eBay Green Box Bags Exposure for Reusable Packaging

It is funny how things work. The reusables industry has been toiling for years and years to raise awareness about reusable packaging. Now, in a single announcement, eBay has generated a tsunami of publicity about reusable transport packaging with the introduction of its new reusable box. For example, a key word search comprised of “eBay reusable box” as of today has generated around 314,000 Google search results, versus only 294,000 for the much more mature term of “reusable packaging.”

The reusable box in question is the eBay reusable box, designed by the eBay Green Team. eBay has purchased 100,000 of them in three sizes for a pilot test.

By eBay calculations, if every box gets reused at least five times, it could protect nearly 4,000 trees, save 2.4 million gallons of water and conserve enough energy to power 49 homes for a year. Plenty of space on the box to write a personal message 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.

eBay buyers who receive the box are encouraged to use it to ship items they sell on eBay. Boxes can be easily recycled if they become damaged, or if the receiver of the box has no intention of reusing. All of the eBay Boxes are made from 100% recycled content, FSC-certified corrugated cardboard and are fully recyclable.

The concept came to life very quickly. Every spring, eBay hosts an Innovation Expo that invites eBay employees from across the organization to develop prototypes for new products and breakthrough innovations that benefit our buyers and sellers. This year, more than 250 employees on nearly 80 teams competed for the top prize.

This year’s grand prize winner was an idea called “simple green shipping,” in essence a durable box that’s been designed to be used over and over again. “That might sound like a pretty simple concept,” commented the Green Team announcement, “but we think the idea is actually pretty powerful – especially in a marketplace like eBay where many of our buyers are also sellers and sellers are also buyers.”

Simple ideas like the eBay green box, and dare we say, www.packagingrevolution.net, are often the most powerful. We are hoping that the surge of interest in the eBay box translates into much greater awareness about the broader opportunities provided by packaging reuse.


  1. Seems like a great idea. I am interested in hearing the outcome of the EBay’s Green Box pilot product. According to their eBay Box Stories Website, only 1,600 boxes are listed as being reused. Not a great reuse rate, but 1,600 is better than 0. I hope that box resuse number is an understatement.

    Why reusing packaging not more prevalent? What is holding back this idea from the mainstream?

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