In 2003, I sold merch for the band Social Distortion in San Diego one night. When the show was over, instead of just recycling all of the boxes, I kept some of them for storage at my apartment. Over the past ten years, those boxes have been on numerous road trips, lived in many states and they’re still going strong. And these aren’t even my oldest boxes either. I have some vintage tomato boxes from my grandparents’ house from who knows when. But when I was unpacking one of these Social D boxes during my mass purging recently, I asked myself the question that I ask all the time: “Seriously, why buy new?”
In addition to saving money when you reuse boxes, you’re also making a positive impact on the planet. In the US, almost 900 million trees are cut down each year for paper and pulp mills. And of that, a majority is for cardboard boxes. Now sure, plenty of boxes are made with recycled cardboard, but the thing is, while it takes less energy to make a cardboard box out of recycled cardboard, it takes NO ENERGY to reuse one. And that is way better for people and planet. For more facts on cardboard waste, click here.
Whether it’s cereal boxes from family and friends for shipping like I do with STAY VOCAL, oversized boxes from Usedcardboardboxes.com for moving, or a shoebox from the closet for a child’s diorama, there are used cardboard boxes everywhere for every purpose. Just peruse your neighborhood the morning of recycling pickup sometime. It’s like a free shopping spree for boxes! You can also ask local businesses if they have any boxes that would otherwise be recycled. I definitely recommend at least offering them a coffee if they give you some for free, though.
What it all breaks down to, is that when we opt for used boxes, we make a positive impact on both our wallet and our planet. And really, with proper reusing and sharing, there are enough cardboard boxes already made that we could probably go at least 10 years without needing a new one.
After writing this and thinking about my merch box from 10 years ago, I got really curious. What’s the oldest cardboard box that other people have? So, I made quick poll below. And hey, if you have any cool photos of your boxes to share, please do!