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eBay Introduces Reusable Biodegradable Shipping Box

Some time ago, we looked at how designers are rethinking packaging to make it less ecologically demanding and more user-friendly. Now, eBay joins the movement with “simple green shipping” – a durable container designed to be sent from sellers to buyers and back until it falls apart. Which it does, of course, in a biodegradable way.

Made out of 100% FSC-certified material, the box is printed with metal-free, water-based inks. It self-assembles with a few easy folds, requiring significantly less tape to close compared to traditional shipping boxes. It’s estimated that reusing each box at least five times would save 4,000 trees and 2.4 million gallons of water, conserving enough energy to power 49 homes for a year.

The concept was a winner at this year’s eBay Innovation Expo, a showcase of creative ideas from eBay employees, and will be piloted in a run of 100,000 boxes in three different sizes starting in October. Participating sellers and buyers will be able to order boxes for free, as well as log and track them once shipped, on a special microsite.

The reusable box concept seems like a no-brainer for the company in the business of breathing second life into previously owned items. We hope to see more of the major click-and-mortar retailers adopt similar smart antidotes to disposability.


Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.


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