In partnering with PUMA, a leader in sportswear, shoes and products, we looked to create a game changing packaging system that would greatly reduce their footprint and build on their initiatives toward cleaner, greener, and safer practices contributing to a better world around us. The challenge was to look at one of the most difficult and stagnant issues facing the retail industry in regards to sustainability and environmental harm: packaging, and more specifically shoeboxes. Boxes contribute to millions of tons of waste a year and even with proposed second uses, they are eventually thrown out. For 21 months, boxes and systems were studied: how to fold them, how to ship them and how to reduce them. But all of these were incremental steps; reduction can only do so much. Finally, we explored getting rid of them altogether. We discovered a new design solution, a “clever little bag”. Why is it so clever? By providing structure to a cardboard sheet, the bag uses 65% less cardboard than the standard shoe box, has no laminated printing, no tissue paper, takes up less space and weighs less in shipping, and replaces the plastic retail bag. The cardboard structure is die cut from one flat piece of material and has no additional printing or assembly, thus it can be returned to the stream faster and more efficiently. The structure was created with four walls that taper in to allow for secured stacking, another important element left over from the original shoebox. The bag is non-woven which means less work and waste (it is stitched with heat). It protects the shoes from dust and dirt in the warehouse and during shipping. The “clever little bag” is an iconic brand element upon leaving the store as it replaces the plastic shopping bag, and it is also used for shoe storage in travel suitcases. The bag is made of non-woven polyester consisting of polypropylene, and eventually is also recyclable. With our ‘clever little bag’, Puma kicks-off the next pivotal phase of it’s sustainability program. The tens of millions of shoes shipped in our bag will reduce water, energy and diesel consumption on the manufacturing level alone by more than 60% per year. In other words: approximately 8,500 tons less paper consumed, 20 million Mega joules of electricity saved, 1 million liters less fuel oil used and 1 million liters of water conserved. During transport 500,000 liters of diesel is saved and lastly, by replacing traditional shopping bags the difference in weight will save almost 275 tons of plastic. In changing the packaging and distribution life cycle from the ground up, we want our new design and comprehensive solution to encourage other retail companies to follow suit. That such a little bag can have such a big impact…you can see why we called it clever. The roll out of the new packaging and distribution system is planned for 2011.