Sometimes the most efficient path is the one overlooked; until someone clever "steals their eyes back" and overcomes the habit. Case in point is "Boxsmart", a Phoenix AZ USA company that has “taken recycling to another level", making a business out of keeping cardboard boxes in circulation. They really don't recycle cardboard cartons, which would involve 1.) Collecting, 2.) Flattening, 3.) Sorting, 4.) De-labeling and de-stapling, and then 5.) Sending off for re-pulping with lots of water & energy inputs, and 6.) Making "new" corrugated boxes with more energy and additives, and 7.) Redistributing the boxes. By not following the open loop recycle paradigm described by the above seven recycling steps (a 1960's idea decidedly un-TreeHugger on the life cycle balance sheet), Boxsmart has a product after only three! Excerpts from Arizona Central Earth Day
story on Boxsmart "after the fold"."The company buys close-out, overrun, obsolete and used corrugated shipping and distribution boxes in large quantities...Boxsmart pays a little more than the recyclers. It then resells the boxes to such major retailers as Wal-Mart, TJ Maxx, Big Lots and Office Max for less than they would pay for new boxes".
[Hmm…funny how Wal-Mart keeps popping up in relation to green topics these days.]
“Those companies in turn use the boxes to ship their products internally, from their distribution centers to their stores, so they don't care whether another company's name is on the boxes".
TreeHugger would like to stuff more ideas into the box. We'd love to see Boxsmart expand like "The Blob" and add a digital consumer interface. Why? USPO FedEx and UPS all charge customers for new corrugated boxes, should you not have the right container on hand to ship your item with their services. And shipper-sold carton size selections are limited and expensive.
Would it not be cool to be able to log onto a third party site, input the dimensions of your object to be shipped, and have the web enabled software tell you what the in-stock best fit choices, prices of closest inventory, and best way to obtain? Try shipping a bicycle or window valence sometime if you want a better idea of how valuable this could be.
If Boxsmart does not explode into multiple markets, someone else will fill the niche, eroding sales volumes of the makers of new containers. Pulp and paper companies can either eat the loss or become part of the action. So far they seem more interested in selling off their century-old forest holdings for a one-time cash bonus. So, go Boxsmart go!
Sometimes the most efficient path is the one overlooked; until someone clever "steals their eyes back" and overcomes the habit. Case in point is "Boxsmart", a Phoenix AZ USA company that has “taken recycling to another level", making a business out of