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Green Moving Tips

Earth-Friendly Ways to Move


green button promoting eco-friendly products

Being green while moving helps to protect the planet.

© Big Stock Photo
By Tim Johnson

When you hear the term “green moving,” it might conjure up images of packing your things in large bamboo leaves and hiring a team of non-CO2-emitting Sherpas to carry them across town.

In actuality, green moving means being conscientious of our environment and employing methods that are not harmful to the earth. Green moving is a growing trend in the moving industry. It involves tweaking practices that have historically been big on waste such as throwing away cardboard boxes and bubble wrap or moving your belongings in smoke-belching semi trucks. Earth-friendly moving means scaling back a bit.

Granted, the green theme has permeated many industries. Traditionally non-green industries such as automotive, energy and housing are now embracing new business practices that take into account short- and long-term effects on the environment.

Likewise, green moving has gained in popularity, moving the demand for green moving into a prominent position.

Green Moving Tips

  • This seems obvious, but don’t accumulate as much stuff in the first place. Less is generally better for the planet anyway, and the less stuff you move, the less gas your moving truck will burn. Green moving can also translate into more "green" for you because you’ll likely spend less to move your household.

  • Get rid of stuff before you move it. Consider holding a garage sale, or selling your unnecessary items online at eBay or through Craigslist.

  • Buy used cardboard boxes. Moving companies generally prefer that customers use new cardboard boxes to ensure stability, which means a lot of cardboard boxes get tossed after only one use. If using cardboard boxes, look for boxes made of recycled material.

  • Rent moving boxes. When packing, take advantage of companies that offer reusable packing crates, which can eliminate that waste. One such outfit that rents sturdy packing crates made of recycled plastic bottles is California-based Earth Friendly Moving. The company drops off the crates before you move and picks them up afterward in its fleet of bio-diesel trucks. Another company is Rent-A-Crate, a nationwide firm that offers moving crates made of recyclable high density polypropylene.

  • Cut back on the bubble wrap. You can use old newspapers for non-fragile items, or even old sheets or towels as packing material. These weigh more and don’t offer as much benefit as the lighter bubble wrap, but anything you can do to cut back helps.

  • Look for environmentally-friendly cleaning products when moving out. Seventh Generation is a national brand of cleaning products that makes toilet bowl cleaners, dishwashing powder and carpet cleaners. These products can be found at many large discount chains such as Target.

  • Hire moving companies that tout environmentally friendly attributes. One such firm is Go Green Moving, which owns bio-diesel trucks, uses moving pads made of 100% recycled cotton and rents packing crates.

  • Ask that a company employ eco-friendly practices, especially if it doesn't. If moving companies believe that consumers are demanding environmentally friendly moves, the moving industry will feel obligated to adopt green moving methods.

Green Tips After Moving Into Your New Home

Finally, after you’ve moved in to your new home, it’s a good time to think about other ways you can leave less of an environmental footprint.

  • You can stop junk mail by registering with the Mail Preference Service at the Direct Marketing Association. It won’t stop all the stuff you get daily in your mail, but it will help to reduce a large portion of unwanted paper.

  • Set up a recycling center in your new kitchen where it’s easy and handy to separate paper from plastic recyclables. Making recycling easy to do ensures that you’ll be more likely to do it.

  • Think before buying. When shopping for a non-essential item, ask yourself a simple question: When the times comes to move again, will you relish the idea of moving it?

  • Reduce the possessions you own by recycling or donating an item when you bring a similar item into your home.
Tim Johnson is online managing editor at Relocation.com

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.

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