If you’re like most people trying to lighten their footprint on the planet, you have a system for eco-friendly living. You have your stash of reusable grocery bags, you diligently recycle, you conserve energy and water, and the list goes on according to your level of green living.
When it comes to moving, you may be at a loss for how to reduce waste. Not many of us move very often so it’s not surprising. Even if you moved ten years ago, the eco-friendly options available to professional movers today is amazing.
The best movers in NJ agree, inferior packing supplies can turn a simple move into a disaster. As part of Optimum Moving’s mission to deliver unmatched, white-glove moving services to the Tri-State area, we put together a detailed article of best practices for packing your most fragile possessions.
The in-depth article you’re reading now expands on that professional moving advice by focusing on X ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle during your move.
Reduce box waste
When it comes to boxes, your first instinct may be to reuse free boxes available at office supply stores, grocery stores, liquor stores, and bookstores. Those types of boxes may be good for incidentals, like sand toys, pillows and blankets, and other odds and ends that aren’t fragile and can take a bump. Certainly, this tactic is better than buying and throwing away new cardboard boxes.
If you anticipate needing storage in your new home, consider buying plastic bins. They will serve the dual purpose of moving your possessions, and then after the move, you have the luxury of storing items in waterproof, stackable containers.
The quickest, turnkey method for eco-friendly containers is to rent them. In New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, your best bet is to check out Bin-It and BungoBox. Follow this link to a complete list of earth-friendly moving box rental companies. Many of these businesses drop off and pick up the bins, as well as provide handy packages of containers aligned with the size of your move.
Bubble wrap and peanuts are so wasteful—they’re useful for a few days and then sit in a landfill forever. But they’re so effective! Fortunately, there are social-minded entrepreneurs out there who feel your pain. Without too much searching, you can find biodegradable bubble wrap and packing peanuts. All the convenience and none of the guilt.
Also, you can go beyond the conventional and discover how some innovators are changing the game with new products that serve the same purpose as bubble wrap and peanuts in a more ecologically sound way.
Find a second life for your junk
Clean before you move. Do more than tidy up . . . more than throw out scraps around your desk . . . more than throw out mismatched pairs of socks . . . get down deep and really clean! There are so many reasons why shedding outdated possessions is so good for your life during a move, including such mental health reasons as feeling liberated of useless baggage.
Being in a positive state of mind is good for your family and community. Let’s focus on tangible reasons for giving your junk a new home. For instance, by reducing the weight your moving van has to carry, you can reduce fuel usage by up to 20%. At least, that’s what some researchers at MIT figured out.
Put another way, shedding 110 lbs. off a load saves $436 in fuel over 124,000 miles. How’s this relevant to you? In the short-term, the benefits are hard to see. But think long-term benefit to the earth, and if everyone who used your NJ moving company lightened their load by 100 lbs., the entire company would burn less fuel over time—which is very kind to the atmosphere and planet.
Worried about taxing landfills? Pay it forward and donate to charities and local thrift stores. Try selling items on eBay and at yard sales to pay off some or all of your moving expenses. Take that bag of old phone charges and cables and help kids develop STEM skills. Start early so you can be flexible and creative to find new purpose for your clutter.
Plan your route and don’t be in a rush
GPS makes finding the quickest route easy. Just remember to type in the address correctly, charge your phone or GPS device, and double check for any construction detours or possible delays. The longer you and your belongings are on the road, the more fuel is consumed and burned into the atmosphere.
With that said, you don’t want to get there too fast, either. A truck traveling at 65 mph consumes 27% less fuel than the same truck going 75 mph, according to the American Trucking Association. So, you lose more than a tenth of a mile per gallon for every one mile per hour you go faster. On long-distance moves, those fractions of a mile add up!
For a step-by-step action plan for your move, see our Residential Moving Checklist.