EBay is perhaps the ultimate online destination for used goods, so it only makes sense that the site is taking its hand-me-down sensibilities a step further with the eBay Box: a shipping container designed to be sent from sellers to buyers and back until the container becomes a soggy heap of post-recycled mud. The box, which is made out of 100% FSC-certified material, features water-based inks and requires minimal tape to close.
The box idea was the grand prize winner at eBay's annual Innovation Expo, a celebration of creative ideas from eBay employees. Designed for "simple green shipping," eBay believes that a single box reused five times could save nearly 4,000 trees, 2.4 million gallons of water, and conserve enough energy to juice up 49 homes for a year.
EBay will send out a pilot run of 100,000 boxes in October to all sellers who request them. Recipients can log on to a special website to report on the status of their boxes (and track them as they move from place to place), and after a few months, eBay will evaluate the program and figure out how to proceed.
We love the idea, but have one little concern: bedbugs. The little critters are becoming an increasingly large problem in the U.S., and sending nook and cranny-filled boxes from house to house seems like an easy way to spread bedbugs far and fast. Let's hope we're wrong--this is an idea that deserves expedited delivery.Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.