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Moving Made Cheaper and Greener

Spencer Brown takes the bite out of moving--the cost and the waste.

This story appears in the March 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Spencer Brown was horrified when he moved his office five years ago. "I spent $800 on boxes and packing materials," he says. "And once I moved, most of those boxes had to be thrown out." He tried to give them away, but many were unusable. He tried to recycle them, but the place near his home wouldn't accept them. "I ended up driving to a landfill, and when I got there, I saw 40-foot-high piles of cardboard and thought, 'Oh my God, I'm not alone.'"

As a product designer, Brown, 41, had the skills to come up with a solution. "At the landfill, I also saw plastic bottles like those used to hold dishwashing liquid, and I thought, 'Why don't I take this plastic trash and turn it into moving boxes?'" Nine months later, he launched Rent A Green . He used blue, yellow, white and clear bottles to create reusable plastic boxes and started charging customers $1 per box, per week to rent them. He's since expanded his business to include boxes of various sizes, as well as a service that helps customers determine their box needs when they move.

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