Reynolds Transfer & Storage guest post by Helen Lee

The mere thought of preparing for a move can cause anyone’s stress level to rise. Whether it is a residential move or an office move, the key to lower stress levels is to start planning as soon as possible. As you begin planning your move, keep these environmentally friendly moving tips in mind. They can help you manage your stress while being kind to the environment.

Don’t Move What You Don’t Need.

The longer you live in one place, the more “stuff” you have likely accumulated. Plan on objectively sorting your items into a few different piles – Keep, Donate, or Sell.

When you move less, you help the environment. Your carbon footprint is reduced through the increased fuel efficiency of the moving trucks. Moving less also means you will need less packing materials, which leads to less waste.

Do not wait until the last minute to start the sorting process or you will find yourself keeping items you no longer need or unnecessarily sending items to the landfill. It is estimated that over 11 million tons of recyclable shoes, clothing, and textiles are disposed of in landfills worldwide each year. If possible, save items from the landfill by donating them to local charitable organizations or disposing of items such as electronics properly. For example, organizations such as Call2Recycle will help you safely recycle batteries and cellphones. Research e-waste recycling resources available in your local area.

Use What You Have to Pack Items Into.

Before purchasing moving boxes, determine what containers you already have that you can pack items into. This may include suitcases, plastic storage crates, hampers or laundry baskets. In some cases, these containers may be sturdier than a cardboard moving box. Ultimately, by using less cardboard, you will be creating less waste for the landfill.

Reduce Purchases of Other Moving Supplies.

Just as you are able to use some of your items as moving containers, you can also use blankets, towels, pillows, and even clothes in place of packing paper or bubble wrap. Your more fragile items will be protected during the move and you create less waste (and save money).

Don’t Have Junk Mail Follow You to Your New Home.

An estimated 100 billion junk mail pieces are delivered to U.S. homes each year. That amounts to a lot of wasted paper, much of which goes unread or unopened. As you look to have your mail forwarded to your new location, consider filing a temporary change of address, which lasts 6 months, instead of a permanent one. Permanent change of address data is included in the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. Subscribers of the NCOA database include data brokers and marketing companies, organizations responsible for much of the junk mail arriving in your mailbox.

Look for an Environmentally Friendly Moving Company.

Hiring a moving company can alleviate much of the stress associated with a move. Look specifically for a moving company that operates with the environment in mind. Some things to look for when evaluating a moving company’s friendliness towards the environment include the use of reusable polypropylene moving boxes or eco-boxes, the availability of reclaimed moving supplies (boxes, packing materials, etc.), moving trucks using cleaner biodiesel fuels, or short-term storage in solar-powered facilities.

Clean or Update Your New Location Using Environmentally Friendly Products.

As you settle into your new home, you will likely be getting a bit of cleaning done. Select cleaning products without volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) which include phosphorus, nitrogen, and ammonia. Many of these chemicals are washed down the drain, eventually making their way back to the environment in rivers, lakes, and streams. Although the water is treated before returning to the environment, trace amounts of these chemicals can still be found in the water.

If you are also looking to update the walls in your new home, look for “zero-VOC” interior paints. Using paint containing VOC’s will negatively affect outdoor air quality during the manufacturing process. VOC’s are released into the air from the components in the paint and contribute to the harmful ozone in the environment.

By choosing “green” cleaning products and “zero-VOC” paint, you can avoid off-gassing, the release of VOC’s into the air from common household products. Improving indoor air quality is particularly important for those with compromised health or chemical sensitivities, but studies have also shown, over time, it can cause leukemia, lymphoma, and cognitive decline. 

With a little planning and research, we can do our part to protect the environment from the waste and overall negative effects a move can produce.

Reynolds Transfer and Storage eco-box.
Reynolds Transfer and Storage is a mover for the greater Madison region that offers more sustainable options like these eco-boxes.