Moving houses is a stressful process. With the packing and cleaning to do in advance, all the time spent on your hands and knees scrubbing floors before you leave, and the sheer physical effort of carrying everything from one place to another. It’s also environmentally devastating.
According to some estimates, just moving can produce as many greenhouse gas emissions per year as an average person produces driving their car. Removalist services like Muval can help take some of the pressure off you when you’re moving house and give you some more time to get your life in order. If you want to spend this time making your move as eco-friendly as possible, there are a few methods you can use to minimize your environmental impact.
What is the current impact of a typical house move?
We will start by looking at how much energy is consumed during a typical house move, because understanding exactly how much is involved will help you to appreciate just how important it is that we all try to do what we can to create a more sustainable world.
A typical house move will produce about 4119 kg of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases. That’s the same as driving your car around 293 thousand kilometers or about 30 years’ worth of travel by car.
The most energy-intensive parts of a move are the packing (especially when it comes to putting boxes into storage) and transportation, accounting for around 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions involved in moving home. In fact, once you’re in your new house only about 20% of your total energy consumption will be devoted to heating or cooling your home.
Here are some tips to try and reduce your environmental impact when moving house:
Take only what you need
Pack as much as possible before you leave – this will save on both the energy expended carrying boxes from room to room and also time spent cleaning individual rooms after they’ve been vacated. You can cut down significantly on the amount of stuff you take with you by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do I need it? If not, can I sell it or give it away to someone who would use/appreciate it more than me?
- Can I replace this item instead of moving it? Even if that means buying a slightly different version, you’ll be reducing the amount of stuff to move.
- Can I borrow this from a friend or family member instead? Or rent it for a short period?
Reuse & Recycle
If you can, get rid of or recycle items that are broken. It’s hard not to hang onto something if it still has some life left in it but remember: every time we move home there is more waste. If you’re lucky, your new home will have a recycling bin – take advantage of it.
When packing, remember that smaller boxes mean less fuel consumption because it takes much less time to fill them. It’s not worth using an oversize box just to get a few extra bits in.
Reduce before you recycle – when moving house use any leftover supplies to protect the furniture or other belongings during transit. Try to use recycled paper or biodegradable materials for any packing. This can mean using bubble wrap, newspaper, or cardboard to pad out the spaces in between furniture – anything that means you don’t have to resort to buying more plastic packaging is a good idea!
Limit Your Fuel Consumption
Just because you’re moving home doesn’t mean you have to completely change your lifestyle! Try taking public transport or carpooling if it’s practical. If using petrol is unavoidable, consider walking or cycling where possible instead of driving.
In the end, there is no getting away from it: moving house has a high carbon footprint. But by taking these tips on board you can limit that impact considerably. After all – we humans have been doing this type of thing for centuries but in recent years we’ve become much better at understanding our impact on the planet.
So go confidently in the direction of your dreams knowing that you are no longer an environmental menace! You can move home without leaving a trail behind you – so enjoy it and do something good for this world we live in.