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MoveGreen, A Green Moving Startup, Provides Alternative to Cardboard Boxes

| Friday August 7th, 2009 | 21 Comments

ban-startup-friday

cardboard-boxesIf you’ve ever attempted to further complicate the moving process by being “green” about it, you’ve probably at least considered the problem of cardboard boxes. You, and the founders of MoveGreen, a Florida-based startup that provides SmartPacks, a re-usable, recyclable, and recycled alternative to cardboard boxes. An important endeavor, given the fact that, according to a 2007 report by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in Palm Beach alone (Florida’s largest county), only 37 percent of the 65,268 tons of corrugated paper collected for disposal (the type used to manufacture moving boxes) were recycled. My investigation into MoveGreen’s products – and its approach – revealed its grasp on this small but important corner of the green moving market.

MoveGreen’s process is simple: It delivers SmartPacks to clients’ homes or offices prior to their move and picks the packs up after the clients unpack. MoveGreen says its services prevent waste and are convenient and cost efficient (SmartPacks cost no more than cardboard boxes). I hypothesize that, while some people probably prefer to cut costs by using (free) recycled cardboard boxes, others, who would’ve paid for new boxes, would benefit from the program. If my hypothesis is true, I expect MoveGreen has found something of a niche in the green-packing market in Florida.

MoveGreen’s marketing techniques are also intriguing. A quick peek at the the company’s Facebook page is revealing: MoveGreen is launching a new (green web hosted) site, organizes SmartPack “prize drops” (in which it scatters prize-filled SmartPacks for participants to find, scavenger-hunt style), and supports numerous eco-friendly organizations. While the demand for MoveGreen’s SmartPacks may be limited to certain consumers, I believe MoveGreen’s marketing techniques – promoting its product in innovative, locally-relevant ways – could expand that clientele. Moreover, by supporting other sustainability organizations, it seems MoveGreen will eventually build the larger green moving market.

That said, I don’t have answers to a few questions: where MoveGreen gets is SmartPacks, how it transports them, or how long the SmartPacks last. The answers to these questions would, potentially, fill in important gaps in the overall sustainability of MoveGreen’s operations.

From an entrepreneurial standpoint, I believe MoveGreen’s efforts may be part of a bigger picture. If MoveGreen’s efforts are successful, a domino effect could ensue among consumers and other businesses, encouraging innovation among other green businesses and, perhaps, inspiring change in the non-green moving industry.

These are my thoughts on the matter. What are yours?


▼▼▼      21 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • Dan Clark

    This month is the “Student Rush” in Gainesville as 50,000 University of Florida students move into off campus apartments and dorms. I see TONS of cardboard boxes overflowing out of dumpsters all over town. This service could significantly reduce waste.

    With the tough competition for apartment rentals, a complex could offer free MoveGreen boxes when you sign a lease. Great PR. Fantastic service for the resident. Positive step towards sustainability. Win, Win Win.

    MoveGreen– Move to Gainesville!

  • Kim Dalglish

    I love this! An innovative concept that allows those of us who are environmentally conscious to have an alternative to cardboard. I would definitely utilize their services and applaud them for taking this leap – they are on to something big! I wish them great success.

  • Bob Cannon

    Sarah, we would like to thank you for writing about our new business. We are set to open multiple locations within the next 3-5 months. Those locations will be in Palm Beach County, Broward County, Tampa and Atlanta, Georgia. We currently have interest from individuals that would like to open locations in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Volusia County. We will be launching our new concept as a national franchise in January. Hopefully, the residents of Florida and other states will embrace our new concept, by Ditching the Cardboard Box and Renting a SmartPack.

    We would like to take this opportunity to answer the questions that you have posed.

    1)Where do we get our SmartPacks?

    Our Large SmartPacks are manufactured in the United States and are made of 100% recycled and recyclable plastic. Our extra large SmartPacks, which make up about 10% of our inventory, are manufactured by the same U.S. Corporation at their Canadian Plant. These too are made of 100% recycled and recyclable plastic.

    2)How long to the SmartPacks last?

    We are unsure as to their actual longevity; however, based on our research each SmartPack should last for about 400 uses. That is 400 less cardboard boxes in our landfills for each SmartPack. When the SmartPacks are no longer useable, they are recycled into new SmartPacks.

    3)How do we transport our SmartPacks?

    Currently we use a box truck fueled by gasoline. Hopefully, if our concept is fully embraced it will enable us to achieve our goal of having all of our trucks powered by Bio-Diesel. So help us out America, Rent a SmartPack.

