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A startup reduces packaging and keeps clothes out of landfill

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Spotted: We have all received a package from an online seller that consisted of an enormous box, filled with packaging, on the inside of which was a tiny item taking up no more than a fifth of the box. But what if all of the items you bought online in a given week, came in just one, full box? This was the idea that occurred to Nate Faust one evening after breaking down a week’s worth of boxes and dragging them outside. In response, Faust, who previously co-founded Jet.com, before selling the company to Walmart in 2016, started Olive. 

Olive initially began as a logistics middleman, consolidating goods ordered from different companies and delivering them all at one time and in one reusable package. However, today the company is also expanding into more sustainable resale as well. The new model starts with customers placing an order with a brand that offers ‘Olive waste-free delivery’ at checkout. Olive packs, ships, and delivers the order in Olive’s reusable packaging, as before. Olive will then also offer to pick up and returns to the retailer, again, using reusable packaging.

However, now, if customers have any gently used items they want to sell, they can also put these into Olive’s packaging, and the items will be picked up and sold on eBay by Linda’s Stuff, one of the platform’s largest resellers, which was recently acquired by Olive. The customer and Olive split any sales proceeds. Although customers earn less than selling themselves, they also have zero hassle or admin.

The company is working with a number of brands, including Rhone and Rent the Runway, and is also looking to expand into categories other than fashion, such as electronics and home goods.

Delivery companies have been working for some time to reduce their waste and carbon emissions, with mixed results. Some innovations covered at Springwise that hold a lot of promise include the use of compostable packaging and the use of cargo bikes and EVs to reduce emissions from last-mile deliveries

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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