Moving isn’t just taxing on you — the stresses of relocating to a new home have notable health effects — it also has major detrimental impacts on the environment. The materials used to pack your possessions, the fuel consumed to ferry them from one part of the city (or country, or world) to another and even the utilities spent to heat and light two residences at once all increase your carbon footprint and affect the environment in some small but meaningful way.
If you strive to live sustainably during other times of your life, you should hope to make your move sustainable, too. Here are a few ways to greenify your relocation, so you can make the move less stressful on you and the environment.
Just because you are #moving doesn’t mean you need to harm the #environment. By thinking ahead, you can ensure your move is at least carbon-neutral — if not carbon-positive.Click To Tweet
The less stuff you have to move, the less of a toll your move takes on the environment. As soon as you start considering relocation, you should start sifting through your belongings to eliminate certain items from your life.
If you haven’t already caught onto the KonMari craze, just before a move is a great time to start. You should go through your home category by category, starting with clothing, moving onto books, sifting through documents and ending with miscellaneous junk. With each item you find, decide whether it provides and function and sparks you joy; if it does neither, it’s time to chuck it. To remain committed to your green goals, you should try to find a new home for it before committing it to the landfill. Giving items to friends and family, donating to charitable organizations and selling stuff are all good ideas. If you can do none of these, make sure you are disposing of the waste in the most earth-friendly way — for instance, most tech has hazardous materials that shouldn’t be put in the regular trash.
Most people scoff at the idea of hiring movers, but in truth, movers offer a cost-effective and eco-friendly moving service. First, movers know how to pack belongings in the most efficient way, both within boxes and inside a moving van or truck. This reduces the amount of space required to tote them from here to there, which means you don’t need to make multiple trips or use a larger vehicle, which would consume a greater amount of fuel and produce more harmful emissions.
What’s more, movers are faster at packing and carrying to the car, and they know more optimal routes for driving from one side of town to another. In a sprawling and traffic-congested city like Miami, moving companies can shave hours off your move. That means you can devote more time and energy toward things that matter, like acquiring energy-efficient utilities for your new home.
Transport Your Car
If you aren’t just moving across town but across the country, you might be tempted to drive behind your moving truck in your personal vehicle(s). However, by driving alone such a long way, you are increasing your carbon footprint significantly and putting unnecessary wear and tear on your car(s). A better option is to pay to transport your car by ship or rail and purchase plane tickets for yourself and your family. Because trains are four-times more efficient than trucks and cars — and because planes fly whether or not they are full — you won’t be the cause of nearly as many emissions as if you drove.
Cardboard isn’t as unsustainable as many people think. Most cardboard is already produced of processed (read: recycled) fibers, and the cardboard that is brand-new is crafted from purpose-grown forests, which wouldn’t be there if cardboard didn’t exist. You can find cardboard to reuse in the recycling bins behind retail centers, and many stores will gladly provide you with old boxes if you just ask.
However, if you are staunchly against using cardboard for your move, you have alternatives. You can rent reusable wood, cloth or plastic crates from movers, moving companies or container companies. You can also buy your own crates and use them to store seasonal decorations and other belongings in your new home.
Perhaps the least environmentally friendly aspect of moving is the wrapping and packing material used to keep your possessions safe inside their boxes and crates. Though packing peanuts are largely being outmoded (or outlawed), most other common forms of packing, like bubble wrap and shredded paper, are nearly as unsustainable as Styrofoam. Thus, you should be creative with your crating and rethink your wrapping.
Some suggestions include using clothing you don’t care much about to wrap your delicate possessions. Socks, underwear and even old T-shirts and sweaters provide sufficient padding. You can also use towels, sheets and rags. You can also invest in eco-friendly bubble wrap, which is produced from recycled plastic or corn plastic.
Just because you are moving doesn’t mean you need to harm the environment. By thinking ahead, you can ensure your move is at least carbon-neutral — if not carbon-positive.
Are you planning to make your next move greener?
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