Cardboard vs. Plastic: The Great Packing Debate

Cardboard vs. Plastic: The Great Packing Debate

Is cardboard or plastic better for moving? What else makes one of these materials superior, and why?

When considering robustness, look, and environmental impact, cardboard and plastic have advantages and disadvantages.

Here, we explore the pros and cons of cardboard and plastic so you can determine which material you prefer when you pack for a move, organize your stuff, and store clothes and home goods.

How Did the Paper vs. Plastic Debate Start?

Do you remember the days when you were asked at the grocery store: “Would you like paper or plastic?”

Although paper is easier to recycle, it costs a lot in terms of its carbon footprint, use of trees, and wastewater creation. Plastic bags are difficult to recycle but easier to reuse and have become trashcan liners in many homes.

Ultimately, because of the complex nature of each’s lifecycle, the best option between paper and plastic bags is the one you’ll reuse. Plastic is the best unless you bring reusable bags to the grocery store.

Still, recalling how and where the paper versus plastic debate started is fascinating and a good starting place for the cardboard versus plastic debate.

Cardboard Boxes: The Classic

Moving with cardboard boxes is a tried, tested, and true method we’ve all done at least once.

Here are some things we know for sure about these boxes:

  • Lightweight
  • Take up less space (when broken down, flattened)
  • Shorter life
  • Easily destructible (water, wind, age and fire)
  • Fewer reuses
  • Not ideal for long-term storage
  • Easy to recycle

Pros and Cons of Cardboard Boxes for Moving and Storage

Cardboard boxes are the classic option for moving and storage.

How did we move before the invention of the brown, foldable cardboard box?

It’s even sweeter when you can score some for free and reuse boxes from someone else’s move.

Brand-new cardboard boxes arrive flat and are relatively lightweight. They may not be aesthetically pleasing, but they are easy to assemble with packing tape and a Sharpie marker.

Unfortunately, they live a short life. Realistically, a cardboard box endures an estimated 2 to 4 moves before it becomes too structurally compromised to remain a trustworthy container for your belongings.

While cardboard boxes can store items longer-term, even a hint of moisture will encourage mould to ruin the contents. Let’s hope the storage area isn’t a flood risk. Entire collections of family photo albums have met their end, being stored in cardboard boxes in a flooded basement or garage.

Instead of using cardboard boxes for storage, just recycle them by removing the tape, flattening them, and putting them by the curb with the rest of your recycling.

Plastic Boxes: Forever Young

Heavier than cardboard, plastic boxes take up space—only some options can fold to become smaller. However, they boast a longer lifespan, being waterproof or water-resistant. Many reuses are possible with these durable containers. Ideal for long-term storage, plastic boxes are a perfect choice if you’re working with Toronto Movers for a local move or even thinking about a long-distance arrangement to a new city. Their durability and ease of stacking make them a preferred option by moving companies, including those in high-humidity areas like Miami. Miami Movers often recommend plastic boxes for their ability to protect against moisture and pests, essential in Florida’s climate.

  • Heavier than cardboard
  • Takes up space (only some options can fold to become smaller)
  • Longer lasting
  • Waterproof or water-resistant
  • Many reuses
  • Ideal for long-term storage

Pros and Cons of Plastic Boxes for Moving and Storage

Plastic boxes for moving and storage are a newer option, available for purchase or rent. Renting plastic moving boxes is a very economical choice for one-off moves that don’t require long-term storage. Purchasing plastic boxes is pricey (from $10/each in bulk).

Although plastic boxes and crates are heavier than cardboard and they take up more space, some attractive options now fold to become portable.

Plastic moving boxes can stand up to at least 400 moves. They are stackable, and plastic doesn’t break down due to moisture. Some models are even waterproof or water-resistant.

Because of these properties, plastic boxes are an innovative way to move into a new home or office with less waste and more long-term storage potential. They also come in many sizes and styles, with a reusable plastic moving box for every need.

Environmental Considerations of Cardboard vs Plastic

Finally, we must consider the environmental impact of cardboard versus plastic. Measuring the ecological effects of two widely used materials is complex, and reliable data contrasting cardboard and plastic boxes is not readily available.

However, manufacturing a paper bag consumes four times the energy of plastic. The extended lifespan of quality plastic exacerbates this difference.

Plus, cardboard’s recycling capacity is limited to 4 to 6 times due to fibre degradation, necessitating new materials and further energy consumption. Thus, cardboard boxes emit more CO2 than plastic when considering the entire lifecycle of both materials, including recycling.

We’re not at the point where packaging made of mushrooms and seaweed is big enough to move with—maybe one day! For now, there are limited alternatives to cardboard and plastic moving boxes.

Conclusion: Go Hybrid

What if there is no single answer to this debate? You don’t have to choose only one type of packaging solution for moving home or office. Evaluate which material is best for your situation.

For instance, reusable plastic bins come in handy for storage purposes. Move and store your irreplaceable items in them. However, you may already have cardboard boxes handy or access to some free ones. Use them for light items, recycle them properly, or hand them to someone in need. If you’re moving locally,

Toronto Movers can provide additional plastic moving boxes for the rest of your move. Meanwhile, Miami Movers might be a great option if you’re heading to a more tropical climate. While most box rental companies only work locally, we have found at least one with locations in major cities across Canada and the US.

What if there is no single answer to this debate? You don’t have to choose only one type of packaging solution for moving home or office. Evaluate which material is best for your situation.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *