With the growing global concern for the environment, everyone is looking for ways to cut down their own carbon footprint. Even when moving, there are steps you can take to start your life at your new place as “green” as possible. Below, we will help you choose eco-friendly packing supplies and even tell you ways you can reduce your carbon emissions during the journey. And all throughout, we’ll be sure tell you just how these green choices (or not) impact the environment.
Begin with the Boxes
One of the simplest things you can do to make your move more eco-friendly is to become more aware of how you pack your belongings. Most movers will use about 60 cardboard boxes at a time for 1 move. This means, per move, you will use an entire half-ton pine tree. Look for ways to minimize this impact. In terms of containers, you have two main environmentally-conscious options.
- Ask friends who have just moved if you can salvage their leftovers, or go by liquor store and ask for some boxes. You’d be surprised how many packing supplies you will get for free if you just ask. Plus, this option saves you the money you would spend buying all those cardboard boxes to begin with. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
- Rent moving bins. Many movers offer reusable bins that can easily be used up to 400 times. They tend to be designed to move, so there will be no broken china as the bottom falls out of the box right as you are walking up the ramp into the truck. You save the planet and save yourself the hassle of figuring out what to do with all those boxes after the move.
Don’t forget, however, the packing materials to pad your items as well.
- Rather than using bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or foam, you could use old newspapers or sales papers. Just go by a local grocery store on the last day of a sale, and ask if you can have their leftover sales papers for packing materials.
- If you want to go the more traditional route, chose the green colored packing peanuts at the packing supply store. They are made of a biodegradable plastic from renewable materials, like corn starch.
- Or, best yet, double-duty your packing! You already have to pack up your towels, sheets, and pillows, so just use them for padding. When you pack up the kitchen, uses the dishtowels to cushion the glasses. Again, going green saves you time and effort!
Lastly, think about the move itself. While you cannot easily control whether the movers use bio-diesel in their trucks, or whether they have a lead foot, you can control the amount of stuff they have to carry, and therefore have an impact on the truck’s fuel consumption. Rather than packing and moving a bunch of things you don’t want, why not take the time to declutter? Go through your closets and donate clothes you never wear, old furniture you have been dreaming of replacing, and the 5 crock pots that have been hiding in the garage since you got married and opened all the wedding gifts. Hold a yard sale to fund the move, or donate these items to your favorite charity and use it for a tax write off at the end of the year.
The best thing about all these ideas is they not only diminish your ecological impact, they will also have the potential to save you unpacking headache down the road, and possibly a little money right now. Really, those are all three awesome reasons to make your move green.