Every year, eBay hosts an Innovation Expo that invites eBay employees, from every department and level of 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. eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and CEO, John Donahoe kicked off the event.
This year’s grand prize winner was an idea called “simple green shipping.” (I was lucky enough to video the team behind the concept so I’ll try and dig up the footage for you guys as soon as eBay: On Location comes to a close). In a nutshell, it’s a durable box that’s been designed to be used over and over and over again.
Now, six months later, We’ve printed up 100,000 boxes in three sizes and giving eBay: On Location participants and eBay Green Team members a limited chance to sign up to participate in the pilot.
According to the eBay Green Team, if every box gets reused at least five times, we could protect nearly 4,000 trees, save 2.4 million gallons of water and conserve enough energy to power 49 homes for a year.
What is the eBay Box pilot program?
At eBay, we want to help our buyers and sellers save money and make it as convenient as possible for them to ship items they sell on eBay. We also strive to make it easy for users to reduce their impact on the planet. The eBay Box program encourages eBay buyers and sellers to keep their shipping boxes traveling. The eBay Box is a durable, reusable box made from environmentally-friendly materials. Starting in October 2010, participants in the eBay Box pilot can track their box’s journey at thebox.ebay.com, simply by entering the unique code printed on the box. As a token of our appreciation, we’re also giving every unique eBay user who receives and registers a box up to $1 in eBay Bucks.
Why is eBay doing this?
The eBay Box was the winner of this year’s eBay Innovation Expo, a celebration of new products and breakthrough innovations coming from employees at every level of the organization. Initially called “simple green shipping,” we believe it has the potential to both improve the eBay customer experience and help reduce the environmental impact of the eBay marketplace.
Does this program cost anything?
During the pilot, the eBay Box program does not cost anything. In fact, eBay buyers who receive an eBay Box are eligible for an eBay Bucks reward.
You say this is a “pilot.” What does that mean?
At eBay, so much of what succeeds or fails does so because of its impact on our community. We think the eBay Box is a great idea, but we have to make sure our buyers and sellers agree. So, to start off, we are printing just 100,000 boxes and releasing them out into the world. We’ll track their progress, and talk to the people who touch them, through our website and social media channels. Once the boxes have had a few months to travel, we’ll check back in and see where we can take it from there.
I’m a seller, and I want to participate in the program. How do I get involved?
There are a few ways to get involved in the eBay Box pilot. If you are participating in the eBay: On Location event in San Jose on September 1 and 2, you can stop by the eBay Green Team booth, fill out a short form, and register to participate. For a limited time, sellers who are eBay Green Team members can also sign up on the eBay Green Team website. Participation will be determined on a first come, first serve basis. Once all 100,000 boxes have been distributed in October, eBay buyers who receive their purchase in an eBay Box can participate in the program by going to thebox.ebay.com and entering the box number and basic item information. We encourage everyone who gets an eBay Box to help us keep it traveling.
If you aren’t able to participate in the pilot but are interested in greener packaging options, check out our green selling hub, where you can access lots of great tips and resources on green packaging and shipping. You can also order free Priority Mail, Cradle-to-Cradle-certified boxes from eBay and the USPS through the eBay Shipping Hub.
What’s so environmentally-friendly about this box?
All of the eBay Boxes are made from FSC-certified, 100% recycled material and have been printed with water-based inks. They’re designed for durability and minimal taping, so they can withstand multiple uses. They’re also 100% recyclable.
For more information, check out the eBay Green Blog.