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Cardbored? Check Out This Alternative!

Meet FROGBOX– a Canadian based member who has changed the game of moving. In their first year of membership with 1% for the Planet, they have already chose a number of approved non-profits to support, including the Vancouver Aquarium and organizations that support frog habitat restoration. The following post was written by Mathieson McCrae (a huge fan of 1% FTP and Yvon), and I am happy that he shared it with us! Read on to learn more about this innovative business!

People move. Once every five years, on average, we gather every single thing we own and we pack it up, transport it and unpack it somewhere else, making home in a new place. The status quo as you read this, is to do all that packing and transporting with cardboard boxes. Whether you find them behind a liquor store or buy them brand new, it’s a disposable paper product, that sooner, rather than later, ends up as waste. (Yes yes, they can be recycled, but just wait, it’s not so simple. We’ll address this directly in a future post.)

FROGBOX is the new alternative. We take sturdy, stackable plastic boxes and rent them out in whichever quantity and for whatever duration is required to make the move. So what’s the difference? It’s simple: reuse. We offer a product that can be used 400 times. Cardboard averages just less than two uses, and is virtually useless after 5 or, at best, 10 times around the block. But hey, it’s also obvious that plastic requires way more energy to produce than a good old flimsy cardboard job. Bingo, 100% correct. It takes approximately 8x more energy to produce a FROGBOX than it would to produce a cardboard box of equivalent capacity.

What that number means is that once we rent out a FROGBOX eight times, every additional use does not require the input of additional material resources. There’s 392 uses left to go and 392 cardboard boxes that don’t need to be made. So to be clear, we’re not saying everyone should buy FROGBOX moving boxes (FROGBOXes) and keep their own in their garage. They may reuse them a few times, but that would have a higher impact than owning some cardboard. The idea is that we take a durable product and facilitate its shared use as moving boxes by the community at large.

So what’s the actual impact of cardboard? And what do we save by using FROGBOX moving boxes? We’ll talk about what we’ve done so far in the last three years, but we’ll also visualize the bigger picture too, what impact we will have when FROGBOX becomes status quo.

So far, the FROGBOX moving boxes currently in circulation have been used over 250,000 times. This means 223 Metric Tonnes of cardboard were not used. And 587 MTCE (Metric Tonnes Carbon Equivalent) avoided in waste and production. (We’ll save this for a later post, but not to be overlooked!) The tape that holds those boxes together accounts for an uncertain but more toxic portion of the footprint of the box and cannot be recycled. Assuming 5 ft of tape per cardboard box means using FROGBOXes has saved 1.25 million feet of tape thus far.

And so what does that 587 MTCE (CO2) number mean?

  • -It’s equivalent to one car driving 1,920,000 kilometers (which is five one way trips to the moon [or two and a half round trips, but that leaves you stuck on the moon, and also, what road are you driving on?])
  • -Which is the same as 60 cars doing 32,000 kilometers.
  • -Or 190 individual people not flying to New York from Vancouver (planes use a lot of fuel).
  • -Or powering 73 average North American homes for a whole year!

Small potatoes? Yeah, we’re not the big fry yet, but so that’s where things look interesting. 55 million people move every year in the USA and Canada and that means 1.9 billion boxes and as much as 271,662 MTCE assuming all cardboard boxes are actually used twice (another future post in the works here).

And just to toot the horn: let’s mention that FROGBOX moving boxes are strong, sport a waterproof tub design (lids attached!), have handles and don’t need to be taped together or broken down when you’re done. Which all, ahem, saves you time. Time is still important too, right?

A huge thanks goes to FROGBOX for sending us this blog post, and we hope you consider supporting them during your next move!

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