Moving Boxes: Recycle This

Ahhhh…the joys of moving! All those boxes, the newspaper, the packaging peanuts! It’s enough to make an Eco Warrior go mad! We’ve previously posted tips on how to recycle and reuse packaging peanuts. But let’s face it, from an environmental perspective, packaging peanuts are, well, peanuts in terms of the bigger picture.

Moving boxes…now that’s where the money is! Most people don’t use peanuts except for a few precious boxes of china, perhaps. But boxes, oh yes, there’s a lot of badness going on there….Not to mention a lot of cost. At a company like U-Haul, a starter set of boxes and tape for a three to four bedroom home is going to set you back about $380. Egads!

Consider these facts:

* Recycling one ton of cardboard saves over 9 cubic yards of landfill space.

* The largest single source of waste paper collected for recycling is corrugated boxes.

* Americans throw away enough wood and paper every year to heat five million homes for 200 years.

Today, we offer up 6 great suggestions on how to minimize the carbon footprint (and the cost!) of your move.

1. Take a box, leave a box: Moving companies such as U-Haul now offer drop locations at stores, allowing customers to drop-off their reusable moving boxes for other customers to use, or pick up a previously donated box for their own move. This is a way for customers to help one another while promoting reuse of the product, which is always preferable to recycling. With every reuse of a box, a new one is prevented from entering the cycle.

2. Go local with Freecycle and Craigslist: If you are unable to score free boxes at your moving company, try Freecycle or Craigslist. We often see our local peeps posting offers to give away their gently-used moving boxes. If you’re not a member of Freecycle, read this post and get ready to recycle all of your unwanted treasures! Need a box? Post a wanted ad. Want to recycle your boxes? Post an offer ad. It’s that easy.

3. The U-Haul Box Exchange: If you can’t score boxes for free, your next best bet is to go to U-Haul’s messageboard, The U-Haul Box Exchange, where you can trade, sell or buy reusable boxes and moving supplies from other like-minded movers.

4. Return for money: So you were unable to score boxes for free, and unable to buy them used. OK. So maybe you’re going to have to purchase them after all. If that’s the case, be sure you purchase from a company that offers a buyback guarantee. At U-Haul, customers who provide an original receipt can recoup some money, while preventing waste.

5. Kids’ castles: And now the fun comes…let’s face it, some of the boxes just don’t make it through the move. For those boxes that are mildly damaged and just can’t make it through another packing cycle, might we suggest having a bit of fun? For anyone who’s ever seen a toddler have at the box their gift came in (while ignoring the $30 purchase!), you know how imaginative children can be with boxes. Get the kids outside, hand the boxes over, and see what they come up with! Or go easy and check out these instructions on how to create the castle of boxes of your dreams!

6. Recycle: You’ve reused other’s boxes (for free!), you’ve passed them along as well. You gave the damaged ones to kids to use to their delight. Finally…these boxes are just plain worn-out! The last refuge of the broken-down, beat up moving box: the recycling bin.