Idea: 13
Tuesday, 13 January 2015
By. Beau Bergeron

Pop Box

— Replace cardboard packaging

How could Amazon switch from wasteful single-use cardboard boxes to zero-waste, returnable, reusable, recyclable packages? The solution is “Pop Box”: a durable, inflatable packaging system to replace traditional boxes. Simply deflate your package and put it back in your mailbox or on your doorstep, return postage is already attached. Amazon will re-stock the standardized inflatable boxes upon return. Once scanned back into the system, you receive 25 cents credit. Once they retire, inflatable boxes are recyclable.

Additional thoughts:
- Made from thicker vinyl to withstand wear and tear, but yes, they could pop, hence the name.
- The “opening” process has to be really easy and clearly communicate “don’t stab into me!”
- While it’s a huge logo violation, the anthropomorphic eyeball might deter customers from stabbing into their package.
- Costs more than cardboard. But reuse justifies investment. As precedent, plastic water bottles and bags are banned and taxed.
- A quick search reveals an invention for an inflatable box by Jack V. Smith. But his is meant to be contained in a traditional box.
- What’s the environmental and cultural impact of this idea? Would Bezos be down for this? Other shippers?

This conversation needs packaging scientists, warehouse logistical experts, and shipping experts.