There’s no doubt about it – Americans just seem to accumulate “stuff,” and our lifestyles create a lot of waste. Those facts are never more evident than when you’re packing and unpacking for a move. This year, more than 43 million Americans will pack up their households and move. If you’re among them, remember to watch out for Mother Earth in the process by considering these environment-friendly moving tips.
Green tip – pack with a green thumb
Boxes and packing supplies such as foam peanuts create a lot of extra trash. Oftentimes you can purchase rubber tubs at fairly low costs, which can then be used to store holiday ornaments, seasonal clothing and other items you will undoubtedly collect over the years. Of course, you will have to purchase some moving boxes, but plan to donate them to someone else after your move or ensure they go out with the recycling…not the trash. Or consider using Tyga boxes, which are made of plastic that can be reused up to 500 times. Using old blankets and towels as padding in your boxes serve the dual purpose of protecting your breakables and packing your linens. Newspaper, which is recyclable, is certainly worthy as an outer packing wrap or for cushioning, but remember, no matter how old the newspaper, the ink can rub off and even can become embedded in fine china if used for wrapping. Unprinted newspaper is your best bet.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
When you make the decision to move and begin to take inventory of your belongings, it’s often tempting to go the easy route and simply throw unwanted items away. But your old stereo speakers, barbecue grill and those “skinny” clothes that no longer fit could be treasures to a bargain-seeking garage-sale shopper or a local charity. And all those books (which tend to add a lot of weight to your move) would be much-appreciated at your local library. Take a little extra time to sort through your things and host a garage sale or donate them to a deserving charity, rather than adding to a landfill.
Don’t be a hazard
If you’re hiring professionals to move you, it’s important to remember that certain items cannot be shipped because they represent a hazard. And if the professional movers won’t move them, you might not want to either. Hazardous items are those that are flammable, corrosive or explosive, such as fertilizer, car batteries, liquid bleach, ammunition and paint thinners. But remember the environment when disposing of hazardous materials. Some municipalities schedule hazardous materials disposal days, and local vendors of these materials often offer disposal services for a small fee.
Consume, perish or donate?
Try to plan your food purchases in the weeks ahead of your move so that you don’t end up with a lot of perishables. Professional movers cannot move perishable items, and if you’re doing the move yourself, you probably don’t want to hassle with them. But even the best laid plans will result in some extra items in the fridge and freezer, so plan ahead of time to give them to a nearby neighbor. And if you don’t want to pack up and move dozens of canned goods and other non-perishables, donate the items to a local food shelter.
After the move
If possible, investigate ahead of time what type of recycling, yard waste and trash service is available and when those pick-up days are scheduled. That way, you won’t have lots of trash sitting at your curb for several days, and you’ll be ready to put your recyclables out at the first opportunity.