The Give Back Box platform is open in UK
Give Back Box® was founded in 2012 by
Monika Wiela, who at the time was running an online shoe store. The idea
was inspired by a homeless man she encountered in Chicago, who was
holding up a sign saying he needed a pair of shoes. Wiela returned later
that day with shoes for him, but he was gone. She spent that night
thinking about what she could do with all the empty boxes in her
warehouse and also help people like that man, and a new social
enterprise was born.
As Wiela researched further, she learned that, an estimated 11 million
tons of clothing, footwear, towels, bedding, drapery, and other textiles
end up in U.S. landfills every year. In addition, online shopping is
now the preferred method for much of the buying public. Corrugated boxes
are the dominant packaging method for e-commerce. With this knowledge,
Wiela’s mission crystalized. If online retailers would use Give Back
Box, shipping boxes and other items could be used a second time prior to
being recycled. The impact would be remarkable.
Wiela’s first step to bring her dream to reality was to find a nonprofit
with a national footprint that could accept donations on a grand scale.
The organization would have to be able to not only accept used clothing
but other items that people wanted to donate. The nonprofit enterprise
also needed to have a program to recycle the boxes that it would
receive, further limiting landfill waste.
The first major retailer to join Give Back Box was Newegg.com.
The retailer placed Give Back Box fliers in all the boxes shipped to
its customers. The flier recommended that customers re-use the boxes
their purchases came in and fill them with clothes, accessories and
household items, then ship them to local charities using pre-paid
shipping labels. The local charities developed a system to track the
packages, so when they received the boxes and scanned them in, tax
receipts were generated for appropriate donors.
Give Back Box® has also teamed up with some of the biggest retailers in
the U.S., including Overstock, Amazon, Loft, REI, Levi’s, Asics, Ann
Taylor, Uncommongoods, Nordstrom, Viva Terra, Ecru, Bonobos, Scrubs
& Beyond, eBags, Lou & Grey and many others.
The Give Back Box platform is open for any retailer who joins as a
partner. It is open for donors as well, with the option to chose
charity. The charities stocks their shelves with the donations, and the
revenues help fund its mission of helping people in need reach their
full potential through learning and the power of work. The charities
also recycle every box that arrives at their facilities.
Give Back Box has truly created a new method of waste diversion for retailers because, in addition to creating a secondary use for the shipping box and guaranteeing that it will be recycled, it helps clear closets, create jobs and offer more companies and their customers an opportunity to recycle.