Reebok Likes Rebox – Reused Cardboard Boxes

Rebox logoReebok and many other companies including Wal-Mart, Foot Locker, and TJ Maxx are all clients of Rebox, a corrugated box company. The thing that sets Rebox apart is that this St. Laurent, Quebec company is focusing on reusing rather than always making new cardboard boxes. Takes the typical curbside cardboard recycling thing up a notch. Instead of being crunched up and remade into something new, or worse ending up in a landfill, Rebox buys used flattened boxes by the load, mostly from big manufacturing companies like Nestle, Pepsi, and Kraft.

After they’re inspected for any damage and sorted by size, they go on to live another life. The companies that get these reused boxes from Rebox save about 30-40% over the cost of new. But the biggest savings is to the environment.

Rebox redistributes tens of millions of corrugated boxes all over Canada and the U.S. On average a million a week go out (priced from 20 cents to $1.50 each), but apparently they could sell more if they had the supply. Hopefully more companies will soon collect and sell their gently used boxes to Rebox for redistribution. For every ton of reused corrugate, about 17 trees are saved, not to mention all the manufacturing energy and other resources.

Rebox cardboardBrian Young, co-owner (Mark Young is the third co-owner) vice-president in charge of the Montreal operations, makes a great point about rising demand for used boxes that are “a green product at a cheaper price in a difficult economy. Usually, green products come at a higher price.” What a great incentive to get more companies on board with being more environmentally friendly.

Young explained, “It’s been a mindset for people that they associate used boxes with dirty boxes, and that’s unfortunate, because it’s easy to show that’s not true, and make the argument for reuse.” And Jeffrey Zemel, co-owner and vice-president in charge of sales and marketing, has said the boxes are “pristine. When they’re made up and packed, you’d never know they were used before.”

I also find it encouraging that while Rebox will put desired company logos on boxes if requested, most customers opt not to bother, saving further resources. Good that more companies realize it doesn’t matter if their logos are plastered all over internal containers used for transfers between stores or when importing stuff.

Rebox warehouseIt has always seemed like such a waste when you see boxes upon boxes filled with other boxes that just get used the one time. Recycling helps, but reuse sure sounds better. Let them be recycled after a good long life.

I won’t comment on the irony that this one company alone now has annual revenue of $25 million selling a product that is meant for holding more stuff to sell. Well, OK, I guess I did just comment. Ironic or not, stuff has its place. I’m just glad Rebox is making that place a little bit friendlier.

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