This is a guest post by Felicia Baratz-Savage of Eat Breathe Blog.
Everybody knows moving is stressful, but who knew it was stressful for the planet too? It turns out moving involves a lot of environmental impact, from packing materials to the fuel for the moving truck to the products you use to clean your old and new homes. The good news is there are ways to mitigate your environmental impact and moving companies who can help you green your move.
One of the first steps to moving green is to sort through your stuff and figure out what’s going with you and what isn’t. Discovering items you no longer use will help you save costs by avoiding self storage costs. Wouldn’t this be a great time for a garage sale? Garage sales allow you to send your things to a good home, rather than a landfill, and also let you put some extra cash in your pocket for the move. Consider as well selling things on eBay or passing on household goods via Freecycle. If you have anything useful left over, donate it to Goodwill, which can result in a tax deduction. Anything you can’t donate should be sorted carefully and recycled if at all possible. Check with your local municipality to find out how to recycle cell phones, batteries, electronics, scrap wood, metal and more.
For items that are coming with you, avoid the temptation to cram Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap around everything. Instead, use clothes or towels to cushion fragile items. If you must use Styrofoam or plastic packing material, start saving them from any packages you get before your move so you won’t have to acquire more. The same goes for boxes. Check with your company’s mailroom or loading dock to see if any boxes are hanging around waiting to be recycled. If none are available at your company or the local grocery store, rent or purchase boxes made from recycled materials.
Once the time comes to actually move your items, reduce your environmental impact by making the fewest number of trips as possible to save gasoline. The key to making fewer trips is efficient packing. Remember to fill your boxes completely and pack smaller items inside larger ones whenever possible. Measure your boxes and furniture to make sure you get the right size truck – too big and you will waste fuel, too small and you will need to make more trips. If you hire long distance movers, see if you can find a company that uses hybrid trucks or one that fuels its trucks with biodiesel.
In addition to packing and heavy lifting, there’s a lot of cleaning involved in moving. Think green when buying cleansers. Choose products that are labeled as being biodegradable or otherwise Earth-friendly. You can also avoid store-bought products altogether and clean with inexpensive, natural ingredients, such as baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. If either of your dwellings have lingering odors you can’t seem to get rid of, try placing dishes of vinegar or small containers of orange oil around the space, rather than relying on chemical deodorizers. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a bottle of warm water to create a natural air freshener that won’t leave behind a toxic residue.
Moving to a new home can be a major operation, but it doesn’t have to heavily impact the environment. By making greener choices at each step of the move, you can help save the planet and maybe even save a dollar or two along the way.
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