Joshua Green December 26, 2018 Moving Guides
You do care about the environment, don’t you?
In that case, has it ever crossed your mind that the home moving process can prove to be harmful to the environment?
It’s the exhaust gases that will be released while the household items are being transported to the new residence.
It’s all the unwanted things that may get discarded without being recycled properly.
It’s the hazardous materials found in each home that may be disposed of in a very eco-unfriendly way.
It’s all the packing supplies that may be just thrown into the garbage after the move without a single care in the world.
Luckily, it’s not too late for you to reduce your environmental footprint the next time you move house. That’s right, there are a number of proven things you can do to make your move more eco-friendly, and thus make a difference in the end.
Don’t just do things the old way. Instead, research your green moving options and act accordingly.
Read these 7 eco-friendly moving tips to find the best ways to move to a new home in a much greener manner.
1. Declutter your home the eco-friendly way
The thing is, you’ll have plenty of good green moving options before you from the very start – you only need to recognize those eco-friendly moving ideas and use them to your advantage.
When organizing a green move, your priority task should be to declutter your home first so that you can take with you ONLY the things that you like and the things that you will need and use in the foreseeable post-move future.
It’s pretty straightforward: the less stuff you pack and move (a smaller shipment), the smaller space you’ll need on the moving vehicle (a smaller truck and possibly fewer trips), which in turn will mean less fuel and less carbon emission during transport.
The best thing about being eco-conscious when moving is that, in addition to lowering your environmental impact with your move, you’ll be able to save money as well. It’s simple – the fewer items you’ll have to pack and move, the lower your packing and moving costs will be.
Help nature to help yourself.
However, you shouldn’t just dump your unwanted items in the garbage – doing so will only make things worse because your useless stuff will end up in the nearest landfill site. Instead, do the right thing and declutter your home in an eco-friendly manner.
How to declutter your home for a move
2. Sell, gift or donate lightly-used items
Now that you know why packing and moving only the most essential items will help reduce the harmful carbon emissions during the haul, let’s see what you can do to keep your unwanted but still usable items away from the local landfill.
Donate some of your unwanted items to do something good for your community.
GIFT to friends and family members some of the items you’ve decided not to take with you. Moving to a new home is the perfect opportunity to show generosity and consideration toward the people you love, and to prove that you still care about the environment.
DONATE some of the unwanted things when moving to make your next move a green one. There are many charitable organizations where you can donate furniture, appliances, electronics, clothes, books, children’s toys, food and so on. Some charities will even come and pick the unwanted items from your home at a pre-arranged day and hour. Show that you care about your community as well. (Where to Donate Used Items When Moving)
SELL the things you’re leaving behind but make sure they are still in excellent or good condition. Such items may have ceased to serve you well but they can still prove to be very useful for other people. You can choose to organize a profitable garage sale before the move or sell that stuff online. Either way, you’ll earn some fresh cash to boost that moving budget of yours.
3. Dispose of hazardous materials in an eco-friendly manner
Whether you realize it or not, some of the items that you will be moving may be harmful to the environment. And as such, those hazardous materials are not allowed to be moved between homes due to the high risks of fire, corrosion, explosion or other types of serious damage during transport.
Federal laws prohibit professional moving companies from transporting any flammable, corrosive or explosive items, and you shouldn’t try to move them too if you’re planning a self-move. Therefore, to show that you care about the environment and to make your next move a green one, you’re going to have to dispose of such dangerous goods, and do it properly.
Materials that can be harmful to the environment include acids, ammonia, gasoline, kerosene, motor oil, antifreeze, engine oil, dyes, pesticides, fertilizers, weed killers, paint, paint thinners, cleaning supplies, and even aerosol cans.
Follow the disposal instructions on the dangerous items you own to get rid of them without harming the environment in any way. Give away to neighbors and friends some of the items forbidden for transport, or contact the regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency to get advice on how to dispose of your hazardous materials in an eco-friendly way.
4. Use eco-friendly packing materials
When you’re organizing a house move, your greatest contribution to preserving the planet will be to use eco-friendly packing materials to pack and protect your prized possessions. All in all, you are strongly encouraged to use recyclable and biodegradable packing materials for all your packing needs.
Plastic bins (made from recycled plastic) can be re-used up to 400 times.
Cardboard boxes. You should definitely re-use old cardboard boxes instead of rushing to the store to purchase brand new ones. Keep in mind that standard cardboard containers can last between 4 and 7 uses before their life cycle ends and they are good only for one thing – recycling. Firstly, ask your friends and neighbors if they have cardboard boxes they won’t ever need again, and if they do, get them. Secondly, visit a few local stores and speak with their managers about getting free cardboard boxes. And thirdly, check websites such as Craigslist and Freecycle to look for free moving boxes in your area. (Where to Get Free Moving Boxes: Complete Checklist)
Plastic bins. Plastic bins are great eco-friendly alternatives to standard cardboard boxes. In general, plastic goods are bad for the environment, but this time it’ll be different. Why? Because you’ll want to purchase plastic storage bins that are made from recycled plastic. It’s important to note that purchasing or renting plastic containers for your move will be a good investment because 1) they can be re-used hundreds of times without sustaining any damage and 2) they provide an outstanding protection for your belongings.
GREEN bubble wrap and GREEN packing peanuts. Whenever possible, use the green alternative (up to 40% recycled content) to traditional bubble wrap. Also, if you plan on using packing peanuts when packing for a move, make sure they are the biodegradable type, made from vegetable oils and cornstarch.
