Let’s face it: moving isn’t the most “eco-friendly” job.
You want to protect your stuff from breaking, ripping, or getting stained, but you hate the thought of throwing out all the boxes, styrofoam peanuts, and bubble wrap that such a safe move requires.
What you need are some green moving tips that will keep your stuff safe without harming the earth.
Why Should I Move “Greener”?
When faced with an upcoming move, most people want to get the job done as quickly and easily as possible. This usually means buying a lot of boxes (U-Haul estimates that an average 3-4 bedroom house will need more than 100 of them), packing peanuts, and bubble wrap…then throwing them away at the end of your move.
Some of this trash ends up in the ocean, where marine life mistakes it for food or gets tangled in it. Some of it ends up in landfills, where it releases harmful toxins into the soil and, eventually, the ground water. Some of it is recycled, but this can only occur a certain number of times before the item is eventually thrown away.
Implementing some green moving tips into your next relocation can help break this harmful cycle.
It’s a simple idea, but a powerful one: the less you consume, the less waste there is. So begin your move by getting rid of things you no longer need and selling, donating, or recycling them. Having fewer boxes in the truck means less fuel consumed and finding appropriate homes for your unwanted items keeps them out of the landfill.
Next, hire a moving company! Using a bigger truck means fewer cars/trips getting things into the new place. If you’re concerned about your movers’ practices, ask if they would be willing to implement certain eco-friendly packing measures, like wrapping furniture with reusable blankets rather than disposable plastic wrap.
And while we’re on the subject, don’t use harmful packing materials—things like bubble wrap and packing peanuts—if you don’t have to. There are better ways; for instance…
Repurpose soft items you already have (towels, clothes, etc.) as packing material. (It’s like packing two boxes in one!) And rather than buying disposable cardboard boxes, use what you already have. Laundry baskets, suitcases, and other containers can do double-duty as moving boxes. Just be careful when packing and/or stacking them and talk to your movers about how best to arrange them on the truck. They may prefer that certain receptacles stay in your personal vehicle.
One thing that you shouldn’t reuse is newspaper. While blank newsprint has been a popular packing material for years, newspaper ink can rub off onto your favorite lampshades, so stay away from the Sunday Times.
So what happens when you run out of suitcases but don’t want to resort to using cardboard boxes? Answer: reusable bins. Renting durable, reusable bins protect your valuables as well as the environment. Reusable moving bins are often cheaper than using cardboard; plus, the company arranges their delivery and pickup, so you don’t have to run to a single store or even take them to the recycling center.
You’ve reduced your demand for traditional packing materials and reused everything you could; recycle everything else.
If you’re going with cardboard boxes, check Craigslist for gently used moving supplies or ask local retail stores for any boxes they’ve unpacked. You can find sturdy boxes at low (or no) cost that would otherwise be thrown away, just make sure that you check the boxes thoroughly first. If they’ve already made it cross-country in a delivery truck, they may be too weak to withstand another move.
Once you’ve finished with your move, don’t throw everything away! Send newsprint and damaged boxes to be recycled, but gather up everything else (don’t let your kids pop the bubble wrap!) and post it on Craigslist, NextDoor, or another site for the next person to use.
With just a few green moving tips, your move can be eco-friendly, safe, and affordable. Our moving crews would love to help with your upcoming relocation, no matter what city or state you’re moving to. Give us a call for a free quote or visit our instant quote generator.