With the rise of e-commerce and delivery, the use of cardboard boxes have sky-rocketed. This means more trash for mother earth. A Berlin based startup called LivingPackets created THE BOX, a smart packaging that’s designed to decrease the impact on the environment and to offer a new and improved delivery experience for e-commerce companies and consumers. 

THE BOX is reusable, durable, digitally locked and monitored, with a smartphone’s worth of sensors and gadgets that make it trackable and versatile, and an E-Ink screen so its destination or contents can be updated at will. 

The goal is circular economy. THE BOX can run for up to 1,000 shipments on a single charge before it gets refurbished and sent out for another 1,000 shipments. The paperless label makes addressing shipments quick and easy and allows businesses to accommodate last-minute amendments to delivery locations. 

The reusable material and design of THE BOX includes several sensors for temperature, weight and humidity. THE BOX is available for both business and personal use. The design incorporates two sizes of packaging in one, and no additional materials such as bubble wrap or paper are required to keep products safe. The invention makes filling material such as bubble wrap obsolete. 

LivingPackets isn’t just aiming to revolutionize the packaging industry. They also created a system where anyone can contribute to the production of THE BOX and in return gets rewarded with 5x their original donation (a minimum of 8 years required). The company is encouraging both individuals and businesses to get involved, because the founders believe that the created wealth should be equally shared with everyone who helps to make THE BOX a success. 

“If you think about it, online transactions are still risky,” said co-founder Fabian Kliem. “The physical transaction and financial transaction don’t happen in parallel: You pay up front, and the seller sends something into the void. You may not receive it, or maybe you do and you say you didn’t, so the company has to claim it with insurers.” 

“The logistics system is over-capacity; there’s frustration with DHL and other carriers,” he said. “People in e-commerce and logistics know what they’re missing, what their problems are. Demand has grown, but there’s no innovation.” 

By 2021, the global e-commerce market is estimated to be at almost €4.5 trillion. With many products still packaged in single-use plastics, the volume of waste generated leaves much still to be addressed. The most innovative approach to this may lie in skipping the move to recyclable materials and going straight to technologically enabled systems like THE BOX. 

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