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On Apr 01, 2012 09:40PM ET in Green 101
Planning a move — from your home, your office, your dorm room? There’s one way to do it, involving towers of cardboard boxes and pop-wrap galore that then go into the dumpster and who knows where from there. And, there’s another, Practically Green way to approach your move.
Moving is a drag. It’s also not the eco-friendliest experience. To lower the eco-impact of your move and save some trees—not to mention tape—try renting reusable plastic moving boxes.
Plastic boxes aren’t perfect. They’re heavy—which adds up when you load them into a gas-guzzling truck. They’re made from a nonrenewable resource (though some are recycled plastic) and must be carefully recycled at the end of their useful life. Some companies say their lifespan is 200 uses, others claim 400. But on average they’re a better bet than cardboard boxes, even ones containing recycled content—whether you take them from your local supermarket and liquor store or you buy them new. Recycling cardboard does eventually produce waste. And there’s a considerable amount of shipping involved between recycling plants, cardboard manufacturers, and the stores that sell the boxes.
There are added benefits to reusable bins that cardboard can’t match. First, if it rains, you’re in luck. Plastic bins don’t get soggy. Second, rental periods are usually a few weeks, which means you have a set unpacking date. No more leaving boxes unopened for months post-move! And no more breaking down and recycling empties.
Find a local reusable moving box company. They’re easier to find in cities. Rental fees are similar to buying cardboard boxes, depending on where you live. The system works best if you’re moving close by. It’s trickier if your move is cross-country.
Opt for towels and clothes for packing fragile items, instead of bubble wrap and other disposables.
- The New York Times: Rent-A-Box Services Make Moving Easier For Some
- Treehugger.com: Moving? Box Rental Company Good Boxes Delivers And Eliminates The Cardboard Waste
- Treehugger.com: Quick Tips For Green Moving
- San Francisco Chronicle: Great Green Ideas–Reusable Moving Boxes
- PewSocialTrends.org: Who Moves Who Stays Put