Gallery: Packaging the Future: REI “Unpackages” Five of Their Popular P...

 

“Before” example of a kids Novara bike: Smarter, lightweight packaging means most of the waste above is eliminated.

According to Eric Abraham, REI’s packaging engineering manager, the future is all about “unpackaging” products. The company’s ambitious goal is to reduce packing materials 35% by 2013, and some of those gains are going to be made simply by eliminating packaging altogether. “No packaging, simply product,” explains Abraham. And it all started with the customers, he says. When the company started offering in-store recycling of the big boxes that boots were shipped in, consumers leapt at the idea, and soon every store had piles of boot boxes to recycle. Very few people wanted to take the box home – they just wanted the boot. What followed over the next years was a radical rethinking of many of the current packaging designs – sometimes reducing waste, sometimes reducing weight, and almost always simplifying. Jump ahead to find more examples of what Abraham and his team at REI have done to make unpackaging a reality for the retailer.

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