It’s getting HOT out there and GO BOX Storage wants to help with your move. We have some MORE moving kits to give away to the first 12 new GO BOX Storage customers in July 2016.
It’s moving season and GO BOX Storage wants to help with your move. We have some more moving kits to give away to the first 12 new GO BOX Storage customers in June 2016.
This month the updated GO BOX Storage website went live. We are grateful for the professional work done by the nice people at FRESH Inc, a local website and media company. Our customers’ feedback is that the website is easier to navigate and looks awesome on a mobile device. Thank you for your feedback! We feel really good about the new website and we want to celebrate!
As you know, it’s moving season and GO BOX Storage wants to help with your move. We have some moving packages to give away for FREE to the first 14 new GO BOX Storage customers.
POST by Christine Rougeau
There are a number of companies that are renting plastic totes for moves. This system is being marketed as a green solution to using cardboard boxes. The idea is to reduce or eliminate the use of cardboard boxes and instead rent these plastic totes. After the person does their move, the empty totes are returned or picked up for another person to rent.
What makes this option possibly “green” is if the totes are made from a high percentage of post-consumer recycled plastic. Also, I suppose, if the plastic totes are rented there may be less guilt about owning a product that requires so much non-renewable resources to produce.
So, are plastic totes for moving greener than cardboard boxes? My answer is no. Cardboard boxes are made from renewable resources and can easily decompose back into the environment. Plastic totes are made from non-renewable resources and won’t be decomposing in your garden any time soon.
Renting plastic totes for a move is also marketed as being equivalent cost-wise to buying new cardboard boxes. When I checked prices to confirm that claim, I discovered that you would pay 12-24% MORE by renting plastic totes than by buying the equivalent amount of cardboard boxes.
If you include the charge to have your plastic totes delivered and picked up that premium jumps to 30-70% (depending on the size of move). The premium, by the way, is worst for the smallest moves which are the ones that this system seems best suited for. Remember that you need to pack AND unpack all your things within a week or you will pay more for a longer rental period.
Now perhaps you feel fine about paying a huge premium because you are convinced by the “green” claims of this moving system. I understand that inclination. I will pay a premium for food produced by sustainable agricultural methods because I am convinced that the quality is better than that produced by the industrial food system.
So are you REALLY sure that plastic totes are in fact an eco-friendly solution to cardboard boxes? If you are then the large premium isn’t a problem for you. If you haven’t thought about this, would you be willing to pay a lot more to use plastic over cardboard because that is what you will be paying.
The cost of using plastic totes for moving might end up being double the cost of using cardboard because you probably already have some cardboard boxes and maybe even some plastic totes as well. Obviously it’s most economical not to buy or rent what is already available to you. If at all possible reuse packing supplies you already have in your home. Here is how to avoid buying packing supplies in the first place.
Sometimes it is better to buy plastic totes especially if you move a lot, have to store in damp conditions or have a rodent problem. For more information about when it is better to use plastic totes over cardboard boxes please read Are plastic totes better?
If you want to save the environment, I think there are better ways to do so than by renting plastic totes. For example:
- Live close to or where you work to avoid long commutes.
- Grow at least some of your own food and buy most of your food from local producers that follow sustainable methods.
- Learn how to use your kitchen and prepare most of your meals yourself.
- Look through your garbage and assess how you could reduce your waste stream. Before you consider recycling, try to reduce your waste stream. Start composting to build soil in your back yard.
If you are interested in finding local food producers GO BOX Storage supports eatkamloops.org which has a list of over 150 local farms and ranches.
I have had a number of people ask me if plastic totes are more environmentally friendly than using cardboard boxes. The quick answer is no. Plastic totes are made from non-renewable, petroleum-based products. Plastic does not easily recycle back into the environment. Cardboard boxes on the other hand are made from a renewable resource–tree pulp. After the useful life of cardboard ends, it can be ripped up and composted in the garden.
Of course, if we really want to be environmentally friendly we would make baskets out of weaving materials from our local bioregion and store our stuff in that instead. What a different world that would be!
