Between a flood of packing material and a mountain of boxes, there is no denying that a traditional move isn’t exactly a friend to the environment. If you have a move in your near future and have been making an effort to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, then this can be very frustrating. But who said your move has to be traditional? There are plenty of ways you can modernize your move to be more eco-friendly. Here are 8 simple tips to get your eco-friendly move off on the right foot.
1. Know Your Movers
If you’re going with a full-service move, Oz Moving suggests asking questions regarding the company’s eco-friendly practices. After all, a company that genuinely values the environment will have moving practices that reflect this. Here are a few questions you may want to ask.
- What kind of packing material do you use? Do they use reusable boxes? Recyclable material? Compostable box filler?
- What do your trucks run on? Biodiesel burns cleaner than diesel.
- Do the trucks have battery-operated lift gates? Otherwise, the liftgate will run on fuel and the truck has to run idle for it to operate.
- Do you offer consolidated moving? This type of moving saves on fuel emissions as it involves sharing a truck with someone else relocating. It isn’t for everyone, but if you don’t have a lot of stuff, it may be a good fit for you.
2. Use Less Gas
If you are moving a short distance, then multiple trips with your own vehicle may seem like the best moving method. However, this option will create more emissions since it uses more gas. You may want to look into renting a truck for this approach to get the job done in a load or two. Opt for a truck with biodiesel for the least environmental impact.
3. Get Creative
To start your search for boxes and packing material, look no further than your home. Suitcases, duffel bags, laundry baskets, and fabric bags are perfect for packing stuff. If you are looking for cushioning, you can use your clothing and linens—it’s like double packing since those things need to get packed anyway!
You may also want to dig through your recycling bin as egg cartons and newspapers are also superstars for cushioning boxes. Have some empty toilet paper rolls or paper towels rolls? Stack them in a box to separate cords. That way, you won’t get one massive tangle when you pull everything out in the new home.
4. Go Secondhand
Look for used boxes and packing material on online marketplaces. You can often score moving supply bundles cheap or free from people that have previously moved. Or, ask your local retailers if they have any boxes to spare. By using secondhand boxes, you can give them a renewed purpose, as well as save money—truly a win-win!
5. Opt for Reusable
There is also the option to nix cardboard boxes altogether and rent reusable boxes from Bungo Box, U-Haul, and other similar services. These sturdy plastic crates get hundreds of uses before they get recycled into new containers. Plus, they are initially made with recycled plastic. Another upside of these crates is that unlike cardboard boxes, they don’t get soggy. So if it rains on the day of your move, you don’t have to worry about your boxes falling apart.
You can also buy your own plastic totes, but this only an eco-friendly option if you were already going to purchase them for storage reasons. If this isn’t the case, then definitely skip this purchase and opt for renting.
6. Deal with Unwanted Items
While you’re packing or decluttering before your move, you may come across things you either don’t want, don’t need, or can’t bring. There are a few options when this happens.
Sell or Donate: This is a suitable method for anything in good condition that you simply don’t want or need.
Recycle: Drop off any broken or outdated electronics at an electronic recycling center or at a retailer that has a bin for this purpose. Have large appliances? Bring them to Best Buy. Even if you didn’t buy them there, they will recycle them for you. Finally, if you have any open cans of paint, many resource recovery centers like Habitat for Humanity will take them off your hands.
Dispose: When moving, you should leave any household hazardous waste behind. But don’t just toss it in the garbage. Instead, find where your city accepts hazardous waste and drop it off there. This may include items like chemical cleaners, aerosol cans, and batteries.
7. Upcycle Packing Material
Simply recycling moving boxes instead of tossing them will benefit the environment. However, cardboard holds a lot of potential for upcycling, especially for fun activities for both kids and adults. Building a box fort is always a classic. Or, you may want to get even more creative and string together a few guitars, make a giant coloring book, or turn one into a loom for weaving.
8. Consider Your New Home
Your moving journey doesn’t stop when the moving truck pulls away. And neither should your eco-friendly choices. There are a few things you can do from the get-go to ensure your new home is off to the best start possible.
Cleaning: When you’re giving your new home a scrub down before unpacking, consider what you use to tackle this task. Clothing that is too tattered to be mended can get cut up into rags. For cleaning solutions, go for more natural options like castile soap, vinegar, or a DIY surface cleaner.
Lights: Swap all bulbs in your new house to compact fluorescents (CFL). These bulbs require less energy and will operate for years before they burn out.
Plugs: Use power strips to turn off a group of electronics with the flick of a switch. Even when electronics are “off”, they’re still drawing power if they’re plugged in. A switched off power bar prevents this without the hassle of unplugging and re-plugging.
There are plenty of ways to tweak your move to make it more eco-friendly. Whether for your move that means cutting down on packing material or properly disposing of items you no longer need. Remember, no change is too insignificant to count—every little bit adds up and contributes to a healthier future for our planet!
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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