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The eBay Box – too pretty to pass on?

The eBay box by eBay Inc.

eBay’s Green Team claims its mission is to ‘inspire the world to buy, sell and think green every day’ and their latest reusable box scheme has certainly caught my eye. But maybe for the wrong reasons…

I’m not interested in eBay’s new reusable box scheme for its environmental benefits, oh no. I just want to get my hands on one of the boxes because they are so damn cute. Adorned with birds and trees, a stack of these boxes would make an attractive (and practical) storage solution for my room.

However, this would go against the ethos of the scheme somewhat.

The boxes are designed to be reused and passed on between users, and even tempt buyers into becoming sellers. From October, eBay will be piloting the scheme and will send out 100,000 boxes to US sellers who have registered to be in their Green Team.

eBay has estimated that if each box is reused at least five times, they will have saved nearly 4,000 trees, 2.4 million gallons of water and enough energy to power 49 homes for a year. Certainly sounds impressive, but what’s so special about these boxes?

A box is a box

Beauty aside, I’m not sure these boxes are really offering anything new. eBay users (myself included) have been happily reusing cardboard boxes and jiffy bags for years. Buying them new can be expensive, so who wouldn’t want to save a few pounds by reusing old ones?

Plus, these eBay Boxes don’t appear to be much different to any others, apart from being ‘designed to require minimal tape’ and featuring spaces inside where you can write messages to track the box’s journey.

Yes, it’s great that eBay is encouraging people to reuse and recycle. Waste packaging is an issue that we should all be tackling – consumers and businesses alike (see Alice’s post – ‘Is excess packaging out of control?‘ for some shockingly unnecessary packaging examples). But you can reuse most cardboard boxes. And once you’ve got your hands on one of these beauties, surely you wouldn’t want to send it on?


If these boxes can encourage more people to reuse packaging then they are a great idea. Maybe boxes that have been round the world a few times will be bought and sold on eBay!