Challenges

Circular Shipping Boxes

Twenty years ago, the first online transaction took place – and internet shopping was born. A 2017 survey on internet usage in EU found that almost 7 out of ten internet users in the 12 months prior to the survey made online purchases in the same period. Following this trend, one should not be surprised if you often find yourself in front of a chock-full container and cannot deposit your cardboard box. It doesn’t matter how good you fold it, it simply doesn’t fit. Clearly, the capacity of existing paper&carton containers doesn’t meet the demand. If you look closer at your cardboard box, you will notice that most of them are sturdy and arrive in pristine conditions. So, why recycle boxes that can be reused? Tons of perfectly good boxes are discarded and made back into cardboard boxes, producing exactly what we started with. I propose a simple system based on circular economy, where boxes are re-used for shipping. The collection is done by the same carriers delivering the goods purchased on-line. This will lower considerably the volume of cardboard boxes in the containers. Also, this solution doesn’t require shoppers to spend time folding boxes and bringing them to the containers for recycling or wait for the monthly collection from the Municipality. Once collected, the cardboard boxes can be re-used for shipping or shredded to make cushion material, therefore making the shipping plastic free.

Comments (7)

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How can this be improved?
Kate Rushton
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  • Hi Valeria! Could we standardise boxes for delivery from different companies e.g. Asos is the same as Amazon's boxes? Could we use a sturdier material to ensure the delivery boxes last longer?

    Valeria Teloni
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  • Absolutely, although the majority of the boxes I receive are pretty sturdy already. Size standardization and optimization is definitely a plus!

    How can this be improved?
    Claude Dewerse
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  • Nice idea!
    And if the tracking of the packaging could be done online so that all the delivery companies knew were all the packaging was, then a van delivering somewhere could also be picking up an empty box in the same street; improving efficiency.
    The boxes could be left outside with a clear demarkation to say that it is empty (so it doesn't get stolen) so that it could be picked up at any time.

    How can this be improved?
    Idoia Letona Castrillo
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  • A small incentive for the consumer who give the box back could help to boost the project. Maybe in terms of money or maybe as a discount for next purchases.

    Valeria Teloni
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  • Definitely, also to incentive people to keep the box until the next delivery if the package is not open immediately