Sydney Brodie
July 3, 2024
Article type:
Moving Help & Tips
Applies to:
All Moving

Sustainable Moving: Tips for Reducing the Environmental Impact of Your Move

The moving process can unfortunately generate a large amount of waste. Cardboard boxes pile up, mountains of bubble wrap fill the dumpster, and unwanted furniture gets carted off to landfills. But by taking some eco-friendly steps, you can minimize your environmental footprint and embark on a greener journey to your new home.

This blog post is here to equip you with sustainable moving tips to minimize your environmental impact and embark on an eco-friendly move that’s easier on the planet.  

Lighten Your Load and Your Impact

Moving is a natural time to purge the unnecessary. Before you start packing boxes, dedicate time to decluttering. Sort through your belongings and ruthlessly (but responsibly!) to get rid of items you no longer need, use, or love. This not only streamlines the packing process but also reduces the overall weight you need to move, resulting in a cheaper move. Fewer belongings often translate to fewer trips by the movers, which directly lowers fuel consumption and emissions.

Here's how to declutter for a sustainable move:

  • Donate: Many charities accept gently used clothing, furniture, and household goods. This gives your unwanted items a new life and helps those in need.
  • Sell: Online marketplaces (KSL, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc.) and local consignment shops are great options to offload unwanted items and make some extra cash for your move.
  • Recycle: Check with your local recycling program to see what materials they accept. Cardboard boxes, electronics, and even some furniture might have a second life through responsible recycling.
  • Freecycle: Websites and apps like Freecycle connect you with people looking for free items you no longer need. It's a fantastic way to keep usable items out of landfills.

Skip Single-Use Moving Materials

Cardboard boxes and mountains of bubble wrap might seem like moving essentials, but they contribute significantly to landfill waste. Instead, embrace reusable alternatives:

  • Invest in reusables: Purchase sturdy plastic bins or rent eco-friendly packing crates. These can be reused for future moves or storage needs, saving you money and reducing waste in the long run.
  • Utilize what you already have: Suitcases, duffel bags, laundry baskets – these everyday items can be excellent substitutes for cardboard boxes.
  • Get creative with packing materials: For fragile items, ditch the bubble wrap.  Towels, blankets, clothes, and even bed sheets can offer fantastic cushioning.

By adopting these strategies, you can significantly reduce your reliance on single-use packing materials and contribute to a more sustainable moving experience.

Utilize Eco-Friendly Packing Materials When Necessary

There might be instances where you still need some traditional packing materials. When that's the case, prioritize eco-friendly options:

  • Recycled cardboard boxes: Look for boxes specifically made from recycled materials. This ensures you're not contributing to deforestation for new cardboard production. Check online marketplaces or Freecycle to see if anyone is giving away their unwanted moving supplies.  
  • Biodegradable packing peanuts: These plant-based alternatives to traditional packing peanuts decompose naturally, leaving no harmful residues behind.
  • Recycled bubble wrap: Several companies now produce bubble wrap made from recycled materials. While not perfect, it's a more sustainable option than traditional bubble wrap.

Pack Your Boxes with Purpose

How you pack your boxes can significantly impact the overall number of boxes you need and, consequently, the environmental impact of your move. Here are some sustainable packing tips:

  • Play Tetris: Pack efficiently to maximize space in each box. Place heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on top to prevent crushing.
  • Fill the gaps: Use clothes, towels, or linens to fill empty spaces within boxes. This prevents items from shifting during transport and protects your belongings.
  • Label clearly: Clearly label each box with its contents and destination room. This reduces the need to open and unpack multiple boxes to find specific items.

By packing with a purpose, you can minimize the number of boxes needed, reduce the overall weight of your move, and potentially lower the number of trips required by the movers.

Learn More Eco-Friendly Moving Best Practices

Moving sustainably requires a little planning and some creative thinking, but the environmental benefits are undeniable. For even more in-depth tips and resources on sustainable moving, check out our blog for additional moving tips.  

This article on how to recycle your moving materials after your move is a great place to get started. Remember, every small step counts.