Shopping at Costco, for Cardboard!

Earlier this week, I told you about the weed control efforts I’m working on. Today I wanted to share my secret source for cardboard: Costco!

When sheet mulching, any cardboard will do. In the last garden, we mulched with beer boxes salvaged from liquor store dumpsters and boxes scored off freecycle. But using random boxes like that is a pain in the ass, because you have to flatten them, pull off any tape or staples, and then seriously overlap because of all the flaps. The ideal cardboard is big, flat and has no tape, glue or fascinators. Even better if the box isn’t printed on or has text, in case the ink is toxic.

Enter, Costco! Every pallet ships with a flat square sheet of cardboard. In the soda section, there is a sheet between each layer of drinks. On a busy day, there are TONS of cardboard sheets unearthed by shoppers. Which is why we go to Costco every few weeks. Occasionally we’ll buy some beer, sugar or Alvarado St. bread, but my card is used almost exclusively for stocking up on cardboard.

cardboard on cart

The first thing we do is grab one of the big flat carts, like the ones crazy people or the restaurants use, then head to the back corner of the store where the bottled water and soda is. The staff totally doesn’t care if you pilfer the cardboard, but I always ask someone working in this section if I could grab some. And, since they know what I’m doing, they often drag sheets over to me and help.

cardboard on aisles

Wander around this section of the store and you’ll see cardboard everywhere. There are sheets stashed between pallets, and available up and down the aisle. You can move the last case of the juice and grab the cardboard from underneath. Conveniently, this section is also right next to the baler, which is where the staff drags all the sheets to. Check for some leaning against the wall, and grab those too. But don’t be greedy, and use common sense- the stuff IN the baler is off-limits.

cardboard near baler

If you hang out in this general region of the store, you can quickly stock up within a half hour or so. Pile it on your cart, grab the few shopping items you needed, and roll thought checkout. After loading it into the truck, tie it down so it doesn’t fly away or use a case of beer on top to weight it down. Bringing it home, and now your on your way to faster, easier sheet mulching!

cardboard in truck

So know you know the best source for cardboard! But don’t tell anyone, I want to keep it a secret!


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