Good Instructions: How to Move Houses With Less Waste
Moving into a new home can put undue stress on both you and the environment, and since I'm moving this week, I've been researching ways to move with as little an environmental impact as possible.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in six Americans moves each year, which is roughly 5.1 million people. The average eight-room house requires more than 100 boxes to move. Then you need tape, markers, labels, bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts, paper, dollies, a truck (or several), the gas to fill them, and a bunch of manpower. This adds up financially and environmentally. So whether you are just moving a few blocks away or hauling your life across the country, here are a few easy ideas to help make your move easy, economical, and environmentally-friendly.
Illustrations by Brianna Harden.
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The less you have, the less you move. Go through your closets, cupboards, and garage and sell or donate all that you don't need or use. Sometimes just selling a few unused items can garner all the money you need for the move itself.
Simple organization before you pack can reduce the time, money, and labor needed to move. Pack carefully, use all the space in boxes, and keep like things together.
You have a few options here that can reduce both the environmental and financial impact that buying boxes can bring: You can rent reusable boxes or crates from a company that that will drop off the reusable boxes and pick them up at your new address; you can buy used boxes or boxes made from recycled materials; you can ask your local grocer for their used boxes; or if you're not going too far, use recycled and reusable grocery bags instead.
Use sweaters, bedding, throw cushions, and towels instead. If you need to purchase packaging materials, opt for earth-friendly options. Rentagreenbox.com offers environmentally friendly alternatives, that can be composted or even used to clean your toilet after use. They make labels, boxes, wrapping papers, protective cubes, and bubble-wrap alternatives.
Fold the flaps down into themselves to form and close the boxes. If your boxes are extremely heavy, tape up only the bottom, but leave the top open. This will keep your boxes intact, while reducing your tape use and eliminating the extra work needed to reopen and dismantle the boxes at the end of the move.
Figure out how many trips you would need to take with your car and whether it would be environmentally advantageous to rent a large vehicle and do it all in one trip. A little easy math can help reduce your carbon footprint and your money spent.
Go Green is a great company with a bio-diesel, low-emission fleet that uses only reusable boxes and packaging materials made from recycled, postconsumer trash. If your local movers don't have any green options, request that they integrate some green practices. Supply and demand, people!