Digital Magazine for B2B CE Retail Products & Strategy News


Thinking Out of the Box

By Tom SamiljanMarch 31, 2021

Samsung’s ingenious eco-packaging gives TV shipping boxes a second life as small-scale furniture

The corrugated cardboard boxes that contain new TVs are a burden to dispose of whether purchased at a brick-and-mortar store or online. If you are eco-conscious, or simply live in a city or town where recycling is mandatory, then you will break it up and leave it in one of those big blue containers for a sustainable pickup. Either way, it’s a big waste of resources and a generator of emissions from transport and processing at the very least. You just need a reason to keep it.

In 2020, Samsung came up with a creative, convenient, and compelling reason. Used to contain each model in entire line of audio products, computer monitors, and UHD and QLED televisions, Samsung’s “eco-packaging” boxes are designed to be repurposed into small-scale furniture — everything from book shelves and end tables to pet beds and mini-media consoles. Boxes are marked up with dot-matrix grids that can be used for measurement and to follow design patterns, which are accessible via QR codes.

Sustainability aside, the program has been a hit with designers, with many of the newest items of furniture consisting of finalists from last fall’s “Out of the Box” competition, which Samsung organized in partnership with British design magazine Dezeen. Whether it’s a hit with consumers beyond eco-conscious and aesthetically minded millennials, Gen Z or hipster apartment dwellers remains to be seen. On the high-end front, not so much.

“It’s a great idea, but I just don’t know how much they’re going to get used,” says David Pidgeon, CEO of Dallas-based custom audio-video installer Starpower, which deals in high-end audio and video components as well as custom installations. “Our customers are going for more luxury in their homes.” Cardboard cat “houses” might be useful and sustainable, but they don’t necessarily fit in with high-end furniture.

Still, Samsung’s solution is perfect for the right customer. Surprisingly, no other consumer electronics company is repurposing packaging in quite this way; kudos to Samsung for thinking out of the box with this nifty, practical, and circular solution.  — TS