Moving takes planning and a lot of organization, so you may think going green when moving just adds more stress and planning, right? Actually, it isn’t difficult to go green when packing and moving your belongings, and you’ll be doing something good for the environment.
You can’t just decide one day to throw everything on a truck and move. It takes preparation to get organized so the move goes smoothly. You’ll likely have time to prepare, so at least 2 weeks before moving, start making plans for an easy transition into your new place. Also, consider some greener alternatives for moving, like finding used paper boxes instead of new ones from the shipping store.
Moving to a new location often means making a new start, so it’s the best time to donate items you don’t want or use. While packing, go through your closets, garage and attic, then either have a yard sale or donate. Get the family involved in deciding what they don’t want or need and designate an area for things to sell, items to donate and any recycling.
When you lighten your load, you reduce the amount of gas and money used to relocate. And, when you recycle, you’re doing your part to reduce pollution.
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Fragile items require extra care when packing to avoid damage. But, you can skip the bubble wrap and packing peanuts and use packing materials that are more eco-friendly. Instead of using plastic and other materials that end up in landfills, consider looking around your home to find materials that’ll protect your breakables and be reused or recycled after the move.
Some good ideas include blankets, newspapers, towels and other soft fabrics you have lying around the house. You have to move them, too. If you must use packing materials, learn how you can recycle them.
Containers are a must for moving, but you don’t have to use cardboard. Consider using plastic bins that you can reuse in your home for organizing after the move. A new greener trend in moving is to rent plastic bins to pack up your belongings and return when done — no boxes to dispose of and no environmental concerns.
If you are moving on a budget and simply can’t afford to rent bins, you can use cardboard, but keep some tips in mind. Use boxes from stores so you don’t have to buy new ones, and recycle them after use.
Do you have items around your home that are hazardous to move? Items like corrosive materials, batteries, fertilizers, paint thinners, ammunition and car batteries are just some of the possible hazards you may need to dispose of or take extra caution when moving.
If it’s flammable, explosive or corrosive, learn how to properly dispose of them or move them to reduce the risk of spilling or problems that can negatively affect the environment.
If you have lots of full boxes and other items to move, you might want to rent a truck or hire a moving company. Even if you have a truck or van, you’ll still make more trips than a moving truck.
Moving company employees have experience in organizing boxes and other items onto a truck to maximize space and get you to your new place in the fewest trips possible to minimize fuel use. Reducing trips during your move also reduces the amount of gasses emitted into the environment. With good organization, you may be able to move it all in just one trip.
Stay green after moving into your new place to reduce your carbon footprint. Find out where to recycle products in your new location, and take steps to reduce your waste and use of electricity, gas and water. Here are some simple steps:
• Use biodegradable products
• Turn off lights and appliances when not in use
• Invest in LED bulbs
• Upgrade to Energy Star appliances
• Consider installing solar panels to reduce energy use
Going green and staying green is not difficult. It requires you to take the time to learn about and put to use eco-friendly options for the home. Once you start on your path to reducing your carbon footprint, it’ll become like second nature.
Megan Wild improves homes by focusing on increasing their sustainability and finding new ways to repurpose old materials. When she’s not holding a hammer, you can find her writing up her ideas and thoughts for her blog, Your Wild Home, and read all of Megan's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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