Moving from one home to another is not a low-impact activity. If you're relocating from one coast to the other, you could use as much as 120 pounds of cardboard and generate 5,000 pounds of climate-changing carbon dioxide. Even moving from one side of your state to another could have a 500-pound carbon impact, given the fuel burned by moving vans and the resources you use to pack up all your stuff.
How can you make you move more eco and less yecch?
• Don't move what you don't need; to unload unnecessary stuff, donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army; have a yard sale; freecycle.
• Save newspapers in advance of your move to use as packing paper.
• Pick up discarded boxes from local stores.
• Pack things in suitcases or containers you are also moving to save space and reduce the number of throwaway boxes you use.
• Use the right size truck. A too-larger truck wastes energy. A truck that's too small may need to make too many trips.
• Recycle boxes and packing materials after you unpack.
These environmentally-friendly packing materials will help make your move greener:
• Recopack – from rentagreenbox.com: 100% recycled plastic boxes come in 3 sizes that can be rented for 14 days. They're delivered and picked up by a truck that runs on waste vegetable oils and bio-fuel and using dollies made from recycled soda cans
o $299 for 100 boxes for 2 week period ($99 per extra week)
o Zip-ties made from 100% recycled plastic eliminate need for packing tape
• Ecobox – sells used boxes in various shapes and sizes; they also sell moving "kits" with enough boxes and tape to accommodate anything from a 1-bedroom apartment to a 4-bedroom house.
o No minimum order
o Same day, low cost shipping
• FrogBox – British Columbia and Puget Sound, WA
o A lot like Recopack; just local to the Pacific Northwest
o Sells all sizes of used boxes, though "brand new" packing tape and bubble wrap
o Free shipping for any of its kits, ranging from a studio or dorm room to a 10 bedroom home or comparable office space
• Green Wheels Van Lines
o For personal, corporate, government/military, or international moves
o Will deliver recycled packing materials to your door
o Uses alternative energy
o Approved as a SmartWay Partner by the EPA
• Green Movers USA
o Aims to be a network of all moving companies that use eco-friendly practices
o Awards movers one-four trees, depending on their efforts to reduce waste, save gas, and use alternative fuels
• Go Green Moving Co.
o Based in southern California, uses bio-fuel in trucks
o Provides rentable crates
o Uses 100% recycled plastic moving pads
NOTE: Green Van Lines claims it makes the world greener "one move at a time," but there's no evidence on its website that the company uses energy-efficient or alterntively fueled vehicles, or supplies its customers with recycled packing materials that minimize waste.
Have you moved recently? Let us know what you did to make it eco.
By Katie Kelleher