Last time we moved house, we needed boxes and lots of them. It’s always amazing how much stuff we accumulate even when trying consciously not to. Moving house is a real eye opener when it comes to understanding our environmental impact and the results of living in a society dominated by hyperconsumption.
We wound up having to buy a stack of boxes at 5 bucks a pop. At that price, these certainly weren’t destined for the recycle bin or even our worm farm. We’re hanging on to them…forever.
Cardboard and our environment
Cardboard boxes are everywhere we turn and according to the American Forest and Paper Association, in excess of 90% of all products in the US are shipped in corrugated cardboard boxes. It makes up nearly 14 percent of the nation’s municipal solid waste.
It’s a huge industry, with around 10,000 paper and paperboard mills in operation globally. It’s really important that we recycle paper products, including cardboard boxes. Here’s some interesting statistics:
Each ton of paper produced consumes
• 17 trees
• 79 gallons of oil
• 7000 gallons of water
• 42,000 kilowatts of energy
• 60 gallons of air pollution
• 3 cubic yards of landfill space
Around 42 million people move each year in the USA, and the average person will move 11.7 times in their lifetime – that’s a lot of boxes!
Buy Used Cardboard Boxes
While recycling paper products is great, reusing is even better as that requires less energy and resources again.
Whether you’re moving house or shipping items for your store, perhaps consider buying used cardboard boxes. You’ll save all the above consumption and save some cash to boot.
I’ve been following the progress of a great little company in the USA called, wait for it, Used Cardboard Boxes, since they commenced operations back in 2006 and they’ve been doing some amazing things – I hope to see them establish an arm in Australia soon.
Used Cardboard Boxes acquires truckloads of boxes from companies that might otherwise be thrown away. They also acquire misprints and overruns from box manufacturers that have no use for the boxes. These aren’t boxes with rips and tears, they are all in perfect condition.
You’ll pay less for used boxes from the company and they guarantee free 1-2 day delivery to any address in the USA and in some parts of Canada.
This isn’t a company just jumping on the green bandwagon – I’ve never come across anyone quite so genuinely passionate about boxes as these folks :). They also donate a portion of their revenue to plant trees.
Since the company began a few years back, UsedCardboardBoxes estimates their clients have saved:
– 6,709 trees
– 2,625,920 kWh of electricity (or 1,600 barrels of oil)
– 1,775,680 lbs CO2
– 3,485,760 gallons
– 618,560 lbs of solid waste
Makes me feel rather guilty for having bought new boxes!
A special offer for GLT readers
While they don’t have a branch in Australia yet (hint, nudge), Jennifer from UCB kindly offered North American readers of Green Living Tips a 5% discount on any order. The coupon code you’ll need is:
This is actually called a Box Bucks Code on their site, and it’s entered just before checkout.
Sometimes the simplest of ideas can make a huge positive impact – and UsedCardboardBoxes are certainly onto a winning idea! So next time you need to move house, save yourself the time and gas skulking around the back of stores and check out what UsedCardboardBoxes has to offer!