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The Green Moving Movement: Q&A with Spencer Brown

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Green Moving

These days, it's easy to be green in many aspects of your everyday life. However, there's one industry that's a bit of a straggler when it comes to going green -- the moving biz. Yet the green moving movement is picking up momentum.

Obviously, it's tough to be easy on the environment when boxes and packing materials are essential and wind up accounting for the bulk of moving waste. However, there are solutions on the horizon for green moving.

We spoke with Spencer Brown, CEO -- and self-proclaimed Chief Treehugger -- at rentagreenbox.com for his perspective on green moving and how moving can evolve to become environmentally friendly.

Hi Spencer. What are the advantages of a green move?

Moving green is cheaper, faster, and easier than a traditional cardboard move. For consumers, it will cost them half as much. For movers, they save hours of expensive labor because they can pack, load and unload our Green Boxes faster. Our boxes are designed to be crush and tear proof, preventing breakage and damage. In most cases, they eliminate insurance liability claims for the mover.

Why should a consumer consider green moving?

Moving green makes sense -- you can save up to 50% of the cost of your move by using green boxes. Instead of wasting time building cardboard boxes that usually end up in the landfill after a few uses, you can order the exact amount for your move and when you're done there's no waste or added disposal costs. When your move is over, the boxes are removed, cleaned, sanitized, and then rented to the next client.

Other than renting green boxes, what are other ways consumers can do the green moving thing?

One of the best ways to green a move is to purge and donate household goods to a local charity. Instead of these products going into a landfill, their product life cycle can be extended. Another great way to go green on a move without doing much work is use old bedding and towels to wrap breakables. Old linens serve a double purpose -- they protect high value items and reduce the need for additional packing materials.

Why do we still rely on cardboard for so many moving tasks?

Americans have been using cardboard to move for the last 100 years without understanding the total economic and environmental impact. No one brought this issue to light until we started our company a decade ago.

At that time, movers made money selling boxes to consumers, and they were motivated to protect this huge profit and revenue stream. Movers laughed at us when we introduced a green moving box to the marketplace. When consumers saw that they had a cheaper, faster, and easier green choice, they supported our products. If consumers are given a choice, they will do the right thing and go green.

What will be the tipping point to get us away from cardboard?

We saw a massive exodus away from cardboard in 2011 when moving companies lined up to buy our packing and moving products. Supermarkets also started using our boxes to cycle their products between distribution centers, which eliminated piles of free cardboard boxes. Based on the increase in our product sales, we think cardboard is on the way out across America.

What are the environmental savings of using green boxes over cardboard?

The average move that uses 50 of our boxes can save 20 trees, 40 gallons of fuel, 150 gallons of drinkable water. More importantly, it removes over 150 pounds of hard to recycle plastic from the landfill and prevents cardboard and packing materials from entering landfills. When you think about all of the moves across America, just having 3% of the moves go green is a massive reduction in trash.

What will it take for the moving industry to adopt more green policies?

This one is easy. Consumers will continue to demand green and will vote with their pocket books every day and on every move. Every customer that buys our products becomes an unofficial eco agent and promotes our products to their friends and family.

At this point, it's a just a matter of time. We've been at this for 10 years and created, built, and led this moving industry green and we also know consumers are doing the right thing -- buying green and buying American.

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