Pack Up a Load of Green Moving Tips

Make relocating to your next home even more eco-friendly

If you're one of the 40 million Americans who move every year, here are some solutions to make your next move more eco-friendly.

Plan ahead

Have you ever waited until the last minute to pack for a trip, only to take half of your wardrobe along for the ride? Well, packing up to move at the last minute is like that, but to the extreme. You'll discover things you haven't seen since your last moving day, so don't wait until the van is on the way to address your excess stuff.

If you start packing a few weeks in advance, you'll have time to get rid of things you really don't need. Be realistic: If you haven't worn a pair of jeans since the summer after college graduation, it's probably time to part with them. Have a yard sale or donate extra belongings to a charity. You'll use less fuel if you transport only the things you actually use.

Hire an eco-friendly moving company

While you're searching for a reputable company to help with your move, look at their environmental credentials, too. Does the company use gas-guzzling trucks or biodiesel rigs? Does it sell recycled boxes? Will the movers help you pack and organize to use the fewest possible boxes?

You'll have enough to worry about on moving day, so hiring an eco-friendly mover will make it easier to be green.

Stock up on packing material

Buying boxes from your mover can be costly, but you can likely get them free around your community. Ask local businesses about giving you their packing boxes; most stores throw away their materials after they unload the contents.

You can also save your own bubble wrap, boxes and envelopes for your move. A little planning can help you save money, and you'll save some boxes from a landfill fate.

Buy recycled boxes

Don't have the time to scrounge around town for boxes? Let someone else do it for you. UsedCardboardBoxes.com collects boxes that are on their way to the dump from businesses around the country. They also use some new boxes that are factory misprints and overruns. Then, they pack them into handy kits complete with tape, packing paper and markers. Select the number of rooms you need to pack up and the boxes will be shipped to you in one or two business days.

Although it's cheaper than buying brand-new boxes, the convenience is still going to cost you. For instance, the three-bedroom home kit costs $154 from UsedCardboardBoxes.com. The same setup would be $212 and $238 at U-Haul.com and BoxBros.com, respectively.

Use these recycled plastic boxes and then send them back

If you don't want to create any moving waste, Earth Friendly Moving has a solution with Recopack (short for Recycled Ecological Packing Solution) boxes. The company rents the reusable moving tubs made from recycled materials for "a buck a box a week." The totes are delivered to your door in a biodiesel truck, and you pack, stack and move them yourself. When you're done with the boxes, they'll come pick them up. The company also sells eco-friendly packing material: recycled paper cubes that can be composted after the big day.

The only catch: Earth Friendly Moving only delivers in Southern California right now, but look out for their products nationwide in a couple of years.

Start packing in containers you already have first

You'll probably need a few boxes to tote your stuff in, but pack as much as you can in containers you already have. Haul out your suitcases and plastic bins and fill them up. Use pillows -- not paper -- to package fragile items. This will consolidate your stuff with zero waste.

Make the fewest trips possible between the two locales

Pack up your car to reduce the number of van runs between the new and old house. However, you should hire a van rather than using your car for several cross-town trips. Plan your trip to use the least fuel possible.

Recycle your packing materials

No matter where you get those moving boxes, make sure to recycle them after the journey. Find a friend or fellow mover to give them to, or advertise online to find a taker. At the least, take them to the recycling center -- not the trash bin.


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