Moving can be fun, scary, hard, exciting—usually, all of that at once. It can also wreak havoc on the environment. But it doesn’t have to. Approach your move with our sustainable moving tips and you’ll help reduce the carbon footprint of the move while also saving yourself some stress.
Sustainable Moving Tips from Professional Green Movers
1. Plan everything ahead of time
Moves and relocations require a great deal of time and coordination causing most people to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Like any big project, it all starts with planning and organizing — you need to plan the work and then work the plan.
Begin by creating a master list of things you need to do. Then break that list down week-by-week and day-by-day. The earlier you start this process the more time you will have to hire a green moving company, sell, donate, and recycle any items you’re not taking, and acquire sustainable moving supplies. Plus, you’ll be less stressed. Here is a great sample of a moving plan checklist.
2. Hire a Green Moving Company
Eco-friendly moving companies are cropping up all over the place, and many have a wide variety of policies designed to keep things green. From recycled moving materials to low-emissions vehicles, these companies make it a priority to take the environment into account during their moves. Here are four questions to ask that can help you select a sustainable mover:
- Do you use reusable boxes, bins, or containers?
- Do you use biodegradable packing materials?
- Do you do your best to take everything in one trip?
- What else does your company do to ensure you are moving sustainably?
If you’re doing the move on your own then inquire about a rental truck that uses an alternative bio-friendly fuel, such as natural gas or biodiesel fuel. If your move is long distance, then consider consolidated shipping or even sending shipments by train.
3. Host a garage sale—then donate the rest
There’s nothing like a move to kick decluttering into high gear. Sell or donate as much as you can and do it early on. After you’ve created your home inventory and decided on what you’re keeping and what you’re not, look through your “not keeping” pile and decide what can be sold, donated and what needs to be recycled. You can start by having a garage sale or posting on your local community Buy, Sell page. After you’ve sold everything, you can donate the rest.
Old shoes, clothing, purses and furniture are prime items to donate. From secondhand stores to non-profits and domestic abuse family shelters, you can rest easy knowing that someone will get good use out of the things you no longer need. And the best part is, you’re not filling the local landfill site with these unwanted items. We advocate donating rather than tossing unwanted furnishings and home goods as long as they’re still of use. There are organizations such as the Salvation Army and United War Veterans Council who will pick up for free.
4. Mind Your Recycling
When it comes to the Rs of being green: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, there’s a big reason why Recycle comes last. Recycling isn’t always very green, because it takes a lot of energy and other resources to recycle. But after you’ve sold, donated, and gifted there’s no way around it: you’ll probably still have some stuff that you need to get rid of. Look for responsible recycling options such as the EPA’s recycling site to find local e-waste programs and stores that offer electronics recycling, Carpet Cycle for carpets and Simple Recycling for textiles.
5. Wrap fragile items in clothes and linens
From the paper, bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts and cardboard, packing materials can result in piles of waste but by taking time to search your home and innovate, you can keep your items safe and keep trash down. Wrap fragile items in clothes and linens or consider other everyday household items that you can use such as newspaper rags and even egg cartons to protect your belongings.
6. Pack loose items in reusable bags and containers
You know all those extra reusable shopping bags you have laying around? Put them to work. Reusable bags, crates, containers such as tupperware, even those Stasher bags you have in your kitchen are all great options for packing loose items such as makeup, cords, etc.
7. Ask your local stores for leftover boxes
Depending on your location there may be the option of renting reusable boxes. City Moving Boxes, a provider of packing materials that offers same day delivery throughout New York City has both conventional cardboard as well as reusable boxes for rent free delivery and pickup included. But you can also head to your local grocery store or wine store and ask if they have leftover boxes you can have. The boxes egg cartoons are shipped in are often a great size for packing up dishes and other household items. You can also ask on your local community pages be it NextDoor or Facebook if anyone has any old moving boxes you can have.
8. Buy eco-friendly, biodegradable packing supplies
Sometimes there’s no way around it: You have to buy some packing supplies. When you do need to purchase materials look for sustainable alternatives such as cornstarch packing peanuts, newspaper, Eco-Friendly Bubble Wrap, EcoEnclose Corrugated Bubble and Greenwrap.