Simple green shipping with the eBay Box

100,000 reuseable, recyclable boxes are eBay’s latest foray into environmental friendliness. The eBay Box is the star prize winner from the Innovation Expo eBay holds each year, which gives employees the chance to put forward concepts and prototypes that will benefit buyers and sellers.

Voted on by eBay employees and execs the eBay Box is designed to be reused at least five times. eBay are giving the first 100,000 boxes away for free in the US and are encouraging recipients to track where their box has been online. If you reuse a box you’ll also earn rewards with eBay Bucks.

The boxes are all made from 100% recycled content corrugated cardboard and there’s space inside each box for recipients to write a personal message to the next person in the chain. eBay reckon that if the idea catches on and each box is reused five times it’ll save nearly 4,000 trees, 2.4 million gallons of water and conserve enough energy to power 49 homes for a year.

If I receive an eBay box I’ll be reusing it, but then I reuse hundreds of boxes every month without being told to – it saves a fortune on packaging supplies. Despite recycling I still have to buy in boxes and have just been negotiating prices with a new local supplier.

The issue that I see is that larger sellers need a lot more packaging than eBay is ever likely to supply for free. Once the initial 100,000 boxes are gone, it’ll be interesting to see what the cost of procuring further eBay boxes is. However USPS already supply free boxes in the US so there’s a chance that the eBay box may remain free if the program is a success.

In the mean time if eBay want to send me a pallet of 18″x18″x24″ and another pallet of 18″x18″x18″ boxes they’ll be gratefully received and I’ll happily let them know where they’re shipped to. It’ll save me a few hundred pounds and if saving money helps the environment I’m all for it.