No, eBay doesn't exactly ship anything. For that matter, they don't even make anything that requires shipping. But with a community of millions of active eBay buyers and sellers, there's no reason they can't launch a product that could make a significant dent in the company's environmental footprint.
On Wednesday, the world's largest online auction unveiled its prototype reusable shipping container, The eBay Box, which the company is printing 100,000 of in three different sizes. The boxes will be available at first to select eBay sellers
The idea for the eBay Box emerged from eBay's 'Innovation Expo' that invites eBay employees to develop prototypes for new products and breakthrough innovations that benefit the company's buyers and sellers. Basically, The Green Box is a durable box designed to be used over and over and over again.
According to eBay's calculations, if every box gets reused at least five times, the boxes could "protect nearly 4,000 trees, save 2.4 million gallons of water and conserve enough energy to power 49 homes for a year."
And just like the old-school system of cards in library books or those inter-office envelopes, the Green Box leaves a space for users to sign and leave some information about what the box was used for or where it has traveled.
When the boxes reach the end of their usable life, because they are made from 100% recycled content, the FSC-certified corrugated cardboard and are fully recyclable.
As a fairly eBay user, I look forward to seeing one of these in my mailbox some day. Even more than that, I look forward to turning around and shipping something off in one -- whether I really needed to sell it or not.