Puma's 'Clever Little Bag' Slashes Sneaker Packaging

Herzogenaurach, Germany — Puma's new shoe packaging changes the idea of the shoebox by wrapping footwear in a simple cardboard structure held in place by a reusable bag.

The new packaging, which will hit stores in late 2011, was designed in collaboration with Fuseproject, a firm led by Yves Béhar, whose previous work includes One Laptop Per Child and PACT Underwear.

Puma's packaging, which it's calling its "Clever Little Bag," will contain 65 percent less cardboard by using a bag made of recycled plastic as the outer layer that holds the inner cardboard structure (which has no top) together. The bag's handles slip through a hole at one end of the inner box, securing the bag to the cardboard and providing a plastic-bag-free way to carry the shoes.

Puma has also eliminated all plastic bags and tissue that typically come in shoeboxes.

Due to using fewer materials - 8,500 fewer tons of paper, to be specific - and the new packaging's lighter weight, Puma expects to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 tons per year and water, energy and diesel use by 60 percent. That works out to 1 million liters of water, 20 million megajoules of electricity, 1 million liters of fuel oil and 500,000 liters of diesel.

Puma is also changing the bags it uses for it apparel. The company is first reducing the amount of bagging material it needs by folding T-shirts an extra time before packaging them up, and it is also replacing plastic bags with biodegradable ones. Puma stores will also swap out their plastic and paper bags for biodegradable versions. Altogether, the apparel and shopping bag changes will cut plastic use by 912 tons and paper by 293 tons.