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The New York Times reports that New York= City-based online retailer FreshDirect – which makes two million deliveries a year – is working to cut back on the number of cardboard boxes used in its business.

The retailer uses five million boxes a year when it packs up orders and drops them off at buildings around the city, which is 1.5 million fewer than it used a year ago.

Jason Ackerman, co-founder and CFO for FreshDirect, tells the Times that “we were delivering about 3.5 boxes per order.” Now, by improving the way it utilizes the cube within each box, Ackerman says that FreshDirect is “down to 2.7 boxes per order.” That’s something of a challenge since non refrigerated, chilled and frozen items have to be packed separately, and required re-engineering the assembly lines for greater efficiency…something that both customers and drivers have noticed and appreciated.

Next year, the Times writes, “the company will stop using cardboard boxes altogether … It will pack the orders in paper bags and pack the bags in reusable plastic boxes that will keep the bags from getting crushed on the trucks. At a customer’s apartment … the driver will take the bag out of the plastic box and take the box back to FreshDirect to be cleaned and reused.”
KC's View:
It all seems both financially and environmentally smart, as well as good public relations. Sounds like a trifecta to me.