In 2016, the number of Americans who moved at some point during the year fell to an all-time low. However, over 11% of people still moved, which means a whopping 36+ million people packed their things and relocated, whether just down the street or all the way across the country. All that moving takes a toll on the environment, from waste generated to fuel used and more. With that in mind, here are some ways you can do your part to keep your next move as eco-friendly as possible.
Donate items you don’t need
Only bring what you need with you. You’ll ultimately pay less for moving expenses, and you’ll make your old items available for reuse. Take any unwanted televisions, computers, phones, and any other electronics or appliances you don’t need to a local secondhand store or recycling center. You can also donate or sell your old clothes. Moving is an excellent opportunity to recycle your unneeded items as well as clear out your clutter for a fresh start.
Rethink your moving boxes
Now’s the time to think outside the box. Look for containers other than disposable cardboard boxes to transport things in, such as plastic bins and suitcases. Use pillows, towels, to cushion and protect your breakables. You can reuse all these items once you arrive at your new home and unpack, and you’ll generate far less waste. Also, some movers offer reusable plastic crates for rent, so ask about this as a green alternative to boxes.
If you still need some cardboard boxes, try to avoid buying them new. You can often find used boxes at grocery stores, liquor stores, or local markets. You can also ask your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family members if they have any old boxes leftover from their last move. Finally, whether you can find used boxes, or you must buy new ones, make sure to pass them on to someone else when you’re done with them to get the most life out of them possible before tossing them out.
Choose green packing materials
As mentioned above, you can use cloth and reusable materials to protect your valuables. However, if you need to use traditional packing materials, be sure to choose eco-friendly options. Instead of plastic packaging materials and foam wraps, look for biodegradable alternatives. You can even find biodegradable tape with which to seal your boxes. After you move, be sure to recycle these materials. The biodegradable corn-based packing peanuts dissolve in water. You might also be able to locate a program that allows you to ship your used packing materials for them to recycle or reuse.
Finally, whether you’re cleaning your old place to protect your security deposit or getting your new home ready to live in, choose environmentally sound cleaning products. With a little research, you can easily learn how to get your home sparkling clean with a few natural products such as vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia. Following these tips can make your next move easier on the planet – and your conscience.