Nancy Elliott and Lucy Lugo are looking to put some box makers out of business. They had a professional organizing business, which people often hired during big moves. “People were always asking us for boxes,” Elliot says. “It was disturbing to me how much new moving boxes cost, and just the waste.” So it made sense to reuse new boxes from one client and sell them to others at a reduced rate until the boxes wore out. Then the pair started to notice how many boxes retailers and restaurants throw out. “Lucy said, ‘I wonder if they would save boxes for us,’ and that’s how it started,” Elliott says. Now the life partners are co-owners of TreeHugger Boxes, a service that recycles boxes from businesses and repurposes them as moving boxes, which they sell at a price that undercuts new boxes.  Times Ten Cellars in Lakewood was one of the first businesses to start giving them boxes. Now they pick up from restaurants on Lower Greenville and in the West Village, vet clinics, real estate offices and dozens of other businesses in Dallas. The company delivers boxes and will pick them up once they’re unpacked. “We try to work our delivery and pick-up schedule around our other stops so that we’re minimizing our carbon footprint as well,” Elliot says. If customers bring their flattened boxes back to the company’s Ross Avenue storage within 60 days, TreeHugger Boxes buys them back for 15 cents on the dollar. Soon the couple hopes to lease a storefront, but they’re not in a rush to grow. The business, which started two years ago, is turning a profit, and so far, they have no debt. They always wanted to invest in a green business, and now they have their own. “It doesn’t make any sense to be cutting down trees and making pulp to make moving boxes,” Elliot says. “Our goal is to keep these boxes in use and out of the landfills as long as possible.”

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.