Moving house can be one of the least eco-friendly activities we do. The cardboard boxes, packing peanuts and bubble wrap all wreak havoc on our environment. To find out how to reduce the environmental impact of moving, eieihome spoke with FROGBOX, an eco-conscious Canadian company who rents re-usable plastic moving boxes, reducing the environmental footprint of a move.
Plastic versus cardboard
Cardboard and paper waste makes up an estimated 18 to 26 percent of landfill material. “Cardboard boxes typically can only be used once or twice before they degrade to the point where they’re not useful anymore,” says FROGBOX’s Durham Franchisee Nigel Foy. FROGBOX’s plastic bins, on the other hand, can be used up to 400 times. “One FROGBOX replaces about 200 cardboard boxes,” says Foy. Although cardboard can be recycled, the process of recycling these boxes takes a lot of water and energy. “You’re reducing your carbon footprint by not having to recycle all of that cardboard [from your move],” says Foy. Not to mention the negative impact of logging to produce the cardboard in the first place. Foy speaks of a study that compared high density polyethylene, the material FROGBOXes are made out of and corrugated cardboard used in moving boxes. The study found every 100 FROGBOX containers saved 75 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in their lifecycle compared to cardboard boxes. “That’s the equivalent of taking 60 cars off the road,” says Foy.
Companies that care
Your move will have you interacting with a variety of companies, from box suppliers to moving vans and locksmiths. Choosing suppliers who not only have sustainable products, but sustainable practices can help reduce the environmental cost of your move. FROGBOX, for example, is part of the 1% for the planet organization. Each franchise donates one percent of their revenues to local frog restoration projects. Frogs are the most threatened vertebrate group on Earth. At their current rate, with nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species in danger, frogs are disappearing faster than dinosaurs did.
Look for packing alternatives
Styrofoam and packing peanuts are not the only options to keep your fragile belongings safe. FROGBOX sells 100% recycled paper and biodegradable bubble wrap which biodegrades within five years rather than the typical polyethylene plastic which takes decades to biodegrade. Foy also recommends customers use old blankets and towels to wrap fragile items, and for an extra cushion, stuff some used plastic bags with newspaper.