    In the end utilizing recycled and recyclable SmartPacks instead of Cardboard: Requires 39% less total Energy, Produces 95% less Solid Waste, and Generates 29% Less Greenhouse gas emissions

    For any additional questions please feel free to contact us.

    Bob Cannon
    Director of Public Relations
    MoveGreen
    Bob@myMoveGreen.com

    • http://www.wemovegreen.com Patrick Wilkinson

      Bob,
      I do commend you on what you are doing. It is good to see there are others out there doing the right thing, however i would like to point out you started this company using my companies name! Movegreen has been trademarked since its inception in late 2007 and we have been involved in interstate travel since mid 2008. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you will need to change your name when you decide to push your business into the franchise sector. I would love to talk to you about your idea and help you create a name that would better fit your idea.

      All the best,

      Patrick Wilkinson
      Movegreen
      http://www.wemovegreen.com
      805.845.6600

  • Jack

    Interesting business Bob. While your business is definitely reducing the cardboard being used, I’m wondering how much plastic is being used in manufacture of the boxes you are using. Are your boxes made 100% from recycled plastic or is there virgin plastic being used as well? I lead the logistics department at the company I work for in Seattle and we’ve bought plastic boxes for moves related to mergers. To comply with internal green policies, I’ve tried finding boxes made from recycled plastic but to no avail. The best I could find was plastic containers using a small percentage of recycled plastic (5% or less). I applaud you for your efforts but I am wondering if your solution is truly recycled. Thanks.

    -Jack

    • Bob Cannon

      Yes, Our SmartPacks are made of 100% recycled plastic. It was difficult to get this portion of our product right, but we felt that is was important for our endeavor. Thanks for your interest and please feel free to contact me with any further questions or concerns.

      Best regards, Bob

      • http://www.rentagreenbox.com spencer Brown

        Bob,

        Please verify that your smartpack is made from 100% recycled plastic!

        Thanks!

        Spencer

    • http://www.rentagreenbox.com spencer Brown

      jack- we invented and sell a 100% recycled box called the recopack. Check us out at http://www.rentagreenbox.com and let me know how we can help you go green!

      Thanks!

      Spencer Brown

  • http://www.rentagreenbox.com spencer brown

    Hi!

    My name is Spencer Brown and I’m the founder of Rentagreenbox and the inventor of the RECOPACK.

    I just read this posting and wanted to add some truth this discussion, as well as the hard facts about using plastic versus cardboard when you pack and move your home of office.

    I’m the creator/inventor of the zero waste packing and moving concept and started the concept 5 years ago in California under the name Earth Friendly Moving and Rentagreenbox.com.

    The main goal of my company has always been to change the way America packs and moves by using massive amounts of trash to reinvent a better moving box. We now have brought to market over 13 products that make moving cheaper, faster and easier to move without trashing the planet.

    #1- The Smartpack is a virgin based resin product and is a basic distribution box. This box can easily be bought from most warehouse distribution product companies. Even Uline.com now sells this type of virgin based resin box. E-crate and New Haven Moving equipment sell the same type of plastic box or rents them in large quantities. Can these plastic distribution boxes be recycled? Yes, they can be made into another plastic box or they can be recycled into another injected moudled product. This type of plastic recycling has been used for over 40 years and is as common as recycling aluminum cans. It’s just a plastic box made from oil based hydro carbons.

    Rather than buying a plastic box on the market, I invented the NANO technology to make my RECOPACKS that are made from 100% recycled plastic trash mined from local landfills ( bleach bottles and other hpde#2 low fractional melt resin). In 2008, I won the California Govenor’s Environmental Leadership Award for my new market technology in recycling ( please google “geela award” to learn more about the award.) You can also watch all of our videos that show us converting the trash into my famous green boxes called Recopacks (http://www.youtube.com/recopack). We created a better plastic from trash instead of just buying a limited life span plastic box. We also sell my RECOPACKS to most industries ( call us to go over our buy plans- ask for spencer brown and let’s see what we can do to help you help the environment).

    #2. The SmartPack will last about 70 uses and will fall apart / break/ crack or split as it’s not made to last longer than this life cycle- period. We have tested every box made in the western hemisphere and they don’t last longer than 70 uses because the companies that make these boxes would not be in business to sell another box. 70 is better than 1 or 2 cardbaoard uses, but still requires a fair amount of natural resources to make the box. We use trash and detox landfills and were at 400 uses per Recopack and 98% recaptured for another Recopack.

    #3. Is renting a greenbox better than cardboard- YES. Virgin or recycled, the main idea here is to extend the life of natural resources and to provide a better alternative to a traditional cardboard moving box.

