Over 40 million Americans move every year. Whether you are moving across town or across the country, here are tips to make your next move more eco-friendly. Choose the tips that fit your needs and budget. Making one or two changes can make a big difference!
Plan ahead — Sell, donate, or recycle items you don’t want.
If possible, start planning for your move weeks or months ahead of time. This extra time allows you to get rid of things you really don’t need. Clean out the garage and attic first. Dispose of household hazardous waste carefully. Have a yard sale or donate extra belongings to a charity. It takes less gas to transport only the things you actually use. Plus, you’ll have less clutter in your new home!
Start packing in containers you already have
You will likely have to buy or borrow some boxes, but you can save money and time by using the containers you already have. Suitcases, plastic totes, coolers, reusable shopping bags, and toy boxes are all great for moving. Use pillows, towels, blankets, clothing, and other soft items to cushion fragile items.
Search for used boxes
Buying boxes is expensive, but you can likely get them free around your community. Ask local businesses or neighbors if they have free boxes or look for used moving boxes on Nextdoor or Craigslist. UsedCardboardBoxes.com collects used boxes from businesses around the country and ships them to you. U-Haul also has a used moving box program.
Consider eco-friendly packing materials
Use newspaper instead of buying paper. Avoid the use of polystyrene foam packing peanuts, which are not easily recyclable and tend to get blown around as litter. If you need loose fill material, opt for cornstarch-based biodegradable packing peanuts or use shredded paper. You can make your own shredded paper by going through old files that you don’t need to move along with you. If you must purchase plastic bubble-wrap, look for recycled-content products.
Reuse or recycle your packing materials
Make sure to reuse or recycle cardboard boxes and paper packing material once you’re a done with them. Bubble wrap can be dropped off for recycling at grocery and home improvement stores where you take your plastic bags and films for recycling. (Visit Plastic Film Recycling for locations). Before recycling items, consider offering them at a low cost or for free on an online local marketplace like Nextdoor, Craigslist, or Freecycle. Reuse is always better than recycling.
Photo credit: Morsa Images | E+ | Getty Images