Cardboard boxes are six-sided saviours for those of us trying to move homes, store valuable items, or safely ship essential items to a second location. But, as we all know, buying new cardboard boxes can be a pricey procedure and not the most environmentally friendly approach.

Luckily for us, there are ways to find free cardboard boxes in the UK that can shelter both Mother Nature and our bank accounts from harm. So, let’s go exploring to see where you can uncover complimentary cardboard boxes within the UK.

12 Places to Find Free Cardboard Boxes in the UK

Friends & Family

The obvious first choice – ask your family and friends whether they have any leftover boxes you can use. You may know someone who has just moved house themselves, or they might have boxes lying around from deliveries. Remember to ask about other packing supplies while you’re at it – the cost of bubble wrap and tape does add up after a while!


The second place you should check is your nearest and dearest local supermarket or grocery store for free cardboard boxes used to store and transport their own products. They may have a surplus of containers they are only too happy to give away (especially if you’re a loyal customer of theirs).

Online Marketplaces 

Online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist have plenty of people sitting with cardboard boxes taking up their space that they would be thrilled to be rid of. Make sure you inspect these boxes before leaving with them, as they might have signs of wear and tear, leaving you with crushed boxes – and spirits.

Online Marketplaces

Websites like Freecycle are precisely what you’re looking for if your local neighbourhood is failing you. And using the site is free, just like those boxes.

Sign up on your local online Freecycle group and make a post that you’re on the hunt for free moving boxes, then relax and wait for the stars to align. With any luck, you’ll have someone contact you to arrange a collection (again, check the quality and condition of these boxes).

While you wait for someone to reply to your post directly, make sure you scroll around and see if anyone is posting about free boxes. 

Social Media 

You never know when that random acquaintance who likes and follows your posts on social media (but who you never really chat with) might just be a saviour in waiting, with a hoard of cardboard boxes on hand. Or your friends and followers may realise they know someone stashing a bunch of boxes they no longer need. If your inner circle of friends and followers doesn’t work out, try local Facebook Community Groups that cover your town/city’s comings and goings, and check if anyone on these groups has any boxes they’re willing to part with. 

Recycling Centres 

Some recycling centres may have free cardboard boxes that have been donated or left there for reuse. Check online or contact your local council to find a recycling centre near you.

Local Businesses

Check with local businesses such as liquor stores and restaurants for free cardboard boxes as well. They may have receptacles they no longer need and are perfectly happy to give away.

Discount Stores

It’s a good shout to ask any local discount shops, like Home Bargains and B&M, for free cardboard boxes. Just like grocery stores, they’ll usually receive their products in cardboard boxes, and they transport them in bulk too – which means those boxes could come in all shapes and sizes.

Printer Shops

Printer shops tend to have absolute reams of paper delivered daily – all packaged in considerably strong cardboard boxes. Chat to your nearest local shop and ask if you can have a few. They might even thank you for taking it off their hands!


Similar to the Print Shop above, bookshops can host a wealth of cardboard treasure, either as independent stores owned by one person or a franchise like Foyles. Both types need boxes to carry their boatload of books, and these will be strong enough to achieve all your packing goals.


From toddlers to teens, schools of all ages go through lots of paper and stationery supplies and need to transport plenty of food. Ring up your local educational institution and check if they have any sort of boxes you could use. 

Fast-food Restaurants 

Macciy D’s, The Colonel’s KFC, a cheeky Nando’s — they all stock their products in large, strong boxes, so ring up your nearest fast food places and ask. While you’re there, get yourself a milkshake and fries – you earned it after all this hard work and for the packing and unpacking to come!


If you need some extra space while you’re knee-deep in the chaos of packing, let Pink Hippo help you out. You can store your belongings with Pink Hippo while you search for your next home. And if none of the above comes through for you, we have high quality packaging materials on site for purchase. Call us at 0118 957 1573 (Reading) or 01372 386 916 (Leatherhead) for more information.