5 Eco-Friendly Moving Tips
Moving to a new home can be exciting, but it can also be very stressful and have a negative environmental impact. When we’re moving, we often use disposable products like packing supplies and make multiple trips in a moving truck, increasing our carbon footprint. If you're striving for a green move, you're probably looking for ways you can reduce some of that waste. Readers interested in a greener transition into their new home should follow these easy tips on how to have a successful eco-friendly move.
- Sell or donate unwanted items: Moving is a great time to go through your home and get rid of anything you don’t need. This reduces the number of possessions you need to move and can help cut down on trips you have to take in a moving truck. Before you start packing, take inventory of each room. If you haven't used an item in years - or don't even know what it is - you probably don't need it. Once you have set aside the items that won't be making the trip, continue green living by holding a garage sale or donating them to charity instead of throwing them away.
- Look for eco-friendly moving boxes: The first step in making a packing plan is to take note of how many boxes and bags you already own that can help you with your move. Fit anything you can into your duffle bags, suitcases and storage bins. When you do gather boxes, go green and save money by obtaining used boxes. Since moving companies prefer new boxes because they offer added stability, that means there are plenty of cardboard boxes discarded each year after only one use. Stop cardboard boxes from ending up in a restaurant or retail store's dumpster by volunteering to take them for your move. You can also buy used cardboard boxes or locate them from other movers on freecycle.org. Don’t forget about larger boxes from your online orders. You can also avoid cardboard boxes altogether and support your green move by renting reusable packing crates instead.
- Avoid plastic packing materials: If your moving boxes are green, but the items inside are wrapped in bubble wrap, your green move isn't as efficient as it could be. Instead of using bubble wrap, opt for green packing materials like recycled newspaper. Some moving companies offer biodegradable packing peanuts. Green peanuts are made of 70 percent recycled material and are a better choice than pink or white peanuts. If you do have pink or white peanuts, as a consequence of a previous purchase, using them in your move provides an opportunity to recycle them instead of simply throwing them away. You can also use old towels or clothes, assuring that you're packing and protecting your items both at the same time. This is not to suggest that you wrap your dishes with your fancy dresses or work slacks; instead, use your t-shirts, pajamas, workout attire, bath towels and more. You already have to pack your clothes, so think of this as getting rid of two birds with one stone.
- Find environmentally-conscious truck rentals: Using a moving truck is often an inevitable source of waste, but you may be able to find moving companies that are conscientious of their environmental impact. Before you hire a moving company or rent a moving truck, research eco-friendly moving companies in your area. You may be surprised by your options. While you’re at it, make sure you get the right transport for the job. If all you’ll need is a trailer, find a friend with a truck. If you need to rent a moving truck, opt for the smaller, cheaper and more gas-efficient rental. When you have selected your rental truck or moving company, make sure the truck is packed efficiently to reduce the number of trips you have to make. This will both help the environment and save you gas money.
- Prepare meals beforehand: Preparing your own meals before you move will help to avoid expensive takeout food and its disposable containers, and save you time when you’re busy ferrying items back and forth. Prepare a few days’ worth of meals that can be refrigerated or frozen so that you can just pop them in the microwave when it’s time to eat.
- Recycle your packing materials after the move: If you want to ensure that your moving boxes can be reused or recycled after you are done with them, cardboard is your friend. Cardboard boxes are completely recyclable and they also provide stability and protection for your cherished belongings. If you are planning to hire professional movers, inquire about services they provide after the move is finished. Many professional moving companies will return to collect your cardboard boxes and packing materials afterwards. This ensures your materials will be recycled for use with another move instead of heading to a landfill. Otherwise, make sure to sell or give your boxes to someone else after you’re done.