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Simple green shipping with the eBay Box

By Chris Dawson September 6, 2010 - 6:01 pm

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.

  • Gary
    6 years ago

    How would you feel as a seller shipping your valuable goods in a box with “eBay” printed all over it?

  • radams
    6 years ago

    Amazon seem to do fine with their name on boxes :)

    Wouldn’t most people expect to find some cheap tat inside a ebay box anyway ?

    • 6 years ago

      Do we really know that though? Does Amazon publish the number of their items that go missing in post? I’m assuming third party sellers don’t normally go about shipping in Amazon boxes so we’d never hear them complain.

    • radams
      6 years ago

      Thats a good point, we don’t know how much amazon loses in the post, but equally they do have the data and if they lost a significant number because of the branding they would remove it.

      Anecdotally, as a very regular Amazon customer receiving several packages a day, I don’t have any problems with missing Amazon post, nor with any other companies using branded packaging.

  • Gary
    6 years ago

    I would guess a high proportion of Amazon branded shipments fit through a standard UK letter box.

    The “eBay” boxes will not.

    Whatever is said Amazon are still very much associated with books. eBay are associated with goods that may be of more interest to the UK postal thief.

    I wonder what sort of guidence if any Royal Mail offer on the subject of branded boxes?

    • BigPoppa
      6 years ago

      I would guess that most items “lost” in post are down to recipient fraud than postal worker theft…The DSR’s facilitate this.

  • 6 years ago

    It’s about time Royal Mail give us something for free instead of putting prices up (contract airsure is rising in oct by upto 21%), and take the lead from the USPS.

    • 6 years ago

      You left out the part where Royal Mail is profitable but USPS loses billions per quarter.

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