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Reusable box from eBay creates paper trail

Durable box from eBay designed to be used up to five times provides space for personal notes, detailing the box’s journey.


Earlier this month, eBay began a test run of a new packaging concept when it printed and distributed 100,000 reusable “eBay Boxes” in three sizes to participants of its eBay: On Location event in San Jose. The box was an inspiration by one of eBay’s employees, created for the company’s annual Innovation Expo, and was designed to be used “over and over and over again,” claims eBay’s Web site.

Says the site, “On the eBay Green Team, it’s our mission to ‘inspire the world to buy, sell and think green every day,’ but just as often, it’s our customers and employees who inspire us.”

The Innovation Expo held each spring invites eBay employees, from every department and level of the organization, to develop prototypes for new products and breakthrough innovations that benefit the company’s buyers and sellers. This year, more than 250 employees on nearly 80 teams competed for the top prize.

Reports eBay, a record 1,300 eBay employees—plus executives and board members, including eBay CEO John Donahoe and founder Pierre Omidyar—came out this year to listen to product pitches, test out prototypes, and vote on their favorite entries. In the end, five winning ideas were selected, and teams throughout the company have been working to bring the concepts to life.

This year’s grand-prize winner, the eBay Box, was an idea called “simple green shipping.” According to eBay, if every box gets reused at least five times, it will result in the protection of 4,000 trees, save 2.4 million gallons of water, and conserve enough energy to power 49 homes for a year. The boxes provide space for each user to write a personal note to the next person in the chain, “giving every box a life of its very own.” The history of each box can also be tracked through a virtual community where buyers and sellers can connect online.

All of the eBay Boxes are made from 100% recycled content, FSC-certified corrugated cardboard and are fully recyclable.

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