Think inside the box
Now that you’ve cleared out the wrapping paper, the torn envelopes, the ribbons and the directions to the remote-control car, you’ve still got the boxes. Lots of boxes. All those cardboard cartons, waiting to be broken down and stuffed into the recycling bin (or worse, the garbage). Blessed be the trash haulers this post-holiday week.
Ever think, what a waste? A waste of boxes and resources — especially when the toy dinosaur you ordered for your nephew arrived in a shipping box big enough for a real one.
Maybe it has occurred to you — before you toss all those boxes — that they are just what you need for your early 2017 decluttering project. If so, read on. Straight out of the “Why didn’t
I think of that?” department comes the Give Back Box project, a way for you to reuse those boxes, clean out your closets and help a worthy cause, all at once.
How? Go to the website GiveBackBox.com, enter your address and print out a label that will automatically include the nearest Goodwill store.
Fill your boxes with household items, clothing and other donations. You can use any boxes that are sturdy enough to survive shipping. Then send them to Goodwill — for free.
Yes, free. “No postage necessary if mailed in the United States” is printed on the label.
If you’re too busy (or lazy) to drop off the box at the nearest post office, the Postal Service will pick it up from your stoop. You can schedule a pickup just as you would for any other package. So the boxes won’t sit around for months in your spare bedroom, waiting for you to load them up and deliver them to Goodwill.
The website also includes easy directions to get a receipt for tax purposes. We swear. This isn’t fake news. How is this possible? In 2012, a woman from Chicago, Monika Wiela, was walking along the city’s busy Michigan Avenue and saw a homeless man holding a sign saying he needed shoes. By the time she returned carrying a pair of shoes, he was gone. She was determined to find a way to make charity giving easier.
Give Back Box has 20 retail and shipping partners, including Amazon, that underwrite the cost. It’s a perk for their customers, good for the environment and yes, smart PR. With the escalation of online shopping, the waste created from boxes is filling up landfills. Retailers want to encourage the reuse of their boxes.
Here’s the only caveat: Don’t ship items that Goodwill won’t take or that shouldn’t be mailed anyway — no electronics, liquids, hazardous materials or fragile items. Don’t ship your dog. Do ship shoes. Don’t ship your ammunition. Do ship gently used clothing.
Don’t ship your favorite frozen pizza. Do ship your plastic salad bowls.
See how easy is to think inside the box?
This editorial originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Dec. 30.