The road ends, but the journey continues...

Yes, we have no banana (boxes)

Just got back from an aggressive search for free packing boxes from a variety of grocery (and non-grocery) stores. Grabbed a few that were offered, but quite frankly the pickin’s are slim.
It’s time to ramp up the packing from passive to serious, while still maintaining a sense of functionality around the growing stacks of boxes in this 1000 square foot rental we currently call home.
I’ve been buying a few cardboard boxes here and there for ‘specials’ and then a few of those ubiquitous plastic bins for clothes and other items needing more protection during the moving process. But I’ll be darned if I’ll buy boxes for books, DVDs, CDs, office stuff, eating utensils or other such miscellany.
I’m no neophyte when it comes to packing and moving. In fact, my latest efforts were utilized over a period of two years of settling Dad’s estate and getting that house* ready to sell.
So, call me nonplussed when I learned banana boxes (my favorite freebie box of choice) are no longer available for use to the general public.
Say what? I mean, I had no problems getting them right up to the end of selling Ma & Dad’s house last year.
What’s the deal?
According to the customer service lady at Food Lion, all banana boxes are now returned to the banana distribution company for credit. Fine. Good idea. Better than tearing them down and sending them off to some non-existent recycling center (personal soap box…not for now).
But strange to encounter such forward thinking here** in a place where it is very difficult to recycle basic items like aluminum cans, glass, plastic and paper. Oh, we have a bin where we’re to place all recyclables in together for weekly curbside pick-up. But after several tries, our street here in FloTown doesn’t seem to have the clout of other neighborhoods around town.
Let’s just say, I’ve seen the regular garbage guys simply dump the recycle bin contents into the regular garbage truck…not just our carefully selected to-be-recycled items, but our neighbors’ bins as well.
Needless to say (yes, Camden Writers, I am using this phrase intentionally) I no longer fool with the extra effort involved with sorting and cleaning items for the recycle bin.
I mention this because it added to the nonplussed-ness I felt with the stellar actions of the Food Lion to deal with disposal/recycling of their banana boxes.
I know this is a sort of dorky blog post, but I think of it as a public service to my fellow future packers and movers. Alerting you to the fact that “Yes, we have no  banana boxes” and the need to scrounge out other freebie boxes.
Oh and yes, we are moving…been in the works for awhile – but that’s a story for another time, a ‘public service’ notification for another blog post!
*  in Lakewood, CO
** in Florence, SC


  1. Mariss Stevens

    Strength with the move .
    I was surprised to read that you have the same problem as we do when it comes to the actual recycling of recyclables. I think the root cause of the ecological crisis is packaging (banana boxes included!). If items were not packaged there would be so much less to throw away and pollute the Earth.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I can’t help but think that many simple solutions were in effect years ago, as a matter of course. Such as deposit on glass (only type of container available at the time) bottles of pop…those bottles were returned to the store when empty, we’d get our deposit back and the bottles would be reused for another round of ‘pop distribution’.

  2. Mary

    I recently read an article in the Sierra Club magazine about where my recycling doesn’t actually go…but they did think the system will be reworked and will be better in future. Sounds like a lot of our recycling in the past was sent to China, where they dumped much of it in the rivers and ocean! Ugh!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah…and then we get chided for not ‘doing our part’…I just hope the younger generation doesn’t loose heart and give up!

  3. Andy

    We had a similar ‘garbage men controversy’ over here a few years back, when someone followed their van and filmed them dumping the recycled rubbish into a general waste tip.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Rubbishgate…what a fantastic classy term you’ve just coined (because it actually sounds so upper crusty British)!

      • Andy

        Ha ha I’m definitely not upper crust

        • laura bruno lilly

          Me, neither!

  4. Ally Bean

    I didn’t know this. Banana boxes were the gold standard of free moving boxes back in the day. As for your recycling, or lack thereof, I’ve heard other people tell the same story of dutifully separating the trash only to see it all dumped in the same place. Frustrating and disheartening, isn’t it? Kind of a twist on the saying: no act of kindness goes unpunished.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah, I remember seeing a documentary once which showed huge freighters piled high with ‘recyclables’ just dumping them in the ocean for goodness’ sake! Don’t get me started!!!HA!

  5. Jennie Fitzkee

    Our school is relocating for a year while a major renovation takes place. We got a gazillion banana boxes for teachers to pack up their classrooms. Interesting! I like this post, Laura. How can the garbage collectors be so blaze about recycling?! Are you moving soon? Far away from where you now live? Hopefully it’s a downsize move. Best to you, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Soon is such a relative term for me…I’ll say sooner than later and leave it at that!HA! But, we’re moving closer to ‘home’ and it’s been a long time coming!
      Enjoy your summer, Jennie.

  6. Catherine de Seton

    what about trying the wine/beer retailer…for the cardboard boxes that wine etc is packed in. OK, they’ve not as big as the banana box – but still suitable….I think you have to get to know their delivery days so you can get them first…
    but how weird, that a store can now return the banana box for a credit!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Aha – another source I completely overlooked! Thanks a million, Catherine!

  7. Janis

    Oh, the joys of moving! We haven’t done it since 1994 and, as far as I am concerned, they will take me out of here feet first. I wasn’t aware of the benefits of banana boxes but I bet they were sturdy and had handles. Btw, many thanks for using “nonplussed” correctly 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Heh-heh: you noticed…!

  8. Jane Chesebrough

    Hmmm, “needless to say”, didn’t know that was a Canadian thing, thanks for the insight. I find stores are wanting us to pay for boxes now, one dollar each. Time for a grass roots movement? hope the move runs smoothly. Curious to hear when and where.

    • laura bruno lilly

      A dollar a box – geesh. I mean second hand use of retailers boxes for moving is the classic in recycling Ya know?
      You’ll be kept in the loop, not to worry!

  9. L. Marie

    Wow. I didn’t know you couldn’t get banana boxes at the grocery store anymore. I remember getting tons of box years ago when I moved. Praying for peace and strength for you as you pack, Laura!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, L.Marie! As it gets more crowded in-house I get more grumpy! But when I have a happy ending to look forward to, that melts my grumpiness!

  10. Roseanne

    Hi Laura! I certainly share your frustration. No one should buy boxes – period. Is there a Kinkos – copy type business nearby? Office Max or whatever they’re called now should have paper boxes. Schools will also be setting up supplies for next year and will have empty boxes from many different types/sizes of supplies. That’s all I’ve got as far as suggestions, but how annoying! ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      WOW great ideas, Roseanne. I’ll definitely scout out those new areas. Thanks.

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