Ways to Recycle Your Moving Boxes

Don't Throw Out Those Moving Boxes

Young woman decorating new home
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Once you've moved and unpacked, you probably have so many boxes that it's a struggle to take them to the curb. While you're anxious to get rid of those cardboard moving boxes, there are other means of disposal that will recycle or reuse them.

Local Recycling Programs

Most cities and towns allow people to recycle large amounts of cardboard, so you won't be charged extra to have the boxes carried away. Some won't pick up from the curb, so you may have to take your boxes to a recycling center. Check online or call about restrictions such as the amount, size, and if the boxes need to be flattened.

Sell Your Used Boxes

Depending on where you live, many cities have companies that specialize in buying and selling used moving boxes. You can search for them online or check with your local moving companies. If you live in the U.S., BoxCycle is a great place to list boxes for sale and purchase used boxes. The company does a lot of the selling for you. You can find buyers who will accept drop-offs and who will come pick them up from you at a stated appointment time. There is no upfront cost to list your boxes, but they charge a commission on the sales.

Post on a Message Board

U-Haul has a Customer Connect board for people on the move. You can search for people requesting used boxes or post your message. It's a site where people can buy, sell, or exchange packing supplies, including boxes.

Craigslist is a great place to post boxes that you want to sell, exchange, or give away. Freecycle.org is another site where you can list items you want other people to come and take off your hands.

If you don't belong to NextDoor yet, it's a great space to post things you're trying to sell or give away like moving boxes and packing supplies. Since you just moved to a new neighborhood, NextDoor is also a great place to meet new neighbors and find services you might need for your new home. Sign up, introduce yourself, and get involved. It's that easy. 

Ask Your Neighbors

If you moved into an apartment complex, or there is one nearby, ask the managers or rental office if they can notify the tenants that your boxes need a new home or if they can let you know if someone in the building is moving. You can also post flyers around your neighborhood to let people know that you have boxes available.

Contact a Charity or Community Organization

Local libraries, schools, community centers, food banks, churches, or other nonprofit organizations may need boxes for their own purposes or to use in their work such as making food baskets. This option might take some time and a few phone calls, but there are always organizations that need boxes.

Use Your Boxes for Storage

Once you've unpacked, the moving boxes make great organizers for long-term storage. After you've found places for the things you are likely to use on a regular basis, sort items into boxes that you will only use rarely. Label them well so you know what's in the box. Now you can store them out of the way and everything will take up less space. If they are still in the box next time you move, that may be an indication it's time to sell or donate the contents rather than move them again.

Save Boxes for the Next Move

Go through your boxes and select the cleanest and most sturdy. Flatten these and put them aside to use for storage or your next move. Even if you don't use them, it is likely you have friends or relatives who will need them soon enough.

Save Boxes for Play and DIY Projects

If you have kids or pets, you can always find a purpose for a few moving boxes. They can become playhouses, costumes, pet beds, and sleds. Flattened boxes make good protective surfaces that you can dispose of after you change oil, do a painting project, or need something to kneel on when gardening.

Compost It

Some people use cardboard boxes as self-recycling compost bins. Community garden programs also often have need of cardboard to use in their projects. Your boxes could have a new life as veggies and flowers.