You know it, I know it, the whole world knows it; the environment is a very fragile entity that must be treated with care and respect. With all the latest news about global warming and being environmentally friendly, everyone is trying to figure out new ways to recycle and save energy and natural resources. From ethanol powered cars to energy saving light bulbs, companies and manufacturers are trying to do their part to help preserve this precious planet of ours.

But what can you do personally to help save the planet? When a person moves they inevitably use many different types of packing materials; boxes, blankets, bubble wrap, tape, rope, scissors, Styrofoam peanuts, and the list goes on and on. When it comes to these materials, boxes are probably needed most. It used to be that once a box is used it gets thrown away never to be seen again. But with the recent "green" resurgence, choosing boxes can become a more complicated, but necessary process. Just to paint you a picture, in 1995, 13 million tons of cardboard was disposed of (14% of the total municipal solid waste generated). Cardboard is by far the single largest contributor to municipal solid waste in this country. And what are moving boxes made of? That's right, cardboard.

Instead of just picking up the cheapest or strongest boxes, first do some research to make sure that your box is recycled or can be recycled. There are two types of place to pick up some moving boxes; from a supplier or from someone who is getting rid of boxes. The latter is obviously cheaper and environmentally friendly because you’re reusing a box that otherwise might’ve been thrown out. If you’re only in a position to purchase moving boxes, then there are certain things you should avoid to stay environmentally friendly.

Sometimes a cardboard box looks like cardboard, feels like cardboard, and may even smell like cardboard. But the truth is, it may not be 100% cardboard. Sometimes boxes are contaminated with other materials such as wood, polystyrene foam, metal, plastic, wax, and newspaper can be found within your cardboard boxes. What’s the big deal? The problem with these contaminates is that they interference with remanufacturing the boxes because they have to be separated from the actual cardboard. This is a difficult, time consuming, and expensive process. Consequently, contaminated boxes often get thrown by the wayside. Although cardboard is biodegradable, the process is long and slow resulting in a large buildup of cardboard waste in landfills. To help prevent this needless waste, be green with your moving boxes.

So what can you do? Ask friends, co-workers, local supermarkets, and anyone and everyone if they have extra boxes that you can use for your move. This is a cheap and environmentally friendly way to obtain cardboard boxes. Or, if you buy moving boxes, make sure that they are not filled with contaminates and can be recycled. When you’re done with your moving boxes, you can then pay it forward and see if anyone you know needs any cardboard boxes or just recycle them yourself.

Although 65% of cardboard is recycled per year, and is the most recycled material in the United States, it is up to all of us to keep that number steady if not raise it. Who knew that something as simple as cardboard could be so complicated? This being true, it is extremely simple and uncomplicated to make sure you’re being green when choosing cardboard boxes for your upcoming move.