We all need to play a role in reducing our environmental impact when we can, and it’s possible to make your move at least a little eco-friendlier! A lot of items are purchased and thrown away during the moving process. In fact, a staggering estimate of 900 million cardboard boxes and 8.4 million tons of junk are thrown out in the US each year as part of moving.
So if you’re looking for a way to be more sustainable or develop more eco-friendly habits, be sure to extend that mindset to your moving process. Here are our tips for eco-friendly moving:
Sell, gift, or donate before packing
Purging your stuff without sending it to the landfill is probably the most eco-friendly move you can make during your moving process. Do your best to sell, gift, or donate anything you have that you don’t need or have in excessive amounts, from clothes to sports equipment.
If you’re looking to donate your belongings, look into local donation drives, community centers, or charities and see what they’re looking for. Sometimes, accepted donations are specific items, such as stationary or toys for children, so check to see if the location where you’re donating will accept your items.
Selling is an excellent option to get rid of old stuff while also earning a bit of money, especially if you have larger pieces, such as sofas and tables that you don’t want to bring with you to your new home.
Avoid packing peanuts
Packing peanuts, wrapping paper, and bubble wrap are often used to help cushion your items, protecting them from scratches and any minor shocks during the move. However, these packing materials, especially packing peanuts, often end up in landfills where they don’t decompose, or take a lot of time to in the case of biodegradable ones.
Instead, make as much use of your clothes, clothes, and sheets as you can! If it’s soft, wrap it around your plates, silverware, or use it as cushioning in boxes with room.
There’s a lot of junk to be found around the home when you’re moving. An eco-friendly moving tip is to make sure as many of those items get recycled as possible, especially if they’re paper or plastic. Cleaning products also often have safe recycling and disposal instructions that you should follow.
If you have more hazardous waste, such as batteries or electronics, it’s best to drop them off at recycling facilities. When these items are thrown away, they often leak toxic chemicals into landfills that can impact local soil and even get into waterways.
And when you’re done with your move, don’t forget to recycle your moving supplies!
Ask for used moving materials
If you know someone who has recently moved, ask to see if they have any resources or materials you can take off their hands. It could be packing tape to extra cardboard boxes lying around, to wrapping paper/plastic that they have already purchased. This way, you save a little money by not having to buy all new moving materials and ultimately decrease your contribution to moving your waste.
Limit your trips
Try to do your move in one trip, or in as few trips as possible–especially if you have a long-distance move ahead of you! Multiple trips will use more gas and produce more emissions. Plus, it will save you a lot of time and money, so do your best to complete your move using fewer trips rather than more.
Planning ahead is an important step in making sure your move is more eco-friendly. For example, you will be able to plan how many trips will be required for your move, what you want to sell/donate or keep, and making sure that your new home is measured or has all the space you need so you end up having to throw out as little as possible towards the end of your move. Planning in general is an excellent moving practice and can help you avoid common moving mistakes.