Moving by its very nature is wasteful — we pack our stuff into cardboard boxes that we throw away after the move, we wrap our stuff in plastic bubble wrap, and we use big, smoke-belching trucks get our stuff to a new home.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some tips on making your next move more environmentally-friendly.
1. Sure, you might feel good about reusing boxes that a friend just used in their move, or salvaging an old box from behind the grocery store. However, these boxes could fall apart on you, wrecking your stuff. And you could do one better: Find companies that offer reusable packing crates.
These crates are generally plastic (I know, bad bad). However, they can be used multiple times, so they’re easier on Mother Earth. You can also find sturdy packing crates that are made of recycled plastic bottles. The company generally drops off the crates before you move, and picks them up when you’re done.
Look for them by doing a simple online search for reusable moving crates and also ask your movers whether they offer them. Even if they don’t, the more people ask them, the more likely they are to offer them.
2. Look for alternatives to bubble wrap. You can old newspapers for cushioning material in boxes (though don’t use them to wrap items, you could smudge them), or try old sheets or towels. Although these items weigh more and don’t offer as much cushioning as the lighter bubble wrap, anything you can do to cut back helps.
You don’t need to go overboard; for fragile items, use bubble wrap to provide the best protection.
3. If you like using Styrofoam peanuts as a packing material, you can also find these in biodegradable materials. Look for them in any office supplies store.
4. Look for moving companies that use environmentally-friendly products, like moving pads made of 100% recycled cotton, moving crate rentals, and bio-diesel trucks.
5. When cleaning up your old and new places, use environmentally-friendly cleaning products.
6. When you get all moved in, look to set up a green-friendly household. Register with the Direct Marketing Association to stop junk mail. Arrange your kitchen with canisters for recyclable materials, and make sure everyone knows where they are. And as you buy stuff for your new home, ask yourself whether you really need it.
If you are getting ready to move, check out what it will cost you by getting a free moving quote now.