They also encourage you to buy the standard-priced boxes, which are impossible to use again later. I use every box I have as many times as possible. When the box dies, for one reason or another (usually just old age), I turn it into art. We all need to find solutions to re-use the things that are usually thrown out after one trip.
Well this is better than Priority Mail boxes. I received a product as "Priority Mail" and tried to reuse the box (covering the "priority mail" markings). USPS returned my package to me saying that it violated the proper use of the box. I know why they did it, but hey, it was a re-use of the box.
Maybe if the boxes had a sticker with a unique alphanumeric code that gave the seller a discount in fees when listing items, that would encourage people to use the box and also make it trackable (so the same account can't repeatedly use the same code). And the seller can ask the post office agent to ink stamp a blank part of the box with the ink stamp that shows city and state it was mailed from (same as the one that voids the postage stamp) that could be a fun and easy way to see where the box has been (almost like a passport!). To top it off, EBay can offer contests, say in the next 30 days, whatever box that has traveled to the most cities, they'll give everyone who particpated in using that box a small reward/recognition. This would increase the probablility of people reusing the boxes, increase listings (and revenue for EBay) and generate a lot of buzz for the company and program. I hope they see this post and implement this! Thanks for the post.