Some people have asked why GO BOX Storage doesn’t sell plastic totes. We cannot find a wholesale supplier that could get them cheaper than the price that any big box retailer will sell them for. Plastic totes do cost more than cardboard boxes. They probably should cost far more than cardboard boxes, but the true costs are externalized into the greater environment.
Plastic totes are great for someone who moves a lot. They can be used between moves for storage, organizing or even as a piece of furniture. Totes are great if you have to store your possessions in damp conditions. They are mostly rodent and spill proof. I like using totes for camping, canoeing or road trips. The totes help organize my stuff and keep everything clean and dry. My all time favorite tote is the original Rubbermaid Roughneck Storage Box. It has the straightest sides which means less storage space is lost to air.
I am not against the use of plastic totes for storage, but we shouldn’t be under any misconception that plastic totes are environmentally friendly. They’re not. Aside from environmental concerns, the biggest disadvantage of totes is that they take up more space and store less. Cardboard boxes stack better and with careful packing there is no unused air space between boxes. As long as cardboard boxes do not get wet, you can expect to get six or more moves from a standard singled-walled box. Just remember rodents and dampness are a potential problem with cardboard boxes.
After your cardboard boxes outlive their useful storage life, use the cardboard as pathways in your garden until they compost and return to the soil. Next growing season you could enjoy a tomato that came from that once helpful cardboard box. THAT will never happen from a plastic tote.
SOS TIP: If you are wondering if your should rent plastic totes for your next move to be environmentally friendly, please see: Are plastic totes better for moving?
Professional packing supplies are very convenient but can be expensive. It is also more environmentally friendly to reuse packing supplies as many times as possible. As long as the box doesn’t get damp, the standard single-walled cardboard box will do six or more moves before needing to be replaced. If you are on a budget there are a number of ways to save money on packing supplies:
- If you move a lot and have the storage space, break down your old moving boxes and store them flat until the next move.
- If you have space, break down and store any specialty boxes that come with new plasma TVs, computers, stereos, china, household appliances, etc.
- Call your local BC Liquor Store and see if they give away used boxes. Call first. Many liquor stores do not give out used boxes anymore.
- Use newspaper and fliers to pack your china and kitchen equipment. What a great use for junk mail! You will, however, have to wash your china and kitchen equipment before use to remove the printer’s ink.
- Use old towels, linen and blankets to cover and protect your furniture, mirrors and artwork.
- Use heavy plastic bags for good blankets, towels, linen and clothing.
- Look around your house and see if you already have the following items: markers for labeling boxes, tape and tape dispenser, Ziploc or garbage bags in various sizes, utility knife and scissors, boxes in various sizes and plastic bins. See if you can find any wrapping and cushioning materials such as: tissue paper, newsprint, bubble wrap, foam and Styrofoam peanuts. Collect any useable rope, straps, and bungee cords for packing and tying down. Don’t buy packing supplies you already have!
- If you move a lot, or have to store your possessions in damp conditions or rodent infested areas, consider buying stackable plastic totes with lids. Buying totes is more expensive then buying cardboard boxes but they will last for decades. GO BOX Storage doesn’t sell totes but you can buy totes at any big box store. I use totes in my house on a daily basis for all kinds of storage. I have even used them as night tables, clothing bins, recycling bins and as a medicine chest. I even use totes for vehicle emergency equipment, car camping and canoe trips. This is my favorite plastic tote.
Finally when you do get down to packing, label the top of each box with a destination room in your new house. Label each box with: kitchen, living room, garage, bathroom 1 or 2, bedroom 1, 2, 3 or 4, deep storage, etc. This avoids boxes having to be moved a second time because the box was brought to the wrong room. There is no need to label the contents of each box unless the box is going into deep storage. Remember to label the box “deep storage” and then label the contents of each individual box.
SOS TIP: If you are in a hurry and need to buy professional packing supplies, GO BOX Storage can help. We have GO BOX Storage Packing Kits with a wide variety of packing supplies for moves of different sizes. GO BOX Storage gives 10% off on Packing Kits or you can buy the packing supplies individually. If you are getting a GOBOX delivered, we can bring your packing supplies order at the same time. This will save you time and effort.