Nike is making inroads on more sustainable packaging with testing of new solution known as “One Box.” Spearheaded by Rich Hastings, the brand’s custom shoebox designer, the team created a durable shipping box with a 51-percent reduction in waste for single online orders regardless of the shoe inside.
Waste not, want not — Initiated with the 2020 Space Hippie, a sneaker line made with at least 25 percent to 50 percent recycled material by weight, Nike released a low-impact container to house the shoes and help reduce waste further. The Space Hippie’s no-frills packaging ditched the usual box-inside-a-box model that accompanies online purchases.
Although the first run of boxes was met with complaints of not meeting durability standards, the team explored crush tests to ensure they could withstand the trip from warehouse to doorstep. Two adhesive strips secure the box — one for arrival and one in the event of a return — and thick cardboard construction protects the precious cargo from damage. Inside, interior graphics are limited are limited to white ink in favor of colored inks that could transfer onto sneakers.
Nike has also considered the prospect of theft with its new design. The box’s exterior doesn’t include any logos or indication that there’s sneakers inside.
A work in progress — Erica Swanson, Nike’s Senior Director of Sustainable Product Operations, admitted on in a release that the One Box packaging isn’t immune to all physical damage. She insists that “scuff or two” would serve as a reminder that “you helped remove a box or two from the recycling bin.”
According to forest conservationist Canopy, roughly 3 billion trees are tossed in the wood chipper every year to produce 241 million tons of shipping cartons, cardboard mailers, and other paper-based packaging. Adding to the waste, a typical American household throws away 13,000 pieces of cardboard per year.
The One Box is still in pilot mode and won’t replace all the Nike shoeboxes just yet. It is, however, shining light on where the brand could cut back, and all the extra fluff involved in packaging could soon be on the way out.