Plastic vs. Cardboard: Which Should You Utilize during Your Move?

Plastic totes have become increasingly popular for home storage. They are easy to stack, you can see what’s in them at a glance, and they keep out bugs and rodents. Now, people are starting to use these totes to pack their belongings during a move, replacing the traditional cardboard boxes.

You may have seen this trend and wondered whether you should use plastic totes for your move, as well. A lot of Phoenix moving companies have adhered to this trend as well, making them more environmentally friendly. Here are a few things to consider to help you decide: 


Typically, you can only buy plastic totes in a few sizes. If you need a larger container for something like a TV or a sculpture, you aren’t likely to find the right size or shape in a plastic tote. However, cardboard boxes come in every size and shape, so you can find the perfect container for anything you need to pack for your move. 

If you have a lot of items that can fit into basic plastic tote sizes, you might be fine to use the plastic for your move. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy cardboard.


You might think that plastic will be much more durable than cardboard. After all, plastic doesn’t decompose. It can last for thousands of years, while cardboard will break down in just a few months if you leave it outside. However, plastic storage bins are not as sturdy as you might think. They can easily crack when they are filled with goods and stacked on top of one another. They also slip when stacked, which increases the likelihood that they will fall over in transit. 

Cardboard boxes are made with layers of cardboard for extra support, and they are not likely to crush under the weight of your goods. Cardboard boxes also stack easily without much risk of falling. They are the most widely used by nearly all Phoenix movers.


Price is a big concern during a move. You will be spending a lot of money, and you will want to find ways to save wherever you can.

Purchasing new cardboard boxes will always be cheaper than purchasing plastic totes. You can buy the boxes for a dollar or two each (more for larger boxes), while the same size plastic totes will cost $5 each, at a minimum. Multiply that by the number of containers you will need, and you’ll quickly see that you’ll be spending a lot more money by using plastic totes. 

Space during the Move

Phoenix AZ movers are used to working with cardboard boxes. They are the traditional choice, and they fit quite easily in the truck. Plastic totes are a relatively new choice, and they tend to be bulkier and take up more space in the truck. That’s because they aren’t totally square, and they have angled sides that limit how much you can store inside or how close you can stack them to each other. They also have bulky lids that take up extra space.

The size of the totes isn’t just a matter of inconvenience. By taking up more space in the moving truck, they also cost you more money. Your moving company will determine the cost of your move based on the size of the truck needed and the time it takes to move the items. Using plastic totes will almost certainly increase your moving costs. 

Later Use

You can easily reuse both cardboard boxes and plastic totes for storage long after your move. For example, you may want to put your holiday decorations away in the attic until you need to use them. Frequently, people store their cardboard boxes so they can use them for their next move and avoid having to purchase new ones from their local Phoenix movers.

You can keep them in their boxes or totes until then. Boxes can easily be broken down and stored flat if you are not currently using them but want to save them for later use. However, plastic totes will have to be stacked, and they will take up quite a lot of space.

Environmental Impact

As mentioned, cardboard boxes can break down quickly and easily. They are made of organic materials – trees – so when they break down, they put nutrients back into the ground. However, plastic does not break down for a very long time, and when it does, it releases chemicals and other harmful materials into the soil and water.

If you want to make a more environmentally friendly choice for your move, you’ll ditch the plastic and stick with cardboard boxes. The choices you make for your move can have a big impact on your budget, the ease of your move, and even your local environment – right down to your smallest choices, such as what material to use to pack your goods. You should make the choice that’s right for you, but as far as we’re concerned, the right choice is what has worked for so many for so long: Cardboard boxes. You can buy boxes from your mover and even pay your mover to pack your goods for you. 

In Arizona, A to Z Valleywide Movers offers full moving services, including packing and unpacking your goods, moving your items, and short- or long-term storage of your items. We offer local and long-distance moves for homes or businesses, and all of our movers are experienced and insured. You can hire us to lighten your load, and you can rest easy knowing that your belongings are in the hands of trusted professionals. Call us today to schedule a free estimate for your move in Gilbert or the surrounding area. 

Published By:
A to Z Valleywide Movers – Michael Rodriguez
2316 E. Rawhide St.Gilbert,
AZ 85296
Office: 602-422-6409