A technology-based example of the butterfly effect: The rise of digital photography has completely reduced my need for shoeboxes. I used to save shoeboxes to store photographs in, and I especially prized those orange Nike ones from the '90s. The attached lid was easy to open and the boxes were sturdy enough to stack.
Having converted a bunch of prints to digital, I was recently flattening a bunch of those orange shoeboxes up for recycling and was surprised by how much cardboard went into them. They're sturdy not just because of clever folding but double sidewalls, and completely unfurled the boxes come from a much larger sheet than you think.
fuseproject has a good shoebox solution, which was 21 months in the making and is now ready for prime time:
...We have been thinking about shoeboxes: how to fold them, how to ship them and how to reduce them. In the end, we decided to get rid of them altogether because along the way we discovered a new design solution...a "clever little bag".
Why so clever? By providing structure to a cardboard sheet, the bag uses 65% less cardboard than the standard shoe box, has no laminated printing, no tissue paper, takes up less space and weighs less in shipping, and replaces the plastic retail bag. Now happy Puma customers will take home the clever little one instead. Oh, and that little bag is non-woven which means less work and waste (it is stitched with heat), and after accompanying you in your suitcase wherever you may go, our little friend is even recyclable.
With our "clever little bag", Puma kicks-off the next pivotal phase of its' sustainability program. The tens of millions of shoes shipped in our bag will reduce water, energy and diesel consumption on the manufacturing level alone by more than 60% per year. In other words: approximately 8,500 tons less paper consumed, 20 million Megajoules of electricity saved, 1 million liters less fuel oil used and 1 million liters of water conserved. During transport 500,000 liters of diesel is saved and lastly, by replacing traditional shopping bags the difference in weight will save almost 275 tons of plastic.