The Pros and Cons of Using Plastic Moving Boxes

published Dec 31, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Volo

Moving somewhere new is exciting—and often cause for celebration. A new city to discover? Yes, please. Even just moving one neighborhood over can mean finding a new favorite coffee shop or becoming friends with the other tenants in your building. 

The part that isn’t so fun? The move itself

Buying cardboard boxes—or even just collecting them from your place of work or local supermarket—may seem like the natural move as you gear up to assemble all of your personal belongings, but renting plastic moving boxes may actually be a better option depending on your needs. Ahead, the pros and cons of plastic moving boxes over cardboard are laid out.

The Pros of Plastic Moving Boxes

  1. Plastic moving boxes are more environmentally friendly.

Because they’re reusable, plastic moving boxes will create less waste than buying cardboard boxes. Sure, you could use cardboard boxes that have already been in circulation rather than buying them from Home Depot or U-Haul, but plastic boxes still mean there’s less material to dispose of.

  1. They’re sturdier than cardboard boxes, and will keep your valuables safer from the elements.

Whether it’s happened during a move or not, you’ve probably come across a cardboard box with a soggy corner, inevitably causing drama for whatever’s inside it. And because rodents don’t usually eat plastic (although the jury is still out on what a New York City rat’s diet really looks like), you’re less likely to get infestations of any kind with a plastic box. 

  1. They might save you some time and energy.

With no need to assemble, tape, or reinforce, these might be a better option if you’re looking to cut down on time during the packing and unpacking process. 

  1. If you plan on buying them, you can reuse them for years.

Plastic moving boxes could become sturdy storage containers for years to come. And because they’ll stand the test of time better than cardboard will, you won’t have to worry about your belongings getting ruined if, say, your basement floods an inch or two. 

The Cons of Plastic Moving Boxes

  1. They might get a lot heavier.

Simply put, plastic moving boxes are just heavier than cardboard ones. While the weight difference might not seem like that big of a deal, once you get all your belongings in there, it might make quite a difference. Plus, moving is already a physically strenuous task.

  1. They’re more expensive. 

Unless you know someone with these boxes, you’re likely to incur a cost to use them if you’re renting or buying. While you also might have to buy cardboard boxes, they’re typically cheaper than plastic ones. Cardboard is a bit easier to come by for free, too.

  1. They aren’t the best option for glass items. 

While plastic moving boxes are much better at protecting your valuables from the elements, cardboard is the way to go for fragile and glass items. 

  1. They’re not as easy to dispose of when you’re done moving. 

A cardboard box can be immediately collapsed and left at the curb to be recycled on trash day, but returning plastic moving boxes requires a bit more logistics after you’re finished unpacking them.

  1. They’re bulky.

They’re thicker than cardboard, which means that they’re going to take up more real estate in your moving vehicle. If you’re moving with a truck, this may not be an issue, but if you’re packing all of your things into the back of a station wagon, keeping things slimmed down will mean you can squeeze more into the car. 

Where to Rent or Buy Plastic Moving Boxes

While pricing might depend on where you live, renting a moving box from U-Haul will cost about $1.50 per box to use for a week. 

Renting from BungoBox is advertised as being as simple as getting the boxes dropped off at your door. You pack them up, move, and then someone comes and gets them from you. Prices vary, but you’ll pay somewhere between $50 and $100 to rent over a dozen boxes for one week.

If you’re looking to buy plastic moving boxes brand new, you can get one that’s 19.8 by 13.8 by 11.8 inches for $17 per box.