Evan Matzen, Manager, Sustainability

We are excited to announce that HD Supply and our Box Reuse Programcustomers have reused more than 7,000 boxes since the “Reuse Me” program began late 2011! Dedicated delivery drivers in Phoenix and San Antonio log the number of boxes returned on their handheld computers, and we now have enough data to quantify how often each property is participating in the program. One of our largest customers in those two markets and a leader in the multifamily industry has worked with us to return the most boxes thus far and is looking to increase the amount even more.

More great news: We have recently added the Austin, Texas, distribution center to our box reuse program! The management and team running the distribution center in Austin are very progressive, and they are off to a great start. One thing we noticed in this market is that we send out fewer boxes eligible for reuse per customer than we do in Phoenix and San Antonio, requiring us to re-evaluate our success metrics. Let me explain.

HD Supply also has another box reuse program where we take incoming boxes full of product from vendors, unpack the contents, and then reuse those boxes when we ship products to our customers. We have been doing this for years, and our customers are accustomed to receiving boxes with labels that do not necessarily match the contents of the box. Our best estimate is that we have reused hundreds of thousands of vendor boxes, though we don’t have a good way of tracking it. When we started the “Reuse Me” program, we decided that we didn’t want to get those vendor boxes back from the customer. We only want to get boxes back that we purchased, because those boxes are typically very durable, have no distinguishing marks, and are the sizes that we need most.

It turns out that Austin reuses a lot more vendor boxes than San Antonio or Phoenix, which means that they send out fewer boxes eligible for the “Reuse Me” program per delivery than the other two DCs. This isn’t a problem; in fact, it’s a good thing for the environment. It just means we need to adjust our participation metrics in Austin to account for this.

Over the past three weeks, 10% of eligible boxes were returned in San Antonio, 9% in Austin, and 6% in Phoenix, for an overall program return rate of 7%. Not bad, but we can do a lot better. We are reaching out to our customers, sales team, drivers, and communities to again encourage participation in the program. We look forward to continuing to see success with it. If you are in one of these markets and have any questions about this program, please feel free to contact me.


Do you or your property have a box reuse program similar to HD Supply’s? What results have you seen?


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