Tips to Move House Sustainably: 8 Ways of Making Your Move More Sustainable
By Nancy Zafrani, general manager of Oz Moving & Storage
Environmental conservation is a hot topic these days, and you need to consider your impact on the environment when making major life decisions. And while you can’t prevent all of your moves from harming the environment, you can at least make them more sustainable. Here are some ways you can do just that.
1. Use Environmentally Friendly Packing Materials
Moving can be a hectic business. It can become even tiring when you add packing materials like bubble wrap and moving blankets that you’ll need to protect your items properly. Just how big of a problem is this? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that around 173 million pounds of packing materials are sent to landfills in the US every year. As an alternative, try using biodegradable products or reuse blankets and moving paper to help reduce your environmental impact.
You can use alternative methods to protect your belongings, including bath towels, magazines, clothes, and even rubber bands when packing your belongings. You can use these items to protect your things in transit, wrap delicate utensils, and even make it easier to move things around when you get to your destination.
2. Use Green Reusable Bins and Boxes
If you haven’t already, think about investing in reusable packing containers instead of single-use wrapping paper and cardboard boxes. Utilizing these reusable containers can improve the sustainability of your move tenfold. When you use reusable boxes, you’re cutting down on waste and saving a lot of money. A typical moving container made of cardboard or fiberboard can easily cost over $100 if you buy it retail. If you can’t find a cheap alternative to these boxes, consider reusing the one your new home already comes in.
After the move, you can use these boxes to make a storage unit. You can even turn a few of these boxes into playhouses for your kids if you have a large family. There’s no reason to throw them away when they can have a second life as storage organizers or playhouses.
3. Plan Your Move Early
The earlier you start planning your move, the better. You can better know how many boxes you will need, the long-term storage needs, and where to store them. It is important to think about where you will store your belongings before packing.
Early planning also helps you find a certified and licensed mover to do business in your area. You also don’t want to rush around trying to figure all this out at the last minute. You will also devise a strategy to dispose of your old items.
4. Hire Reliable Movers Who Care About the Environment
It may be tempting to rush through the process and hire a moving company with a low quote. But it is important to remember that you usually only get one glimpse of their work and trust the price they quoted. After researching your area, hiring a reliable and experienced company is best. This can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.
Reliable movers who care about the environment will use environmentally friendly shipping materials and take the extra time to protect your belongings. This removes the burden of worrying about how your things are handled while in transit. For instance, Oz Moving & Storage offers environmentally friendly packing materials and transportation. They use minimal moving boxes and plastic, which results in less waste.
5. Donate or Sell As Much As You Can
One of the biggest things people forget to do when packing is to donate or sell as much of their stuff as possible. You don’t have to move with everything you own. You can downsize and be more environmentally friendly by donating your unwanted items instead of taking up precious space in a truck or storage unit.
It would be best if you also considered selling some unwanted items. You can use these funds towards purchasing living furnishings for your new home while also getting a head start on those moving expenses.
6. Check for Recycling Services
While packing, it can be difficult to sort through all the items you have and determine what can be recycled versus what should be thrown away. Before you start packing, it is best to check with your local recycling center for the information you need about how to recycle your things properly.
Some companies offer free pickup of a small number of recyclable materials to help you reduce the waste from your move. Recycling refers to dismantling a material, separating the parts, and reassembling it into a new or different product. For instance, you can recycle glass over and over again.
7. Pack Smarter and Less
Packing smarter and less can go a long way in reducing waste. Before you start your move, note the items you haven’t touched in a long time. You may want to evaluate whether you truly want these items or if they are worth taking up space in a truck or storage unit. You can always hold onto them and see if they are needed once you get to your new location.
Packing smart will ensure you maximize the space in your moving truck and reduce the weight being transported. This will help save you money on gas, reduce your carbon footprint, and free up more room in the moving van or storage unit.
8. Dispose of Chemicals in Eco-Friendly Ways
When moving to a new home, you may have leftover chemicals and paint. These chemicals contain hazardous materials, which may harm the environment during transport. You can reduce your environmental impact by disposing of these chemicals in eco-friendly ways.
Hazardous waste management companies will take care of this process, or you can dispose of your chemicals at designated recyclable disposal locations. For instance, waterwheel recycling will dispose of your unwanted chemicals for you.
You can also dispose of medications in eco-friendly ways. The EPA recommends disposing of medications in a medication take-back program, flushing them down the toilet in the first instance, and putting them in secure containers before throwing them away.
Key Takeaways to Move House Sustainably
Moving is always a challenge, whether locally or over long distances. But planning can make the process less stressful and ensure that your furniture, belongings, and information are handled properly.
Many tips here focus on minimizing waste and reusing items instead of disposing of them. Knowing what is recyclable and reusable can help you reduce waste. You should also use environmentally friendly packing materials to protect your items and conserve the environment.
About the Author
Nancy Zafrani is the general manager of Oz Moving & Storage. A day-one employee of Oz, she has 30 years of experience in the moving industry. As a lifetime New Yorker, Nancy also has lots of experience dealing with small apartments and organizing. Nancy has many interests. Her hobbies include painting, hiking, and baking.