“Boomerang Boxes” to Reduce Campus Cardboard Waste

In the latest sustainability effort, UCR Materiels Management teams with OfficeMax to use reusable boxes for office supply delivery

boxes on hand cart

A trio of "Boomerang Boxes" await delivery at the UCR Storehouse. Photo by Ross French

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — As part of the campus’ ongoing effort to become more “green,” the University of California, Riverside Storehouse is teaming up with OfficeMax to decrease cardboard waste by delivering office supplies in reusable, heavy-duty cardboard boxes called “Boomerang Boxes.”

OfficeMax introduced the Boomerang Box program in the Seattle area in June, 2012, and then expanded it nationwide during the second half of the year. Participation is free and voluntary for OfficeMax business customers. According to OfficeMax representatives, UC Riverside is among the first organizations on the West Coast to fully implement the program, which began here on Dec. 10, 2012.

“By participating in the Boomerang Box program, we hope to see a reduction of more than 5,000 cardboard boxes annually,” Storehouse Manager Dolores Cordova said.

“Materiel Management continues to expand their sustainability efforts at UCR through the three Rs, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle,” added John Cook, director of sustainability at UCR. “The Boomerang Boxes reduce the quantity of new boxes in our supply chain through reuse of the boxes.”

cardboard boxes on the shelf

A Boomerang Box sits next to a standard cardboard box on the Storehouse shelf. Photo by Ross French

The Boomerang Boxes come in three different sizes and are made from a minimum of 50% recycled materials. They are sturdier than the average cardboard box, with the ability to hold up to 44 pounds of pressure. They can easily be stacked and stored by customers until they are picked up on subsequent deliveries. The boxes will be reused until they are no longer viable, at which point they will be recycled.

“For this program to reach its maximum potential, we’re going to need the help of everyone on campus,” Cordova said. “We ask people not to throw the boxes away, take them home or write on them. Just set them aside for pickup and we’ll come get them and reuse them.”

Boxes can also be used for returning items to the storehouse, including empty ink cartridges and paper for shredding. Cordova said that office managers can contact the storehouse at 827-5542 to have excess boxes picked up.

The program is just the latest in a series of moves designed to improve the university’s sustainability, and the response to the program has been very positive.

“We have received some very positive responses and compliments. People are glad to see the program implemented and glad to see that we are trying to reduce our impact on the environment,” Cordova said. “We are grateful to all our customers for their support of our green programs and sustainability efforts.  These programs are not successful without their partnership and the commitment of our incredible storehouse and receiving staff.”

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-5893
E-mail: ross.french@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

John Cook, director of sustainability
Tel: (951) 827-1270
E-mail: john.cook@ucr.edu

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