10 green moving tips you need to reduce waste

Last year, 27 million Americans moved. That many movements entail a lot of waste. Think of all the boxes, tape and bubble wrap needed to pack up and transport your whole life to somewhere new.

If you’re about to move house and struggling to find ways to do it in a sustainable way, here’s all the advice you’ll need. From packing up to securing a moving vehicle, this guide has it all.

Pack sustainably

1. Downsize before you move

Moving is often an opportunity for a fresh start. It can be tempting to put everything in boxes so you can hit the road. However, this means that you will spend a lot of time organizing your things once there and throwing away things that no longer work in your home.

However, downsizing before moving has many benefits, as does living more minimally. You have the opportunity to reflect on what still works for you and what would be better in the hands of a friend or neighbor. You can recycle or discard unusable items and donate gently used items to a local charity.
Downsizing your stuff also means a leaner, more organized move. You’ll use less gas, less energy and reduce your carbon footprint by only moving what’s needed.

It may take some extra time and effort, but you’ll be happy when you move into your new home with only what you love and really need.

sustainable and eco-friendly moving tips

2. Find cardboard boxes to reuse

The average move requires over 60 boxes, depending on the size of your current space and the amount of stuff you need to move. That’s why it’s so important to find a sustainable way to reuse and recycle standard cardboard boxes.

Traditional cardboard moving boxes are designed to be used for up to four moves. They’re easy to reuse but hard to store, so try to find a neighbor who has some they’d like to pass on to you. Craigslist and Nextdoor are two places to start your search.

You can also find free moving boxes on Craigslist. Once you’re done, pass them on to another mover. Most people will give away the boxes for free, so this is also a way to save some money on your move. Buying a pallet of new cardboard boxes from Home Depot or U-Haul can easily cost $200 or more, depending on the size of your home.

3. Recycle boxes after you move

Cardboard boxes can be recycled up to seven times. Don’t worry if your boxes can’t be reused. Just make sure to recycle them properly in your new town.

sustainable and eco-friendly moving tips

4. Rent reusable boxes or crates

Plastic crates can be reused up to 400 times, making them an eco-friendly option for local moves.

Usually made of sturdy plastic, reusable crates are a great option if you’re moving to a new address in the same city or just a few cities down the road. Most companies drop off the boxes at your current home and then pick them up once you’ve moved into your new place. Others require you to pick up and return the boxes to a specific location.

5. Use environmentally friendly packaging materials

If possible, use newspaper, kraft paper, clothing or blankets to stuff your items. Bubble wrap is not recyclable and does not biodegrade. You can also avoid renting moving blankets by using sheets, duvets, towels or other linens to pack your boxes.

6. Buy paper instead of plastic tape

In addition to avoiding plastic bubble wrap, also try to avoid plastic tape. Paper tape, including the glue, is generally biodegradable, so it’s a more earth-friendly choice.

Whatever tape you use, don’t worry too much about removing it from the boxes if you’re recycling them. Cardboard is soaked in water during the recycling process. This helps any band lift and float to the top of the mud, where it can be removed by machinery or removed by workers. As long as the box isn’t completely covered, tape won’t be a problem.

Move sustainably

7. Check your car before you leave

Be sure to prepare your car for your trip, even if you’re only moving an hour or two away. Fuel your tires for the best possible fuel economy. With all of these things weighing on your vehicle, maximizing your miles per gallon is crucial.

8. Use a durable moving vehicle

Most domestic moving companies now have sustainability initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint. U-Haul has upgraded its fleet with speed gauges that show how fast you’ll get the best fuel economy. Penske limits the maximum speed of its trucks for the same reason.

Check with your moving company to make sure you’re hiring the most fuel-efficient vehicle for your move. And be sure to research green moving companies if your move is local, as some companies offer biodiesel trucks and sustainable packing materials.

9. Look for local places for rest stops

Being on the road for several hours or several days means many stops to go to the bathroom or have a bite to eat. Plan your route in advance so you can find local businesses to support along the way.

10. Be a good neighbor in your new location

Finally, make sure you are a good citizen for your new community. You can do this by:

  • Research local politics

  • Register to vote when updating your driver’s license

  • Learn more about recycling and waste options in your area

  • Find a zero waste store or bulk store near you

  • Order or eat at local restaurants

  • Get involved in a local cause that is close to your heart

Remember that moving is a new beginning! This is the perfect time to get involved, make connections and support your new community.

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