The Hows and Whys of Recycling Moving Boxes

Anyone who has ever packed their belongings for a move can attest to the importance of the cardboard box. For reliable and inexpensive storage and transport of goods, there is no substitute. It takes more than 30 moving boxes to complete the average household move, so the cost-saving advantage of using cardboard over other options such as plastic containers is clear. They’re light-weight, durable, inexpensive and readily available from many sources.

After all those boxes are unpacked, having served our purpose, we don’t often consider their future usefulness. Most cardboard boxes suitable for moving are sturdy enough for multiple uses. As Stan Lexow, Manager at American Self-storage explains:

“When you’re all settled in, you’re going to have a lot of plastic, cardboard, and other packing materials to dispose of. Anything made of Styrofoam or plastic should not be placed in your recycling bin. Check your local packing and shipping stores – sometimes, they will take these materials and recycle them for you. Similarly, many grocery or large retail stores will recycle plastic bags that you used for your move.”

Why to Recycle Your Moving Boxes

Considering that it takes about 17 trees to produce a ton of cardboard, it makes sense to get as many uses as possible out of each box. Recycling cardboard is one way to extend the life of your used moving boxes. A few options for recycling are:

  • local curb-side pick-up of recyclables,
  • taking cardboard to a recycling center, or
  • making them available to others for re-use.

Even boxes that are made from recycled paper products require a considerable amount of energy and resources to manufacture. Much of that recycling is done overseas in countries with cheaper labor, so there are shipping costs as well. For this reason, that third option of re-using cardboard boxes makes the most economic and environmental sense.

Four Ways to Recycle Your Moving Boxes

There are many ways to do this, and numerous places where you can take your moving boxes if you have no further use for them. Once you’re finished with your moving boxes, flatten them for ease of stacking and transport, then choose from one of the following options for finding them a new home:

  • Donate

    – local libraries, food donation services and other groups or charities can use your boxes for storage and shipping, at a significant cost-savings.

  • Box Brokers

    – check for companies online that buy and sell moving boxes in your area. They will pick them up, and you can earn money using these services.

  • Post online

    – use Craigslist and message boards at moving sites like U-Haul’s Box Exchange to advertise you’ve got moving boxes for exchange or donation.

  • Pack them away

    – after you’ve flattened them, you can always store them in a dry place for future use. Chances are, you’ll find something else to pack away soon enough. In the meantime, it’s best to store them on edge to allow airflow and prevent moisture buildup. They will be there when you need them, occupying less space than a comparable plastic bin and for a lot less money.

Trees take a long time to grow. Do your part to avoid depleting this important natural resource. Recycle or re-use those moving boxes so we get the most out of the wood fiber that made them.

Kathleen Krueger

Kathleen is a full-time freelance writer and owner of Crafter of Words LLC. She specializes in providing high-quality blogs, website copy and email campaigns for businesses. She frequently writes on topics of interest to home owners such as remodeling, storage and moving.

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