Location: Los Angeles, California
Over 85% of the products sold worldwide are packaged in cardboard. This statistic is only projected to rise in upcoming years due to the increase in online shopping. The manufacturing of cardboard, aside from causing high rates of deforestation, releases hazardous chemical gases into the atmosphere. Currently, there are around 12 million boxes being shipped daily by online retailers. That is approximately 31.4 million tons of cardboard, most of which is thrown away, contributing to pollution in landfills. What if these cardboard boxes could be given a new life, delivering donations to those in need?
In June 2012, Monika Wiela, creator of Give Back Box, was walking down Michigan Avenue in Chicago when she was taken aback by the amount of homeless people lining the tourist-filled street. This had such a profound effect on Monika that she decided to come up with an easier way for the general public to help the less fortunate. The purpose of Give Back Box is to create an effortless, free, and convenient way for anyone to donate clothing and used household items by providing consumers with a prepaid shipping label with the address of a pre-selected charity. Online retailers can partner with Give Back Box to send their products in a pre-labeled box, giving environmentally conscious companies the opportunity to work towards their sustainability initiatives. When someone receives their online order they are prompted by a card inside to refill the box with things around the house they don’t use. They can then drop the box off at a local UPS or post office, where the donation gets sent off to be sold at a local Goodwill. The revenues are used to fund community programs and support services such as education and transportation. Through making the donation process more convenient and hassle-free, Give Back Box seeks to reinvent the way people donate to charity. All one has to do is pack up their donations and Give Back Box does the rest. Not only does this donation process help improve the lives of many impoverished individuals, it gives every cardboard box a second life.
Give Back Box is currently partnered with a number of online retailers, most notably Overstock.com, NewEgg.com and Ann Taylor. New Egg, for example, ships over 200,000 orders per day, each one including a Give Back Box note and shipping label. The company seeks to expand their reach to larger names in the online market, including Amazon and Zappos. Instead of seeing shipping boxes wasted and thrown away, Give Back Box succeeds in extending their lives in a way that positively impacts society. As their slogan goes, “Give a box a second life, give someone a second chance.”
Environmental Impact: Reduced landfills, Sustainable solid waste management
Measurement: Give Back Box
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