Moving creates a lot of waste. From cardboard boxes to tape to the gas mileage of transporting things to your new home, there are many non-eco-friendly practices that are common in moving. You can take steps to make sure that your move is more environmentally conscious, and below are a few examples of what you can do.
Think About Location
When you’re thinking about your future home’s location, you’ll want to take into account more than just what your neighbors are going to be like. If you’re moving somewhere where you’ll have to drive everywhere, you’ll have to make sure that you’re within a reasonable distance to places like your job, a grocery store, or another place you go regularly, like a gym. If you have a loved one over 65, they may be part of the 52% of people in their age range that need long-term care services. If you know you’ll want to routinely go visit them, you should try to look for a place that allows you to do that without wasting a lot of gas. If your ideal location is near public transport, that’s the best possible option.
Reduce the Number of Cardboard Boxes You Use
When you’re moving, you may envision a large number of cardboard boxes will be what carries your things to your new home. However, you can easily swap out many of your cardboard boxes for reusable alternatives. You can use suitcases for heavier objects like books since the wheels make them easier to move. You can also use things like duffle bags, reusable shopping bags, and large plastic totes or bins for any other items you have. Try to pack as much as you can into these types of reusable bins before you start using disposable containers. You can also ask friends and family if they have anything you can borrow to pack your things into — you never know who secretly has a stash of 20 plastic totes in their basement.
Or Use Recycled Boxes
If you run out of reusable packing containers, you can still use cardboard boxes. However, try to avoid buying boxes for your move. Instead, you can save up any boxes you get from packages or go to your local grocery store to ask if they have any. Many times grocery stores have a large stock of boxes that they receive their inventory in, and you’ll be delaying the recycling of the boxes by using them to move. Reusing is preferable to recycling since it means the object is being used in generally its original form, so this is a more eco-friendly option than just buying boxes. Plus it’s much more cost-effective.
Recycle or Donate What You Don’t Want
When you’re moving, you’ll likely come across a lot of things you were storing that you no longer need. If you’re part of the 40% to 50% of marriages that end in divorce and that’s why you’re moving, you’re probably going to have even more things you want to get rid of. However, instead of throwing things out, look for places to donate or resell them instead. Look for thrift stores or donation drop boxes that match your values and accept what you want to get rid of, and then drop all of your items there. You’re giving your things a chance to be reused and recycled now that you no longer have use for them.
Don’t Buy New Packing Materials
When you’re packing up your boxes, you may be tempted to buy bubble wrap at your local home improvement store to ensure that your items remain unbroken during the move. However, there are definitely more eco-friendly alternatives to buying plastic bubble wrap. First, you can use recycled paper from newspapers, magazines, and scrap paper to pad your boxes. Though this is still disposable, you’ll be reusing it, which makes it more eco-friendly.
You can also use non-disposable options to pack up your breakable items. You can use clothing like cotton t-shirts, sweatpants, and socks to wrap up your breakable items so that they have a cushioned ride t to your new home. Household linens like towels and sheets can also be used as a great way to pad your items without having to use disposable materials. As an added bonus for using these materials to pack your breakable belongings, you now don’t have to pack them somewhere else.
Limit Trips Back and Forth
If you’re moving things yourself, make sure that every trip you take is with your car or moving track packed completely to capacity. This will help reduce the number of trips you take between your old and new homes, therefore reducing the amount of gas that you’re using. If you hire a moving company to help you with the move, you should talk to them about the possibility of reducing the number of trips they’re taking as well.
After You Arrive
Once you’ve moved into your new place, you should make sure that you immediately take some eco-friendly measures. If you have the storage room, keep any reusable packing materials that you used. You can lend these out to friends or family or even go back to using them in your usual life, like for duffel bags or suitcases. The average 30-year-old person has already moved six times in their life, so you may want to hold onto your materials for any future move that you have.
If you used cardboard boxes or padded boxes with newspapers, make sure that you properly recycle your packing materials. Other things you can do once you move in include not using paint with VOCs in it, putting in LED lights to replace non-LED ones, and every upgrading to Energy Star rated appliances and windows.
Traditionally, moving isn’t the most eco-friendly activity. However, if you put effort into making your move more environmentally conscious, you can make a big difference. Try to use as many reusable materials as you can, and use recycled materials any time that reusable ones aren’t available.
How do you make moving more eco-friendly? Let us know in the comments!