Has it ever occurred to you that moving house can have a negative impact on the environment?
This may be a bit hard to believe at first, but if you really think about it, you’ll realize that the relocation process is quite hard on the Earth. It’s not only the fuel used to transport your belongings from one place to another, but also the things you throw away when decluttering for your move and the packing materials you use just once and discard. It’s a huge waste of energy and resources!
But what choice do you have? After all, you do need to move and you can’t just teleport your items to your new home, right?
No, you can’t, but there are still a lot of things you can do to make your move more eco-friendly. In fact, some very small changes in the way you pack and transport your belongings can make a big difference for the environment. All you need to do is research your green moving options and make a conscious effort to use eco-friendly packing materials, create less waste, and reduce carbon emissions during transportation. If there’s a will, there’s a way, you know.
So, if you want to do your part in protecting the environment and making the world a greener place, you’ve come to the right place – the eco-friendly moving tips below will help you find simple and efficient green moving solutions for your forthcoming relocation.
Get rid of unwanted stuff in an eco-friendly way
Moving house is the perfect time to get rid of everything you don’t like and don’t need anymore – you will not only gain more free space in your new home, but will also save yourself plenty of time and effort (for packing all this unwanted stuff) and will keep more money in your pocket (you’ll spend less on packing supplies and will cut down your final moving costs as they’re based either on the total weight on your shipment (which will be smaller) or the time required for moving your items (which will be shorter)). What’s more, a smaller shipment will require a smaller moving vehicle (or fewer trips to your final destination), which means less carbon emission during transport.
So, ditching your unneeded stuff when packing for moving will actually help nature. Simply dumping your old belongings in the garbage (and therefore – your local landfill), however, will put extra strain on the environment. You need to find a more eco-conscious way to lighten your load:
- Sell items in good conditions (especially expensive ones) – you can organize a garage sale (one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, you know) or sell your items online to get rid of unwanted stuff and pocket some extra money for your move;
- Donate lightly used items to local charities or institutions where they will be put to good use;
- Give away some of your more sentimental but no longer needed possessions to family and friends;
- Post your unwanted items for giveaway on websites like Freecycle or Craigslist, so that they end up going to people who need them;
- Recycle everything that cannot be used anymore – broken electronics, worn out clothes, unneeded items made of glass, plastic, aluminum, paper, etc.;
- Use up your food supplies, cleaning supplies, and any other supplies you have stocked in your home prior to your move;
- Dispose of hazardous materials the right way – cleaning supplies, batteries, medicines, antifreeze, gasoline, motor oil and other flammable, toxic, or corrosive materials are very harmful to the environment and need extra precautions when being disposed of. You can find more information on how to safely get rid of hazardous materials on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
Use eco-friendly packing supplies
You will need dozens of cardboard boxes and huge amounts of packing tape, packing paper, packing peanuts, and bubble wrap when preparing your items for shipment. Can you imagine how many trees it takes to produce so much paper? How much plastic, Styrofoam and other non-degradable materials will end up in the landfills after your move?
You can save all those trees and prevent much harm to the environment by using green moving boxes and other eco-friendly packing materials for your move:
1) Reuse old boxes
A standard cardboard box can be used several times (up to ten, depending on its quality) before it needs to be recycled. So, instead of buying brand new moving boxes, make sure you look for old ones in good condition first:
- Ask friends, neighbors, and colleagues who have recently moved if they have unneeded packing supplies you can use;
- Go to local grocery stores, bookstores, and other retail stores and ask for empty boxes they can give you;
- Check websites like Freecycle and Craigslist where people offer packing supplies they no longer need;
- Try out companies like UsedCardboardBoxes.com that take boxes rejected from the manufacturers because of some minor flaws and offer them for use in the moving industry.
SEE ALSO: Where to get free moving boxes
2) Rent reusable plastic bins
Plastic bins offer a great way to reduce your environmental footprint when packing for moving – they are made of recycled plastic and can be used up to 400 times. What’s more, plastic bins make very practical packing containers – they provide excellent protection to your belongings and stack securely over each other, so that there’s no risk of crushing the items in the container below.
The best part is that you don’t need to buy them and have them cluttering your new home after the move – there are many companies that offer plastic bins for rent. They even drop the crates at your home and collect them after the move. It’s convenient, cheap, and eco-friendly.
3) Use biodegradable replacements to standard packing materials
For an even more eco-conscious move, you can use green alternatives to the traditional non-degradable packing materials packing (plastic bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, foam wrap and so on) – green wrap and green packing peanuts (ecological materials made from bioplastics – a form of plastic derived from renewable sources like corn starch and vegetable oils); natural rubber packing tapes that are both renewable and biodegradable; recyclable packing paper, etc.
You cannot find more eco-friendly moving boxes for your relocation than your suitcases, laundry hampers, crates and baskets, etc. – they can hold your clothes, books, kitchen items, kids’ items, pets’ items, and other odds and ends, they won’t cost you anything, and you will use them in your new home (so you won’t need to worry about how to dispose of packing materials after the move). You can also use blankets, bed sheets, towels and old clothes for wrapping and cushioning your belongings. This will allow you ensure the safety of your belongings without creating any moving waste.
Using green moving supplies is the first step in organizing an eco-friendly move. Next, you need to find a “green” way to take your belongings to your new home.
Ensure eco-friendly transportation
For a green relocation, you’re advised to:
- Hire an eco-friendly moving company. When shopping around for movers, take a look at their environmental policies as well. Once you have shortlisted three or four trustworthy moving companies that seem to meet all your relocation needs and requirements, do not forget to ask them what measures they take to protect the environment – if they have green moving trucks (moving vans that run on biodiesel fuel and have lower emissions of carbon dioxide), if they use recycled cardboard boxes and biodegradable packing materials, if they consolidate shipments to save resources, etc. – before making your final decision. Make sure your chosen movers are among the green moving companies that invest in eco-friendly practices and products and contribute to a cleaner world;
- Look for green transportation options (if you’ll be moving by yourself) – rent a moving truck that uses biodiesel fuel, maintain a constant speed to save fuel, make the fewest possible trips between your old home and your new one (rent a moving truck that is large enough to accommodate all your belongings, but keep in mind that the smaller the truck, the less CO2 it will emit), transport as many items as you can in your own car, etc.;
- Consolidate your shipment when moving long distance (have your belongings loaded on a large truck with other people’s items) to reduce the carbon footprint of your move.
Post-relocation green moving ideas
- Use your moving boxes as storage containers in your new home;
- Save strong and clean moving boxes, pieces of bubble wrap, and other packing materials that are still in good condition and offer them to other home movers in need;
- Recycle all packing materials that cannot be used anymore;
- Use eco-friendly cleaning supplies (natural products like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia) to ensure the pristine condition of your new property;
- Make your new home energy efficient and do whatever you can to create as little waste as possible.
This way, you will help preserve the environment and make the world a greener, cleaner place.