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Partnering with PUMA, San Francisco- and New York-based fuseproject created this game-changing packaging system that builds on Puma’s initiatives toward cleaner, greener and safer manufacturing practices.

With regard to sustainability and environmental harm, packaging (specifically, shoeboxes) is one of the most difficult and stagnant issues facing the retail industry. Boxes contribute to millions of tons of waste each year, and even with proposed second uses, they are eventually thrown out. For 21 months, fuseproject studied boxes and systems: how to fold them, how to ship them and how to reduce them. Finally, when they explored getting rid of them altogether they discovered a new solution: a “clever little bag.” By providing structure to a cardboard sheet, the bag uses 65 percent less cardboard than the standard shoebox, has no laminated printing, no tissue paper, takes up less space and weighs less in shipping and eliminates the need for a plastic retail bag.

Created with four walls that taper in to allow for secured stacking (an important element of the original shoebox), the cardboard structure is die cut from one flat piece of material and has no additional printing or assembly, so it can be returned to the stream faster and more efficiently. The heat-stitched bag is made of non-woven polyester consisting of polypropylene, protects the shoes from dust and dirt in the warehouse and during shipping, and is also recyclable.

The rollout of the new packaging and distribution system is planned for 2011. The tens of millions of shoes shipped in this bag will reduce water, energy and diesel consumption on the manufacturing level alone by more than six percent per year. Put simply: approximately 8,500 tons less paper will be consumed, 20 million megajoules of electricity will be saved, 1 million liters less fuel oil will be used and 1 million liters of water will be conserved. During transport 500,000 liters of diesel will be saved and lastly, by replacing traditional shopping bags, the difference in weight will save almost 275 tons of plastic.

[photo credit: images courtesy of fuseproject]

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