When purchasing new cardboard boxes for your eco-friendly move, make sure you only buy boxes made from recycled cardboard.
5. Use packing supplies you already have in your home
One excellent way to organize an eco-friendly move – one that will also help you save a good amount of money in the process – is to use the packing materials you already have in your home but haven’t noticed until that moment. The idea is to get creative and use some of the things you plan to move anyway to protect the other items that you will be taking with you too.
Here are some examples of how NOT to pay money for packing supplies you don’t really need, including traditional non-degradable packing materials such as plastic wrap and packing peanuts.
As far as moving containers are concerned, make good use of
Buckets, baskets and laundry hampers. Good for holding clothes, bed sheets, pillows, bathroom items, toiletries, and so on.
Trash cans. When clean, garbage cans can hold all types of household items.
Suitcases. Naturally, suitcases are great for transporting clothes, but you should seriously consider packing books in them, especially if you have rolling suitcases with wheels on the bottom. Why? Books are extremely heavy when packed together.
Bags. Bags can be very versatile when it comes to holding household items when moving.
TRASH BAGS (clean) can be used for packing hanging clothes straight from the closet.
VACUUM SEAL BAGS can be used for packing bulky clothes and bedding such as jackets, winter coats, blankets, comforters, pillows and so on. ZIPLOC BAGS are great for keeping small (fastening) elements from getting lost during the move.
Jewelry boxes. For best results, keep your expensive and valuable jewelry pieces into your dedicated jewelry box and take it with you during the move – do not hand your valuables to movers.
Who knew that socks could be great eco-friendly packing materials…
When it comes to wrapping and cushioning materials, feel free to use
Blankets. Regular household blankets can be used as an alternative to the specialized furniture blankets that professional packers and movers use all the time. Blankets have great protective qualities and should be used to protect delicate furniture pieces and easily-breakable items.
Towels and bed sheets. Towels and bed sheets can be used instead of plastic bubble wrap for packing fragile and breakable household items. Also, they are great space fillers inside boxes when the contents need to be immobilized for safety reasons.
Socks. Thick winter socks can be used for protecting fragile glasses, especially the ones with stems (stemware).
Newsprint. Plain newspapers can be used instead of packing paper for filling the empty spaces inside the moving boxes. Newsprint is virtually free of charge (today’s newspapers are tomorrow’s packing paper) but you should not use it to pack things with delicate surfaces as the ink can leave bad stains and marks.
Remember: Using packing materials you already have in your home will help you save money without burdening the environment with extra packing waste.
6. Hire an environmentally-friendly moving company
When trying to organize a green move, one of the most significant things you can do to minimize your environmental impact is to hire a moving company that also cares about the environment. And it seems that more and more of the top moving companies in the country invest in and commit to eco-friendly practices and products for a better and cleaner world.
The best green moving companies in the industry
use bio-diesel for their green moving trucks (not necessarily green in color),
have a fleet of modern fuel-efficient moving vehicles that reduce the environmental impact,
use GPS devices in their moving trucks to plan the most direct and fuel-efficient route to the destination homes,
pack with eco-friendly packing materials – recycled cardboard boxes, recycled re-usable plastic bins, and biodegradable bubble wrap and biodegradable packing peanuts,
consolidate shipments, whenever possible, to save resources and offer better prices for their customers, and
buy back any unused packing materials from their customers or offer to recycle for free any excess supplies left after unpacking.
So, when you’re looking for green moving services, be brave enough to ask the moving companies you’re reviewing what specific measures they take to preserve the environment. If you’re not satisfied with the answers of one mover or if you don’t get a meaningful answer at all, then you should seriously consider hiring a more eco-conscious moving company.
In the long run, the constantly increasing demand for environmentally-friendly moving services will force more and more professional moving companies to re-evaluate their environmental policies.
Get your moving costs estimated – the very first step in finding the best eco-friendly moving companies in your city or town.
7. Go GREEN at your new home too
Our eco-friendly moving tips will end with the post-relocation period – here’s what you should do after moving into a new home to show your consideration toward the environment:
KEEP some of the packing materials for a future move after you’re done with unpacking. You can use the strongest cardboard boxes for your storage needs too;
GIVE AWAY the packing supplies that are still usable – do something good for your community and list your excess cardboard boxes and bubble wrap at Freecycle or Craigslist (the free section);
Make sure you recycle your unwanted cardboard when unpacking after the move.
RECYCLE properly all the packing supplies that nobody can possibly want or need anymore. Ask your eco-friendly moving company if they will be willing to recycle the leftover packing materials for you;
CLEAN your new home with eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Stay away from any toxic cleaning chemicals on the market and make your own eco-friendly cleaning supplies from white vinegar, baking soda, and water. A solution of white vinegar and water will help you clean your hardwood floors and bathroom, while baking soda will enable you to remove any dirt around the bathroom shower or kitchen sink;
HAVE experts come and assess the level of efficiency of the new place. Then, take the necessary steps to make your new house or apartment more energy-efficient;
INSTALL energy-efficient LED light fixtures throughout your new home;
UNPLUG appliances when they are not in use because many devices will still consume power in standby mode;
USE only non-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints for your home decoration and remodeling needs. Keep in mind that some VOCs are dangerous to human health and can cause harm to the environment as well.
Note that all the steps you take to have an eco-friendly move can also contribute to a more eco-friendly lifestyle after the move.
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