How Best Buy tries to deal with a glut of cardboard boxes

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A special machine used at several facilities makes custom, ready-to-ship boxes for smaller items that saves room on delivery trucks and planes, and is better for the environment. 

E-commerce may be revolutionizing the way we shop, but it’s also creating mountain loads of cardboard boxes.

Some retailers, including Richfield-based Best Buy Co. Inc., are investing in technology to reduce the extra packaging that sometimes overwhelms consumers and is beginning to strain the waste stream in many U.S. cities.

At Best Buy’s e-commerce and appliance warehouse in Compton, Calif., a machine near the loading docks builds custom-sized, ready-to ship boxes at a clip of up to 15 boxes per minute. The boxes can be made for video games, headphones, printers, iPad cases — anything less than 31 inches wide.

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