Sydney Brodie
May 10, 2024
Article type:
Moving Help & Tips
Applies to:
All Moving

Moving Responsibly: Eco-Friendly Ways to Dispose of/Reuse Moving Materials

After you’ve moved, unpacked, and settled into your new home, you might be left staring at a mountain of leftover moving materials. Materials like boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and more can easily create a lot of waste if they’re not disposed of properly.

Whether it's recycling, donating, or reusing, there are plenty of ways to make your move eco-friendly. In this blog, we’ll give you some tips on how to manage your moving supplies so you can cut down on waste and reduce the ecological impact of your move as much as possible.  

How to Recycle Moving Materials  

Moving is a stressful process. When you’re done with the move it can be tempting to toss out your old boxes and other moving materials to quickly get them out of your space. But moving typically produces a lot of waste, so it’s best to take the time and properly recycle, reuse, or donate your moving materials whenever possible. If you’re not sure how to get started, here are a few tips:

1. Determine What Materials You Can and Can’t Recycle  

Not all moving materials are created equal. Cardboard boxes are generally the easiest to recycle but check with your local recycling program for specific guidelines. Packing paper and certain biodegradable packing peanuts might also be accepted. On the other hand, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts made of Styrofoam typically aren't recyclable and need alternative disposal methods.  

With packing peanuts and Styrofoam, you can save these products to be used for later or donate them to a family member or friend who is moving. If you need these items taken away, contact your local recycling center to learn about your options.  Another option is posting on sites like Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone else in your area needs moving materials.  

2. Prepare Your Materials for Recycling  

You will likely need to break down your moving boxes before they can be recycled properly. You’ll also need to check that any of your items don’t have food or water damage, because that could impact their recyclability.  

After you break down all your moving boxes, remove any packing tape or labels. Some programs might require you to cut the boxes into manageable pieces, so check their guidelines beforehand. This preparation makes it easier to transport and sort the cardboard for recycling.

Click here to learn more about recycling guidelines in Utah and click here for more information on recycling common moving materials in Colorado.  

3. Get Creative with Reuse  

Before hitting the recycle bin, consider if some materials can be reused. Here are some fun and fast ways you can reuse your moving materials around your home. Most of these ideas keep your items intact so you still have them on hand if you need to move again.  

Cardboard Boxes:  

  • Storage for seasonal items, clothes, or extra blankets
  • Create decorative storage bins with paint, fabric, or wallpaper
  • Make organizers for drawers, shelves, or cabinets
  • Build a fort or playhouse for kids (or pets!)
  • Cut up for packing material for future gifts or small items

Packing Peanuts:

  • Loose fill for fragile items in storage (think holiday ornaments)
  • Shipping material for small items you sell online

Bubble Wrap:  

  • Protect delicate items in storage from scratches
  • Insulate windows in the winter to save on energy bills (works best with single pane windows)

Plastic Wrap:

  • Cover furniture for short-term storage or protection during painting projects
  • Create a makeshift greenhouse for starting seedlings

4. Sell or Donate  

If you have high-quality moving boxes or packing supplies in good condition, consider selling them online or donating them to local moving companies or storage facilities. This allows others to reuse your materials and reduces the demand for new ones.

Learn More Eco-Friendly Moving Tips  

Moving with a green conscience is easier than you think, and every little step you take counts. By following these tips, you can ensure your relocation doesn't come at the expense of the environment.

Eco-friendly moving starts before you even hire movers. If you’re looking for more ways to move consciously, this article on how to properly remove excess junk before you move is a great place to get started. Recycling old junk before you move is a critical step to reducing waste while moving.