ExecutiveChronicles | How To Move Across The Country With A Smaller Environmental Impact | Moving is not one of the most environmentally-friendly things you can do, but it is something you have to do now and then. Think about the last time you moved and how many recyclable boxes ended up in the trash, how many trips you had to make in your car, and which materials you used to pack and store your stuff.
Luckily, many of the environmentally harmful parts of the moving process can be reduced or even eliminated. Here’s how you can make your move across the country with a smaller environmental impact.
Use What You Own
Look around your home for items that can be used as containers. If you keep a storage container under your bed/mattress for seasonal clothes and/or shoes, then you already have one container that’s packed and ready to go. While you’re always going to need to go out and purchase a few more boxes to help you move, you might be able to cut down on cost and waste by using what you already own. You can use many different containers for your move, including:
- Plastic bins
- Reusable totes
- Duffel bags
- Laundry baskets
Any item that can fit other items can be turned into a storage solution or moving box, but you might have to get a little creative.
Start Storing Boxes
If you’re an online shopper, you probably open at least a few packages every month. Instead of throwing those boxes away, keep them in a closet so you can use them to move. As soon as you know you’re going to move, start collecting boxes from all of your shopping sprees. If you collect enough, you might not have to go out and purchase more boxes. You can also ask friends and family to hold onto their boxes and pick them up when you start packing your things.
If you don’t have enough space to fit boxes, consider breaking them down so they’re flat and store them under the bed, in the garage, or any other space you can find in your home. Keeping these boxes for your move will cut down on your overall waste, but remember to recycle them when you’re done.
Instead of throwing away everything you won’t need in your new home, consider donating what you can. You can donate just about anything from clothing and shoes to furniture that would otherwise end up in a landfill. You can create a pile for donations and a pile for recycling so you continue to make your move as eco-friendly as possible. Once you have a donate pile, contact any number of charities in your area and schedule a pick-up to get those items out of your way so you can continue packing.
Pack Your Kitchen Last
If you pack up your entire kitchen before you move, then you’ll have to resort to paper and plastic utensils, plates, and cups. Instead of contributing more to landfills, you can leave yourself with just enough of the kitchen items you need to get by before you move.
When packing your kitchen, keep one unused box for all of the items you’ll need to pack once moving day arrives. Even though some of these items might not be organized like the others, you won’t have to rely on take-out or using paper and plastic utensils. You can also label this box and use it your first night in your new home if you don’t feel like unpacking every box after an exhausting move. This can also limit the amount of food waste caused by moving, ensuring that everything that needs to be stays refrigerated and you can keep track of what needs to be eaten and used first.
Consider a Green Moving Company
If you want to reduce your environmental impact during a move, consider not handling the entire moving process on your own. If you don’t work with a moving company, you might be forced to make multiple trips in your car or a rented moving van, which is a waste of gas. Not only that, but any items you move on your own will not be covered by your car insurance, so if you break something during the process or get into an accident, you won’t be able to easily replace those items.
On the other hand, moving companies are insured, so if anything gets damaged in the move, they will pay for its repair or replacement. Not only that, but you can find a green moving company that uses eco-friendly practices to help get all your belongings to your new home without the need for you to make multiple tips.
Green moving companies might drive moving trucks that use biodiesel instead of traditional gas and can also provide you with reusable moving boxes to eliminate waste.
After all is said and done, take inventory of your belongings and packing supplies to figure out what can be recycled. Eco-friendly practices, such as recycling, are some of the most popular multi-family rental trends, so your new home might have an easy-to-access recycling bin near your dumpster. However, if you don’t have a recycling bin, consider taking your boxes and other recyclables to a recycling center instead of tossing them out in the dumpster.
Protect Fragile Items With Clothes or Linens
Most people who want to protect fragile items use bubble wrap, which can be harmful to the environment. Instead of protecting your belongings with plastic, you can use clothes and linens, along with newspapers.
Make Your Home Green
Not every move you make is going to be environmentally friendly, even if you plan. However, you can make up for any damage you’ve done by making your home more eco-friendly by replacing old appliances with energy-saving appliances and making a plan to make better decisions.
For example, you can use the dishwasher or washing machine only when they’re full to prevent wasted water. You can also make small lifestyle changes that will help negate any negative environmental impact your move may have had, such as putting a recycling bin in your kitchen, taking shorter showers, or swapping laundry detergent. Another way to start small is to try using natural and organic hand soaps throughout your bathrooms, every small change will make an impact.
By planning your move to be more eco-friendly, you can start to make better choices that will reduce your environmental impact. The easiest thing you can do is start collecting boxes from friends, family, and even local shops before you purchase more supplies.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.