Cardboard boxes vs plastic bins – which works better?

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When you think of moving or storing your belongings, you probably picture a house full of cardboard boxes. It’s one of the most stereotypical images of the moving industry. But times are changing. Alternative, more sustainable packing supplies & methods are becoming more and more popular. One of the most widespread alternatives is the use of plastic bins. So, when you decide to relocate or use temporary storage Seattle, you’ll probably face the choice between cardboard boxes vs plastic bins. Which is the better option? Well, that will depend on what you’re packing and why. But one thing is certain – to make the best possible choice, you’ll need to have all the relevant information first.

Cardboard boxes vs plastic bins: the benefits of cardboard boxes

Cardboard box and tape on a desk.
Cardboard boxes have been used for moving and storage for decades.

Cardboard boxes have been a staple of moving for decades now. There simply must be a reason for this. After all, thousands of people wouldn’t be using cardboard boxes when moving if they didn’t have some benefits. So what are the best things about cardboard boxes and why should you use them?

Affordable and accessible

Cardboard boxes are easier by far to get your hands on than plastic bins. In fact, you probably have some cardboard boxes lying around the house right now. Virtually moving and storage providers sell quality boxes too. Not only are boxes accessible, but they’re also fairly inexpensive and can even be free. You can save boxes from deliveries, ask your friends and family to donate theirs, or simply collect some from local stores – they’ll probably be happy to be rid of them. So if you’re packing your belonging to put them inside Redmond self storage containers on short notice or on a budget, cardboard boxes will be by far the easiest and cheapest option.

They take up less space

Even reinforced cardboard is pretty thin. It’ll barely add more than a few inches to the total volume of your belongings. Plastic bins are much thicker and somewhat more irregularly shaped, which means they’ll take up more space If you don’t have a lot of space in your storage unit or moving truck, this can make a huge difference. So when space is an issue, cardboard boxes are the way to go.

They come in a wide variety of sizes

Measuring tape used to measure cardboard boxes vs plastic bins.
If you opt for cardboard boxes, you’ll have many different sizes to choose from.

Typically, moving boxes come in at least three sizes: small, medium, and large. But you can find cardboard boxes in almost any size. Some moving and storage companies will also offer extra-large boxes, for example. Even if yours doesn’t, you can easily get all kinds of cardboard boxes from regular stores. Finally, cardboard boxes can also be specially designed for certain types of items like glassware or picture frames. Simply, you’ll have a much greater diversity of options with cardboard boxes than plastic bins which are a one-size-fits-all type of deal.

Cardboard boxes vs plastic bins: the benefits of plastic bins

Plastic bins have rapidly gained popularity in recent years as an excellent alternative to cardboard boxes. And although cardboard boxes certainly have their advantages, plastic bins clearly come out on top in some categories. So what is it that people love about plastic bins so much?

More durable

Cardboard is not the most durable material in the world. If you’re only renting short term storage Seattle, that might not really make a big difference. But if you’re using storage as a long-term solution or moving long-distance, durable packing materials are a must. And when it comes to durability, plastic bins clearly win out. They are far more resistant to shock, much harder to dent or break, and difficult to damage overall because of the hard plastic they’re made of. This makes them particularly suitable for fragile or valuable belongings.

More resistant to elements

Water droplets on a surface.
If water damage is a concern when deciding between cardboard boxes vs plastic bins, plastic is definitely the safer choice.

In addition to being more durable, plastic bins are far more resistant to elements. They’re waterproof and will protect your belongings from potential damage caused by liquids, moisture, and mold. Furthermore, pests like bugs, moths, and mice will have a much harder time getting to your belongings if you pack them in plastic bins. You may think that this isn’t very important because you’ve opted for high-quality Kirkland self storage portable containers. But you can never predict everything, especially not major disasters like unexpected flooding or fires. And if something like that happens, you’ll definitely want your belongings to be in plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes.

More eco-friendly

Plastic is usually one of those things that we think of as a pollutant. After all, you hear about plastic in the ocean all the time. We are all urged to cut down on how much plastic we use in our day-to-day lives in order to combat the effects of climate change. So you might assume that plastic bins aren’t exactly the greenest of options. And it’s true – cardboard is both easy to recycle and biodegradable. However, because of their durability, plastic bins create less waste overall.

While most cardboard boxes are only good for one or two relocations at most, dozens and even hundreds of people can rent the same plastic bin before it stops serving its purpose. So while plastic bins are not biodegradable, they last longer and can be recycled at the end of their life span which makes them overall more eco-friendly.

Cardboard boxes vs plastic bins: when to use which?

Both cardboard boxes and plastic bins have their uses at different times and for different things. Therefore, the deciding factor in the cardboard boxes vs plastic bins dilemma will be the specific situation you’re in. Use cardboard boxes if you have concerns about the budget, the amount of space, or the time. They’re also good for moving and short-term storage. Plastic bins, on the other hand, are the better option when you’re moving valuable or fragile items, when you’re worried about water damage, and when you’re storing things long-term.

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