Ebay to introduce reusable packaging

October 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm

In a move to boost their image Ebay are beginning to incorporate a box that can be sent back and forth between buyers and sellers known as the ‘Simple Green Shipping’ programme. This will help the site’s users to cut down significantly on the packaging they use. The product is a simple innovation that marks a major shift in the company’s green credentials. It also highlights the importance of recycling in customer perception of businesses.

Ebay will begin trialling the new scheme in October when they will release one hundred thousand boxes. The trial boxes will be entirely free to users who can simply request them via the website.

The Ebay website is essentially used as a virtual market stall and the company rarely intervenes in sales, unless there is a dispute between parties. The company had not come under any direct criticism for waste produced by their site and their decision to produce these boxes free of charge shows a business that either genuinely cares for the environmental issues or is wise enough to take the lead in green innovation.

The boxes have been designed so that they can be re-used continually and have been produced from recyclable materials. To encourage minimal damage to the environment not only will these mean less packaging used but the boxes themselves have been constructed from 100% FSC-certified and recycled material and printed with water-based inks. (The Forest Stewardship Council is a not-for-profit group promoting responsible use of the world’s forests.) The boxes will also be printed with tips on how to minimise waste and resources.

Ebay estimates that if each box is used at least five times this would be the equivalent of protecting nearly 4,000 trees, saving 2.4 million gallons of water and conserving enough energy to power 49 homes for a year.

The appearance of Ebay in 1995 was a landmark point in the emerging internet business world and they have strived to maintain this with their yearly innovation events where employees are invited to put forward new ideas. The ‘Simple Green Shipping’ programme was one of the five ideas picked this year.

A further point of interest in this project will be the space left on the boxes for users to inscribe messages and to track their box as it progresses around the country. This will foster a virtual community based on buyer-seller relationships and even give each box a very individual history.

The trial scheme will begin in the US in October and the company will expand this to Europe based on its initial success.

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One response to “Ebay to introduce reusable packaging”

  1. Mary Ann says:

    What a great idea!! I have actually been doing this for years myself!!! Just place a new address label over the old one and voila!

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