Just Ask: Eco-Friendly Packing Boxes and Nontoxic Rinse Aid

What's the most eco-friendly packing box? Can my drinking glasses be crystal clear without chemicals?

| January/February 2010

  • Find used moving boxes through Craigslist or try renting reusable crates.

Q: I’m moving soon, and a friend suggested buying cheap but durable plastic storage bins with lids as an alternative to traditional moving boxes (or whatever empty boxes I can find from local stores). The idea is appealing, especially for the stuff I typically keep stored in closets or my basement, because I wouldn’t have to unpack when I get to my new home. But I’m sure there has to be an alternative to plastic. What are my alternatives in the realm of lidded storage containers?
Jules, Omaha, Nebraska

Find out what Umbra has to say about eco-friendly packing boxes.

Q:While I am just pleased as pie to have a new superefficient dishwasher, I remain curious as to the chemical composition of the required rinse aid. This dishwasher dries dishes using a hot water rinse and stainless steel tub—it has no energy-sucking, plastic-
melting heating element. However, it will not run unless its rinse aid receptacle is filled. While I could probably trick it by filling the rinse aid reservoir with water, that would seem likely to promote unsightly spotting. I enjoy the energy efficiency and quietude of my dishwasher, but I am concerned that I may be slowly killing my family through hydrophobic rinse aid ingestion. What is this stuff, anyway?
Spotless But Concerned, Louisville, Colorado 

Find out what Umbra has to say about rinse aids. 



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