What is the difference between plastic moving boxes and two minute noodles? Everyone knows two minute noodles are rubbish.
Recently there has been an onset of companies promoting the use of plastic moving boxes as environmentally friendly and convenient, but are plastic tubs a preferable option to cardboard boxes? I would argue no, as they are neither eco nor mover friendly.
Hard plastic tubs (PVC) are manufactured from petrochemicals; oil. The same substance recently described as having caused a human, economic and environmental catastrophe. If this is not enough food for thought consider these facts.
A common size for “eco friendly”plastic moving boxes is around 23″ long by 19″ wide and 12” deep. Also known as a round trip tote, this 2.7 cubic foot container is nine pounds empty, however a 3.0 cubic foot cardboard moving box is only 2.1 pounds. If you were to use 40 boxes for your one bedroom apartment, which is not extraordinary, the difference between plastic v. cardboard would be a significant 280 pound net [40 plastic containers x nine pounds each = 360 lbs. 40 cardboard boxes @ 2.1 lbs = 80.4 lbs. 360 – 80 = 280 lbs]! A substantive 280 pounds of added weight for your movers to load/unload and, 280 lbs of additional load on the truck engine. The result? Increased fuel consumption on every move in the city, throughout the province and across the country. But wait!
In an earlier blog post I had discussed the use of plastic moving crates from a professional mover’s perspective. Having seen them more often, a couple of points are worth reiterating. The heavier your job is the slower it will go. Also, the tubs are poorly designed for the real process of moving as they lend themselves to overloading. Additionally the slippery tapered sides prevent a mover from lifting and grasping it from the bottom, leaving only hand holds on the top side of the crate for leverage. This is akin to lifting a heavy weight out of the trunk of your car: your lower back is always vulnerable. In light of this, we handle all heavy plastic bins with two men for safety.
If plastic moving boxes are to supplant cardboard in the future they must move toward constructing the tubs in a similar shape as two and four cubic foot cardboard boxes, the same way the current dish pack copied an old school tea-chest. Otherwise, the combination of an awkward shape, significant tare weight and environmental impact will make them untenable for long-term growth in the market place.
*Update 2011* Please visit our new blog post on the subject: http://citymove.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/plastic-moving-boxes-will-kill-you-and-ruin-your-floors-too-2/