Moving Day the Sustainable Way

Getting ready for a move is never easy. It’s an incredibly busy time, chalk full of preparation and coordination, that nearly everyone has to face at some point in their lives. With so many balls in the air, it’s understandable that for so many, social responsibility and minimizing our carbon footprint is the last thing on our minds. But with nearly 40 million people relocating in the US each year, it means that our collective actions have a big environmental impact.


By design, moving is not an eco-friendly endeavor. Vehicle emissions, excessive waste production, and the cleaning associated with transition can all add up to a big blow for the planet. But in this age of increasing environmental awareness, it’s important to ask ourselves what we can do to minimise our individual impact.


Fortunately, with a little foresight, it is actually quite simple to reduce your carbon footprint. The key to moving sustainably is planning ahead. As the saying goes, “wherever there is haste, there is waste”. Advanced consideration allows for a slower and more thoughtful approach. Moving offers us a fresh start, a chance to be more mindful. Begin this new chapter on the right foot, by making your move not only efficient and logical, but also sustainable.


Here are some tips that can take some of the burden off of the environment and make your upcoming relocation as eco-friendly as possible:


Declutter, Donate, and Sell (And do it early on)

Consider a reassessment of your things—those jeans you haven’t worn, the extra linens, the collection of mismatched glasses, the unused construction material in the garage—and find ways to donate or sell the excess. Declutter before you even start thinking about packing. Getting rid of things you don’t need, means fewer boxes, fewer packaging materials, and fewer trips. (And we’re all familiar with that one rogue box of leftover junk, sitting unopened in the corner, post-move, that we don’t want to deal with). Remember, decluttering is not a case of throwing everything in the bin that you no longer need. For tips on decluttering sustainably, click here.


Hire an eco-friendly moving company

One of the best ways to make less of an environmental impact with your move is to hire a moving company committed to eco-friendly practices. Renting a truck, rather than using a car to make multiple trips not only cuts down on time, but also emissions. Look for a company that uses Biodiesel trucks, if possible. These companyies often provide eco-friendly packing materials and help organizing as well.


Pack in Reusable Containers First

It’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to move without purchasing some boxes for your move, but you can cut down a great deal by beginning the packing process with containers you already have.

These include:

  • Plastic bins

  • Wicker Baskets

  • Suitcases & duffel bags

  • Dresser drawers

  • Reusable grocery totes

  • Laundry baskets

Save your delivery boxes and source the others locally

Cardboard boxes are another environmental factor to consider when it comes to moving. Most moving companies supply new boxes for purchase. You can also buy them yourself online. Even though cardboard is easily recyclable, a better option is sourcing them used. Online shopping isn’t the most environmentally conscious way to stock up on our essentials, but it’s pretty standard these days. Save those delivery boxes. Ask local businesses. Call friends, family members, or post on your social media network. When you’re done unpacking (congratulations!), pass your boxes on to someone else who’s moving, or put them out for recycling.


Get creative with packing materials

Unlike cardboard boxes, other packing materials that you use to wrap up your items – are not so easily recycled. In the end, a lot of materials end up in the trash, creating ecessive. Use your clothes, towels, sheets, pillows, cushions, and linens to protect fragile items. (Wrapping ceramic, glass, and breakables in clothes or linens is the perfect replacement for bubble wrap.) There are also many sustainable alternatives to traditional packaging supplies. Before you buy standard supplies, look into eco-friendly alternatives. For instance, Greenwrap is made to work just like bubble wrap, but it’s biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable. Go to Uhaul to learn more about their reusable boxes, biodegradable packing peanuts, recycled furniture backs, etc.


For more ideas on greening your environment, see our other posts:


Angela Boltz


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