Bye bye, cardboard boxes. Riese & Müller’s surprising new way to deliver e-bikes

Luxury electric bike company Riese & Müller generally ships its e-bikes the same way every electric bike maker in the world does: in cardboard bike boxes. But now the company is switching to a new greener solution.

Riese & Müller has just unveiled its new reusable packaging. Constructed of polypropylene and sealed using Velcro, the e-bike boxes are designed to be more eco-friendly than typical cardboard boxes.

Cardboard is, of course, recyclable, but its one-time-use design makes it energy- and carbon-intensive.

A reusable box would help reduce the material and carbon footprint of shipping large, heavy e-bikes around the world. According to the company, the reusable boxes can be used around 30 times before ultimately being recycled. That would save around 80% of CO2 emissions compared to typical packaging.

In fact, Riese & Müller plans to use these reusable plastic boxes worldwide for both its bikes and small components.

The reusable boxes are the same size as typical cardboard bike boxes yet can fold into much smaller and more compact forms after the bikes have been delivered. Those knocked-down plastic boxes can then be shipped back to the company via the same delivery platforms to be reused for future e-bikes and components.

Trials of the new boxes will begin next month. By early 2024, the company plans to incorporate the boxes into 60% of its e-bike packaging and up to 70% of its packaging for shipping small components.

According to Riese & Müller, the new packaging will help the company and its dealers “reduce their waste generation in retail by 905 tonnes of cardboard per year, which will make another major contribution to greater sustainability in the e-bike sector.”

Electrek’s Take

This is great, and any progress toward increased sustainability is a step in the right direction. It’s only making e-bikes greener.

But at the same time, I can’t help but imagine how the energy and emissions savings of Riese & Müller’s new e-bike packaging are a fraction of a drop of water in the ocean of emissions out there. That’s nothing against Riese & Müller. Bravo, Freunde. But let’s get real, folks; closing the Autobahn for five minutes would have a greater impact on global CO2 than every R&M bike box ever made.

But, hey, Riese & Müller are doing what they can with what they have. I applaud it while still encouraging folks to focus on the bigger picture: reducing global emissions caused by transportation, energy production, and agriculture – the three biggest global sources of emissions. We can have a much bigger impact if we simply ride an e-bike, put some sun-blocking film on our windows, and eat a black bean burger.

It’s not too late, but it almost is.

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