Eco-Latch Takes the Tape out of Box Reuse

Eco-Latch Takes the Tape out of Box Reuse

Boxes - CC license by erix! (Flickr)

Most cardboard boxes are made to stand up to multiple uses, and one company has created a product to make it easier to reuse boxes, as well as quicker to get into them, while making less waste.

Eco-Latch Systems' Box Latch is a square with openings along the sides so that it can slide onto two facing box flaps and hold them closed, eliminating the need for tape. It is made of 100 percent recycled pre-consumer plastic and comes in various sizes.

We've seen a number of efforts to tackle the problem of boxes being dumped after one use: Ebay's handout of 100,000 boxes it hopes stay in circulation among the buyers and sellers on its site; a reusable box from Salazar Packaging that comes with a perforated edge to make it easy to flip inside out;, which only ships goods in used boxes it picks up from other businesses; and, which buys and sells used boxes.

The Box Latch, due to being easily slid on and off boxes, appears more geared toward moving and storing needs within companies, or by consumers. While Eco-Latch Systems also offers seals and tamper-evident tape, most companies probably wouldn't want to buy a bunch of Box Latches just to give them away when shipping.

So far, Eco-Latch has sold to both consumers and businesses, said Chelsea Davis, Eco-Latch's office manager, with many of the businesses using the product for transporting work-in-progress products between company sites or for use in setting up and storing items at trade shows.

Inner-company shipping is an area ripe for waste reduction, and other companies have tried various tactics. Ghirardelli Chocolate uses reusable plastic totes to move chocolates within the company before they're packaged up, and Peerless Coffee & Tea has been using reusable boxes to make local deliveries so that it can pick them back up from customers.

Eco-Latch is trying to further improve its Box Latch by replacing a bit of plastic in it with bio-based material. The soy-based resin, supplied by an Iowa State University laboratory, will make up 5.1 percent of the product.

Boxes - CC license by erix! (Flickr); Box Latch - courtesy Eco-Latch