Innovation That Matters

Boxes made of cardboard laden with seeds

Agriculture & Energy

Hard on the heels of our recent story about Greenaid’s guerrilla gardening project comes word of yet another seed-planting effort: the Life Box, a replacement for the traditional cardboard box that is impregnated with seeds. The Life Box can be made to virtually any dimension and used by consumers and companies alike to package or ship goods. What sets the Life Box apart, however, is that within its corrugations are hundreds of tree seeds and thousands of spores of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi. How it works: Once a consumer removes whatever was shipped inside their box, they can tear it up, plant the pieces and water them. In about two months, tree seedlings will emerge, nurtured by the mycorrhizal fungi. In about two years, the young trees can be planted in the ground where they’ll ultimately reside. Birches, alders, pines, hemlocks and cedars are among the tree species represented, a quarter of which will survive in 90 percent of the continental United States. The Life Box company, which is based in Olympia, Wash., estimates that one tree from the hundreds of seeds in each box will survive for 30 years, allowing one ton of carbon to be sequestered. Those who planted them, meanwhile, can visit the Life Box site and enter their GPS coordinates, making it possible to see the emerging trees and track carbon credits or offsets for generations to come. The Life Box is manufactured in the United States using recycled cardboard and soy-based inks. Stock sizes are 12 by 9 by 9, 12 by 12 by 3.75 and 10.5 by 7.5 by 2.25 inches, but custom orders are also available; pricing ranges from USD 3.45 to USD 6.99 for orders of between 10 and 99 of those standard sizes. No increased shipping charges are associated with using the Life Box, and the tree mix has been approved by the Departments of Agriculture for planting in every state in the continental United States and Canada. Ultimately, the Life Box company aims to expand the concept into a suite of products carrying seeds of garden vegetables, meadow flowers and native grasses as well, with customization capabilities by zip code; it’s also evaluating the international possibilities. One to partner with in your neck of the verdant woods—or to use for your own packaging, shipping or delivery purposes? (Related: Greeting card folds out into mini living gardenEco-friendly gift cards & hotel key cards.) Spotted by: Eunice Miller



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