Practical and Creative Ways to Recycle Moving Boxes

Once you complete your move, unpacked, and everything is in its place, there’s one big chore to take care of – all the cardboard boxes! Sure, you can break them up and stick them out for recycling day pickup, but have you considered other practical and creative ways you can use them?

According to the EPA, the U.S. generated 33.2 million tons of corrugated cardboard. Ninety-five percent is recycled, which is excellent, but it still consumes a lot of energy. When it comes to producing packaging, less is more in this case. Reusing cardboard boxes is not only good for the environment, but it also saves you some money.

See if your moving company will take them off your hands. Another option is to check with people in your community who might look for moving boxes for an upcoming move. These are great ways to ensure that your gently used boxes get another life.

In addition, here are four nontraditional ways you can repurpose cardboard moving boxes.

1. Repurpose Boxes in the Garden

Cardboard can be beneficial to your garden. Instead of buying plastic barriers to block weeds or using chemicals to maintain the garden, simply remove any tape and labels and line the garden bed with leftover moving boxes. They will help squash the unwanted weeds and, as the cardboard breaks down naturally, it blends nicely with fresh dirt. While you’re at it, cut up other leftover boxes and use them as kneeling pads for the garden instead of spending money on plastic ones that last about as long anyway.

2. Compost Extra Cardboard

Once all packaging remnants from your moving boxes have been removed, put moving cartons into a compost container with any other food scraps, grass clippings, and materials you use. All you need to do is tear it into smaller pieces or cut the boxes into strips and add them into the compost. Over time, you’ll see healthy soil created, which you can use down the road.

3. Reuse for Home Organization

Most moving boxes are pretty hardy and maintain their strength after you’ve used them for relocation. Instead of breaking them up for recycling day, repurpose boxes and use them for everyday storage. Boxes of sizes that are already useful (small and medium) cover them with material (or even heavy-duty wrapping paper) and wrap the exteriors of the boxes. You can store toys, magazines, art supplies, video games, or whatever else you have that could benefit from a bit of organization.

To repurpose larger boxes that are too big to reuse as is, cut them into smaller pieces, shape them into the sizes you need, secure them with duct tape, and then get them to create to make practical storage. Make boxes for pens, hair accessories, kitchen utensils, wrapping paper rolls, CDs, DVDs, and just about anything else you can think of.

4. Make Toys for the Kids

If you’ve got kids, you probably have already learned that many of them often would rather play with the boxes instead of what’s inside. So rather than hand them a box, help them be creative. Get out markers, stickers, duct tape, and anything else that would make a great invention. Think of the possibilities – forts, castles, pirate ships, racecars, dollhouses, robots, or help them create whatever they dream of.

Other ways you can repurpose moving boxes include art supplies, gift packaging, or simply use them for storage in the attic or basement for seasonal items. You can also give them away to others planning an upcoming move.

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