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HUNTINGTON - Nationwide, online shopping has steadily increased each year as more people opt for staying home to find the perfect present instead of going out to shop.

However, that means more people have a pile of empty boxes they don't know what to do with.

Knowing this, retailers such as Amazon and Overstock have teamed up with Goodwill to put those empty boxes to good use.

Called the Give Back Box program, online shipping boxes can be reused to donate unwanted household items. The cardboard then gets recycled by Goodwill's recycling program, and the items are used to help support Goodwill's services.

You can use a prepaid label with the box or print out a free label from givebackbox.com. The site will find the closest participating Goodwill, which will most likely be Goodwill Industries of KYOWVA in this region.

Sally Nelson, director of retail sales and operations at Goodwill KYOWVA, said she recommends using the free label from the Give Back Box site because once it is scanned at the store, the donor will get a donation receipt.

"It's a great way to donate without really having to leave home, because you can even schedule a pickup from UPS," Nelson said.

Give Back Box was founded in 2012 by Monika Wiela, who at the time was running an online shoe store. Wiela wanted to find a way to utilize the unused boxes from her store while also helping the community.

As Wiela researched, she learned that an estimated 11 million tons of clothing, footwear, towels, bedding, drapery and other textiles end up in U.S. landfills every year. In addition, online shopping is now the preferred method for much of the buying public. According to the EPA, more than 4 million tons of corrugated boxes are discarded and landfilled each year.

So, the idea of Give Back Box was born.

Nelson said it's been an ongoing program with Goodwill since 2015, but the word is just now really starting to get out.

And though the holidays are a great time to clean out closets and cabinets, the Give Back Box program takes place all year long.

For more information or to print a free shipping label, visit givebackbox.com.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

How to donate:

1. Empty an online shipping box or any box you have around.

2. Fill the box with items you want to donate to Goodwill (gently used clothes, shoes, household items, etc.)

3. Print a free shipping label from givebackbox.com.

4. Schedule a pickup from UPS or put the box in the mail.

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