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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Green threat: shoeboxes

My second "first day" at Fallon was this past Monday and in preparing for a triumphant return, I felt like I needed some new clothes. In a moment of poor decision making, I drove to the MOA in order to make sure that I would have every option available.

During my shopping extravaganza, I purchased two pairs of shoes from Bostonian, and didn't think much about it until I got home and was unpacking. I took out the shoes, shoved all of the tissue papery stuff back into the two boxes, and brought them downstairs to our recycling center. As I was carrying them, I realized how wasteful shoeboxes are.

Everyday, thousands of pairs of shoes are purchased. As a runner, I have gone through literally dozens of pairs of running shoes over the last 9 years of my running career. Granted, some people save their shoeboxes for other uses (at least I have) but in my closet right now, I can think of only 3 shoeboxes.

Quick calculation:
5 pairs of training shoes/yr
2 pairs of racing shoes
2 pairs casual shoes
2 pairs dress shoes
At least 11 pairs of shoes per year x 4 years = 44 shoes boxes during college

41 of these boxes got thrown away/recycled.

I realize that as a runner myself, these numbers are skewed, but think about all of the collegiate/professional teams out there who go through multiple pairs of their own training shoes per year and how many boxes that adds up to. I know that on my team, after a new equipment issue there would be boxes upon boxes stacked next to trashcans (no recycling bins... too inconvenient)

It seems like shoe companies could stand to innovate their packaging from the perspective that boxes are a one time use item. Maybe a re-usable plastic box that consumers can choose to leave with the salesperson at the store to be sent back to company. I don't know enough about the material to know would could be done in terms of compostable material or something, but I see opportunity.

1 comment:

Quan Solo said...

Seems that this Boulder-company has similar thoughts in mind: