Most people don’t think about the environment when they’re moving. Maybe you’re moving into a place with solar power and more efficient plumbing, and that will do wonders to reduce your carbon footprint in the future. The issue is often that the act of moving itself does a great deal of damage to the environment. A lot of waste is generated, and a lot of fuel is burned up in the process. The best way to reduce your impact on the environment starts with changing the way you move.
Using Boxes You Don’t Have to Use
If you find yourself packing your reusable grocery bags into a box, you’re doing something wrong. Every bag and bin you have can be used in place of a cardboard box. When you bring it to your new home, unpack your stuff from your reusable containers, and all is right again.
Some moving companies offer reusable plastic bins on wheels that can serve as the perfect substitute for boxes. If you’re using a moving company, ask them if they have any alternatives available to you. If you aren’t using a company, you might still be able to rent these containers from movers. They’re large and sturdy. They can be used hundreds of times, saving countless cardboard boxes.
Generating Waste From Packing Materials
Wrapping your valuables in things like clothing saves money, waste, and packing space. If your glasses and your t-shirts are in the same container, that’s one less container you’ll need to use. Everything will still arrive at your new home safely. Things like blankets and towels can be used to add shock protection to boxes full of things you don’t want bouncing around.
If you absolutely must purchase packing materials, make sure you’re choosing eco friendly alternatives. It’s easy to spot biodegradable packing materials because they’re usually colored green. They’re made of plant fibers, and they won’t sit in a landfill for too long before they’ve broken down.
Trying to Recycle Things That Can’t Be Recycled
Recycling everything seems like the best plan, but dumping materials that cannot be recycled at a recycling facility only causes logistical nightmares. They’ll have to get rid of it, and two trips will have been made for nothing. Lightbulbs, anything with a CRT tube, crystal, mirrors, heat resistant dinnerware (like Pyrex glass), ceramics, or glass that’s become dirty (from food or actual dirt) can’t be recycled.
The things that can’t be recycled might be able to be donated if they’re in great condition. If they’re not in great condition (such as broken televisions with CRT tubes, cracked mirrors or damaged dinnerware), they need to go to an actual waste facility. Make sure these are included with the non-recyclable things that cannot be donated, and set them aside for when you call a removal service to pick them up.
Making Tons of Trips
Most people think it’s a good idea to save money by renting a smaller moving truck. If everything doesn’t fit, you can always make a few more trips. When you do that, you’re putting tons of fuel pollution into the environment – especially if you’re moving far away. Before you even rent your truck, do a dry run. See how big or small of a space all of your stuff can fit into.
If possible, get a truck that, when packed tightly, can accommodate everything in one load. If you have a little too much for one trip, think about what will fit into the cars you’re taking with you. Not only is moving in a single trip better for the environment, but it’s also less work for you. There isn’t any back and forth if you’re only going one way. You can unpack and settle in sooner.
If you do wind up using things like cardboard, make sure you recycle it once you’ve arrived. It’s not always easy to do a perfectly green move, so make sure you’re offsetting some of the less eco-friendly choices you’ve made with positive ones once the move is over.
Elizabeth Lee is a staunch supporter of green living and sustainability, currently residing and working in Sydney, Australia. Writing for a transportation company PACK & SEND, Elizabeth often shares her suggestions on how both businesses and individuals can work and live with lesser negative impact on our planet. Feel free to follow Elizabeth on @LelizabethLee86.