    #4. We were featured on triplepundit in February wanted to share this article with the blog readers: http://www.triplepundit.com/2009/02/growing-a-green-business-with-a-box/

    Sincerely Green,

    Spencer Brown
    founder of rentagreenbox
    inventor of the recopack
    http://www.rentagreenbox.com

  • Nick Aster

    A couple points – Spencer, it’s great to see an alternative perspective to the various “cardboard replacements” here. I feel a little uncomfortable letting this forum turn into a battle of who’s better than who as both approaches have a lot of merit.

    We welcome civil discussion about product differences, but the subject of copyright infringement and the like really have no place here.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.rentagreenbox.com spencer Brown

      Hi Nick and Bob!

      After 5 years of building and developing this concept from my idea to change the way America packs and moves, as well as bringing 13 products to market made from 100% recycled trash- the issue for me is, what’s better for the environment? Using trash to make a better moving box or using oil to make generic plastic box?

      The other issue within this blog is that Bob is not being truthful about his SmartPack. It is not 100% recycled- period. It is a generic distribution box. The other issue is delivering it on a gas truck when bio fuel is easily available does nothing to help the environment.

      Either do it the right way or don’t do it at all!

      Spencer Brownn
      founder of http://www.rentagreenbox.com
      inventor of the recopack

      • Nick Aster

        Thanks Spencer, it doesn’t look to me like MoveGreen has claimed that their boxes are 100% recycled. It says 100% recycled and “recyclable”.

        I certainly agree that’s not perfect, but neither is anything else. Our mission here is to not expect perfection and to give praise where it’s due. Both your approaches are commendable and worthy. Thanks for letting us know your differences, but I’d really appreciate it if we didn’t let the forum get too nitpicky which is what this is starting to sound like. Thanks

  • Jack

    Spencer. I respect what you have created but to come into this forum putting down another company with noble efforts only to tout your own product is unprofessional. You have made a number of unsubstantiated claims in here and attempted to pass them off as truths. If this company in Florida can even save 70 cardboard boxes from being used and sent to the landfill then more power to them. Just because you think you make a better product doesn’t give you the right to say another should not exist. If you are truly concerned about the environment then I think you should be thrilled another company is entering this space. So what if they aren’t using NANO based material like you are. You’ve been in the game long enough to know that you have to start somewhere. I think this company in Florida has the right idea and they should be commended for their effort and the positive impact they will have, rather than chastised for each decision they make in their evolution as a business. I think you can agree that our world is an ecosystem in which all of us can survive successfully. Lets help each other.

  • http://www.zippgo.com Ash Sud

    Great article Sarah! Also glad to see Nick in here moderating the wrestling match! :)

    Wanted to add my company, ZippGo, as a green moving option for people living in the San Francisco Bay Area. We offer reusable moving boxes made from 100% recycled post consumer plastic that would have otherwise gone to the landfills. Each of our boxes can be used 500 times before they are recycled and turned into new moving boxes. Thus each of our boxes over the course of their life cycle save 500 cardboard boxes from being made. Using ZippGo for your move has a huge positive impact on our planet. The typical move uses over 100 lbs of cardboard which is discarded after just one use. We deliver our boxes to you using trucks powered by locally produced biodiesel.

    I came up with the idea of using reusable boxes as moving boxes by accident while I was running the award winning organic grocery home delivery company I founded. Read more about my store here.

    Ash Sud
    Founder of ZippGo
    http://www.ZippGo.com
    800-723-7017

  • K James

    Hi,
    Moving can cost quite a bit more than most people expect. The cost of moving supplies and boxes is very high when you buy them new or even used.

  • Debbie

    Hello,
    What about the sanitary aspects….different moving customers using the same boxes?? Just curious.

    • http://www.BungoBox.com/ Bob Cannon

      We clean every box between uses. They are sanatized with earth friendly cleaning products. Thanks for asking!

      By the way we have changed our name from MoveGreen (http://www.myMoveGreen.com) to BungoBox (http://www.BungoBox.com)

  • KeriMaude

    When moving, there is usually need of a lot of cardboard boxes and wrapping material that get's thrown away that. There are moving supplies depots that can rent wooden boxes that you can later return. This way, you don't have to throw anything away and get to move green.

  • KeriMaude

    When moving, there is usually need of a lot of cardboard boxes and wrapping material that get's thrown away that. There are moving supplies depots that can rent wooden boxes that you can later return. This way, you don't have to throw anything away and get to move green.

  • Elf Moving Boxes Palm Beach

    Elf Boxes offers plastic moving boxes rentals in south florida at http://www.elfboxes.com give us a call if you’re moving!