Renting Plastic Moving Boxes

More and more companies are offering plastic moving boxes as an eco-friendly alternative to cardboard boxes. Most of these companies are located on the West Coast, though they’re popping up more in the Midwest and East. Depending on your location and where you’re moving to, you may or may not even have access to these boxes. Nonetheless, it’s an option for some who are moving locally and don’t want to buy new or use cardboard boxes.

Why Rent?

Compared to cardboard, they’re naturally more sturdy and resistant to moisture. You don’t have to worry at all about them collapsing inside of a moving truck. Plastic moving boxes have handles on the sides that make them easier to carry.

frogboxAre they really less expensive? According to plastic moving box companies, they are. The argument is that you’ll need fewer plastic boxes compared to cardboard ones because you can pack more into each box, which means you won’t need quite as many. They can be stacked higher than cardboard, and your items won’t be as likely to get damaged.

They stack nice and neat because of their shape, whereas cardboard boxes are more prone to falling over. Plastic boxes come pre-assembled and they lock shut.

I am not an expert on what is “green”, but all the services claim that plastic moving boxes are more environmentally friendly than cardboard. Plastic boxes are more sustainable, since they can be used over and over again.

Most of these services also help you figure out just how many boxes you need. They do whatever they can to make sure that you don’t rent more then what’s required. With cardboard boxes, you may end up getting too many or not enough.

They’re delivered to your doorstep and will be picked up after you move in. You won’t have any excess on your hands.

Why Not Rent?

As mentioned, a plastic moving box company may not be in your area. They’re very limited at this moment. You may have no choice but to go with cardboard moving boxes.

Second, these companies will only service certain areas. For example, Rent A Green Box services Orange and Los Angeles county only. They can only cover so much ground because they deliver and pick up the boxes. So if you’re moving from L.A. to Denver, then this service is unavailable to you.

These services also don’t allow you to pick up or take the boxes back on your own. This isn’t a big deal, since most people don’t have room for these large boxes in their vehicle. Nonetheless, it’s a part of the deal.

Are they really less expensive? Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. I suppose in some cases they could be. However, these companies charge delivery and pick up fees. When you order cardboard boxes online, they are shipped to your doorstep for free.

Even if you rent plastic moving boxes, you still may need a few specialty moving boxes. For example, if you have a flat screen TV, then you’ll have no choice to but to use a flat screen TV moving box, unless you still own the original box. What about mirrors and precious artwork? Those don’t fit into plastic boxes.

Now, you could certainly rent some plastic boxes and buy the cardboard boxes you need. However, wouldn’t that somewhat defeat the purpose of renting plastic boxes in the first place?

What if you want to start packing three weeks before moving day? You can rent for several weeks, but it will cost an arm and a leg to do. If you rent for one week, you’ll be in a hurry trying to get everything packed and unpacked before they pick them up. With cardboard boxes, you can acquire them anytime and pack at your own pace.

What if you want to keep some plastic boxes for storage? A few companies do allow their customers to buy them once their done, but they’re not cheap. Most companies I’ve seen don’t sell them at all.

You could buy storage containers to use for moving and storing items. However, buying nothing but plastic containers isn’t really feasible for moving.

With cardboard boxes, you can keep whatever you need for storage. They can be recycled or given away to someone who needs them.


Renting plastic moving boxes should definitely be considered if you live near a company. My advice is to do the math and see whether they’re cheaper than cardboard boxes. If your only concern is doing what’s best for the environment, then renting may be the way to go, regardless of cost.

I am all for doing what’s best for the planet. While plastic boxes might be better, I don’t think the difference is significant. Cardboard boxes can be re-used also. They don’t have to be taken to landfills.

Which one you choose is a matter of preference. Both plastic and cardboard have their good and bad. You have to decide what you feel is best for your move.

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