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Save Money and the Planet by Reusing Packing Materials

Recycling for Packing 101

couple sitting among boxes

Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching! That sound emanating from your wallet is the sound of spending too much money on packing supplies! Why pay hard-earned money for packing boxes when you can get them for free from retailers? Reusing boxes and other packing materials also earns you many a brownie point—maybe we should say a greenie point—in the Environmentally Responsible Moving Hall of Fame.

Here are some handy tips for packing materials to reuse:

  • Boxes. You may have some boxes stored in the basement or garage from your previous move; don’t forget about those! Also visit local retailers and ask if they are willing to part with their intact boxes. Grocery stores are often very helpful in this regard, especially small health food stores. Some grocery stores in the Portland area include Wild Oats, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Zupans, New Seasons, Fred Meyers and Safeway. Also be on the lookout for boxes from your workplace. The office manager will probably be thrilled to give you empty boxes after unloading paper and office supplies!
  • Newspaper. It’s not just for doing the crossword anymore! Newspaper is a wonderful cushioning material for fragile items, especially when it’s wadded up. For example, when you’re packing dishes, you can wrap each individual dish in newspaper, and cushion the dishes from one another with wadded up balls of newspaper.
  • Bubble wrap and packing peanuts. You know all that packing material that you hoard, thinking you’ll use it to ship Christmas gifts, but never get around to using? Now it’s time to put it to work! Your office manager at work will also be thrilled to pawn off packing materials on you!
    rolled up newspaper
  • Plastic grocery bags. They multiply in the dark, but don’t worry—you’ll be able to use every single one of them when packing. Use them to wrap toiletries and liquid products, such as shampoos, lotions, dish soap and cleaning products before packing them. That way, if they spill, it’s only inside the bag and not all over everything else in the same box.

Who knew that by being a tightwad about packing materials you can also save the planet?!

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