User login

A Community of Green Bloggers & Activists

How To Be As Green As Possible When Moving

Aside from helping conserve the environment around us, there are many pluses sprouting up from increased awareness on eco-friendly how-to’s, habits and just general recycling mentalities.  They can be found with how we drive or arrive at a particular destination.  Or how we reuse items we took for granted and disposed of in the past.  If you stare long and hard at any given task for a good amount of time, there’s a green initiative hiding somewhere inside.

Like moving into a new home or apartment.  

Now, no one’s really running through the streets expressing their love for moving, now are they?  Truth be told, it’s one process stacked on top of another that’s more or less one big cluster both with packing and unpacking.  Some might just opt to let the professionals come in and handle the situation, while others will take the task on their own (and hopefully with a few helping hands).  That said, according to the U.S. Census, around 40+ million people move each year.  That’s roughly 14% of the entire population.  Crunch those numbers for a second and then ask yourself how many are making a concerted effort to be green in at least one moving step?  Could be something as simple as reusing a box or at least purchasing a 100% recycled box.  Or maybe the type of packing and padding that’s used.

Even if some of these practices aren’t put into play, just know there are many things individuals are doing to tip their hat to Mother Nature when bidding adieu to their old residence.  

Here are few ways you can jump right on board.

Reuse Boxes

Now in a perfect world, everyone would plan their moves around another person’s, so that right when they’re done, they could pass along their packing boxes to the next eager mover.  But, that’s really wishful thinking more than anything.  Instead, you can move a bit closer to that scenario by asking a friend or neighbor if they have any old boxes just collecting dust, and that you’d be more than happy to take it off their chest.  

If option #1 isn’t there, a quick visit to the local grocery store or wine & spirits shop should be next on the list.  Grocery stores are great because they have dozens, sometimes hundreds, of produce crate boxes that are not just sturdy, but wider than the average box from a liquor store.  Not to be outdone, though, the liquor store usually has plenty more boxes that would be ideal for storing the smaller to medium-sized items throughout your home.

Once you’ve got the desired amount of boxes, be mindful of how you break down each one after using them.  Don’t needlessly tear through the middle or rip off one of the handle inserts.  If you’re done with them and don’t have any takers, pile them all together and drop them by your nearest recycling outlet. Think more along the lines of “how can this box be used further” instead of “well, this is the end of the line for you!” and the green mentality for moving will be put into motion.

Avoid Bubble Wrap If Possible

While this one’s becoming more commonplace, many people are looking to old newspapers and their own towels to be used as padding for many tightly-packed items.  While it’s sometimes hard to avoid bubble wrap for the most delicate items such as fine chinaware or crystal or precious glass, striving for a higher ratio of reusable materials agains bubble wrap will be just fine.  And hey, if you saved up a good amount of bubble wrap, then by all means use that again.  But if you’re like me, I can’t resist popping every last bubble and by the end it’s just one flat piece of plastic.  And if you don’t like popping each and every bubble and still want to find a home for it, many post offices will gladly take and reuse your bubble wrap.

By using thick sheets of newspaper or stuffed-up towels to fill in any loose gaps inside each box, you’re doing your part to conserve valiantly.  But if you’re using a majority of newspaper as padding, just make sure to start collecting old ones weeks in advance (or months if you think you’ll have a higher volume of boxes).

Opt Out Of Junk Mail

The one downside to anyone’s new residence is the looming onslaught of junk mail.  While it doesn’t happen right away (at least I hope not) it will eventually show itself with unnecessary piles of paper cramming your new mailbox.  That’s why it’s a good idea to “opt out” as soon as possible, because at the end of the day, every tiny amount of paper saved goes a long way.

The government even shows you how here.

While you could recycle these solicitations, many times they could be pre-screened credit card offers and the last thing you want to worry about is the chance of identity theft.  Save paper and the notion that you need a paper shredder to dispose of unwanted mail by opting out of the junk.

While this has more to do with the tail-end of moving, it’s a small tip nonetheless.

Be Creative And Thorough When Packing

The more items you can comfortably fit into one box, the better.  Not to the extent where there’s potential for items to break or crack against the pressure of a sardine-like packing effort, but enough to where it’s thorough and translates to less boxes needed.  

And this doesn’t just end with packaging.  How creative and efficient you are with storing each and every item inside the moving van or truck bed, from the bulkiest to the most awkward,  can cut down unnecessary return trips back and forth.  Fewer trips means less fuel run-off and if you figure the gallon of gas saved by the 40 million+ people that move every year - even if 50% of that group cuts out a return trip - the savings have a greater impact.


As I said before, eco-friendly thinking can be applied to most any task out there.  We’ve started relying on 100% recycled coffee mugs for our daily cup of Joe.  Gas stations incentivise customers to return with their plastic cups to get a cheaper soda refill.  We find more creative outlets to use solar panels as a means to generate renewable energy.  Modern vehicles have made strides with electric engines and other hybrid-related parts.  Grocery shoppers are using cloth bags instead of plastic.  There’s an eco-conscious method seemingly waiting around every corner, and how we relocate between homes should fall nicely into that group.


Author Bio:  Kyle O’Brien is a freelance writer who’s covered a range of eco-friendly ways to live, drive and implement around us in hopes of creating even more awareness and has consulted for a moving company near his hometown, Great Day Moving.  For more advanced moving tricks of the trade, or to find out more information some of their other locations such as their Topeka moving offices, give them a shout and start being green when relocating!