Once you develop the habit of living sustainable and using environmentally friendly practices in your ordinary daily life, it’s easy to keep doing it. But when a big, disruptive event comes along — like a household move — you can easily revert to less eco- friendly behaviors.
Moving can definitely disrupt your ordinary routine, and some moves can certainly be hard on the environment. But you can organize a green household move with some planning and forethought. Take a look at some ways you can make your next move more environmentally friendly.
Don’t Try to Take It All With You
Every individual item that you decide to take with you when you move adds to the environmental footprint of your move. Each item takes more packing materials, space, and fuel to get each item from point A to point B. So you can make your move much more eco-friendly by leaving unnecessary items behind.
However, don’t throw away useful items. Have a garage sale, donate your belongings to charity, or give them to friends and family. Reuse and recycle as much as possible. But take the time to go through your house and identify items that you aren’t using, and eliminate them from the moving process so that you don’t waste resources on them.
Cut Down on Box Waste
When you think of moving, the first thing that you probably think of is moving boxes. It can take a lot of boxes to move — experts recommend 20 large boxes and 30 small ones for a 3-bedroom house.
You can cut down on box waste in a couple of different ways. One option is to use reusable plastic totes rather than cardboard boxes. This allows you to reuse the same boxes every time you move, and plastic totes make good storage containers for your home as well.
If plastic totes don’t work for you, opt for moving boxes made out of recycled material, and make sure that you recycle them again when you’re done moving. Be sure to ask your moving company how they can help. Some moving companies rent plastic totes and boxes that you can return after your move. Others will pick up and recycle cardboard boxes for you.
Choose Eco-Friendly Packing Material
It’s not just the boxes that you have to think about — you also have to think about what goes inside the boxes. You definitely need packing material to protect your delicate items, but Styrofoam peanuts and plastic packaging aren’t especially green.
Luckily, you can buy eco-friendly packaging material. For example, there are biodegradable packing peanuts that can be composted or dissolved in water after you’re done with them, so they won’t end up clogging a landfill.
If you have trouble tracking down environmentally friendly packing material, you can also plan to store and reuse regular packing items. Bubble wrap and packing peanuts can be used over and over again. Hold onto them for the next move, use them to store your holiday decorations safely, or save them to use when you ship gifts to long-distance loved ones.
Alternatively, you can practice sustainability and save money by using household items that you’re going to move anyway as packing material. Your towels, blankets, sheets, and sweaters all have to get to your new home somehow — why not use them to cushion boxes filled with breakables?
Rent an Appropriately Sized Truck
Moving trucks aren’t known for their fuel economy, but it’s hard to get an entire household from one place to another without one. Choosing the right sized truck can have a big impact on the environmental friendliness of your move.
Don’t make the mistake of choosing a truck that’s too small. A smaller truck may get slightly better gas mileage, but having to make more than one trip because you couldn’t fit everything in will defeat the purpose of choosing a larger truck. Plus, if you’re making a long-distance move, it’s impractical to make more than one trip. For a single-family home or townhouse, you probably need a truck that’s between 20′ and 26′.
A good way to ensure that you get the appropriate-sized truck is to use a packing and moving service instead of simply renting a truck and packing it yourself. Ask your moving company for an in-home estimate. They’re trained to be able to look around a home and correctly estimate how much truck space you’ll need to move that home.
What’s more is that professional movers can pack and load a truck more efficiently than most people. They’ll be able to fit more items into a smaller truck than you would be able to on your own. You will not only benefit from the convenience of having professionals do the hard work of packing up your items and loading the truck but also end up using less fuel and resources than you would if you tried to do the work yourself.
Moving can be stressful enough without having to worry that you’re damaging the environment in the process. If a green lifestyle is important to you, take the time to plan an eco-friendly move and ask your moving company how they can help.