When we think about moving to a new home, whether it is as a tenant or as homeowners, we cannot disregard the fact that a great amount of waste is generated, waste that will end up in a landfill; from cardboard boxes to plastic bubble wrap, plastic tape, and peanuts to protect fragile items, all those packing materials are not very eco-friendly and we can hardly reuse them after they fulfilled their purpose, and if our new home needs a few renovations to make it suitable to live in, regular renovating materials are also not the most sustainable option.
Fortunately, there are many eco-friendly packaging options to make our move and our new home greener, we asked the experts how to do it, and they gave us amazing advice! Keep reading to learn all the great ways to be more sustainable while moving to a new home.
Q: What can we use to pack instead of cardboard boxes to avoid waste after unpacking?
A: As a number one alternative to cardboard boxes we recommend reusable plastic boxes. The number one advantage of a reusable plastic box is its lifespan which can be around 10 years, whilst a lifespan of 1 cardboard box is around 2 -3 moves depending on the stage of the box. It’s true, cardboard is a recyclable material and can be recycled as a material for new cardboard, however, the recycling and manufacturing process of the new box is leaving a negative impact on the environment too.
These boxes are usually hired by moving companies, often they offer free delivery & collection within a certain radius.
As additional advantages of plastic boxes I would mention:
– faster packing and unpacking process,
– no tapes required (additional cost saving)
– they are stronger and durable.
By Rusty Koval, Managing Director at Easy Peasy Removals
Q: How can we avoid using and disposing of so much cardboard when we move? What is the best alternative?
A: You can avoid using cardboard boxes by buying reusable totes. Make sure to purchase the same type of totes. That way, you can stack them together when done unpacking. Also, totes can become great storage bins in your garage or basement.
- Another alternative to cardboard boxes is use suitcases and hampers for clothes, towels, and bed linens. You can pack lightweight items or leave clothing in dressers. This can reduce the number of cardboard boxes needed for your move.
- If you need to use cardboard, the best thing to do is flatten out the boxes and store them for future needs. If the boxes are still in good condition, you can offer them to other people on Craigslist, Facebook, or similar sites. Someone is always in need of moving materials and will take the boxes off your hands.
- Another way to avoid using so much cardboard is to hire professional packers to help with your packing. Professional packers are trained to pack boxes more efficiently and, they know which type of box to use for all your household belongings.
- For our commercial office moves, we use E-crates, which are reusable containers that are stackable and load more easily into our moving vans. E-crates reduce the number of boxes required for office moves, thus decreasing environmental waste.
By Christopher Dennis, Digital Marketing Specialist at Lile Relocation Services
Q: Which alternative eco-friendly materials can we use instead of plastic wrap, plastic tape, and plastic bubbles?
A: We love to see so many companies and individuals trying to replace the single use, virgin, hard-to-recycle plastic in their packaging and their lives!
When looking for more sustainable alternatives to plastic void fill and tape, look for eco-friendly paper options. What do we mean by eco-friendly paper options? It is important to remember that paper is not automatically more ecological than plastic so you want to make sure your paper alternatives are either made with recycled content or (when it comes to virgin paper) certified as sustainably grown. We’ve seen firsthand when people switch from plastic to virgin, uncertified paper, and inadvertently create more damage to the environment than plastic creates.
We recommend replacing your plastic bubble wrap with (1) 100% recycled packaging paper, (2) SFI certified expandable honeycomb paper, or (3) upcycled, 100% recycled corrugated bubble. All three of these options work well, and you can choose between them based on your functional and aesthetic needs. Honeycomb paper is absolutely gorgeous, and works really well protecting bottles, candles and other fragile items. Packaging paper is very versatile, easy to use and inexpensive. And upcycled corrugated bubble works best when you have boxes with space inside that you need to fill.
Replace your plastic tape with either pressure sensitive or water activated kraft paper tape. Water activated tape is the most eco-friendly option on the market. Water activated tape (the kind that is smooth on the back until it is activated by water, like an old school stamp) is an incredible and eco-friendly option for mid to high volume operations. The WAT bonds securely to whatever is being taped, it is tamper resistant, you can use a lot less of it and it is recycle-compatible (meaning if you put it on a box, the entire box can still be easily recycled). You can actually find non-reinforced kraft paper water activated tape with 50% recycled content, and the balance of this material is made with FSC certified content! If water activated tape doesn’t make sense for you, go with a kraft paper, pressure sensitive tape that comes off the roll ready to stick. The facestock on all of these types of tapes are naturally biodegradable.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a great alternative to clear plastic wrap, like the kind that go around furniture during a move or a pallet being shipped freight. If the full coverage protection of plastic wrap isn’t needed, you may find that reusable netting works as well. Additionally, in some cases, packaging paper works great.
Finally, when you find you really need plastic, look for 100% recycled options that are also curbside or thin film recyclable. Getting recycled content into plastic is a challenge so when people like you demand to have recycled content in your plastic, it really helps the entire recycling supply chain and movement towards zero waste. These demands spur brands, reclaimers, and manufacturers to invest in the technology and equipment needed to use recycled plastic and if all of us take these steps, we will get much closer to a circular economy in which material is constantly recycled back into itself. Avoid “compostable” bioplastic alternatives (which are actually quite bad for the environment and misleading to people), unless you are packaging food and want to make sure the food waste ends up in the compost bin.
By Saloni Doshi, CEO, Chief Sustainability Geek at Eco Enclose
Q: What exactly is short-term storage and what are its benefits?
A: Short-term storage is a flexible solution for those who need to rent a space for a brief period, typically ranging from a few days to 2-3 months. This type of storage is particularly beneficial if you’re in the process of moving and require a place to keep your belongings temporarily. One of the main advantages of short-term storage units is their adaptability to your specific time frame. While not all storage facilities offer such customizable options, those that do provide a convenient and practical way to safeguard your items during transitional phases like relocation. Opting for a short-term storage unit can significantly ease the moving process, offering a secure and accessible space for your possessions.
Q: What are the most effective ways to make our move eco-friendlier and reduce the waste we generate throughout this process?
A: Here are the five most effective ways to make your move green and reduce waste on moving day:
Create Less Waste: Use Recyclable Materials. Moving creates a lot of waste that contributes to our landfills. When you think about moving, what comes to mind first? Boxes, boxes, and more boxes…
From boxes to bubble wrap, use 100% recyclable materials on moving day. Look for boxes that are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Certified Sourcing standard, which means their fiber comes from responsible and legal sources. And use biodegradable eco-bubble instead of bubble wrap as bubble wrap can take hundreds of years to decompose. In a much shorter amount of time, Polycell eco-bubble will biodegrade into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass. Go ahead, pop away guilt-free!
Lastly, save money by asking moving companies for used boxes made of recyclable materials. Some green moving companies will even give you a refund for returning your boxes at the end of your move. Cha-ching!
Breathe Easier: Seek Biodiesel. Trucks that use diesel fuel emit harmful toxins into our air and are responsible for the majority of cancer risk from outdoor air pollutants.
Choose a moving company that runs their trucks on biodiesel fuel which is a cleaner burning fuel made from natural renewable sources such as vegetable oils. Also, inquire about their lift gates on their trucks. Moving trucks with battery-operated lift gates insure there is no need to leave the trucks idling at your curb while the move is taking place.
Save Land: Use Warehouse Storage. Old fashion self-storage facilities with inefficient garage type self-storage facilities employ poor land use practices.
Earth-friendly storage is warehouse based and not long paved rows of self-storage “garages.” Your belongings are stored inside the warehouse in recyclable and reusable wooden vaults. Not only is this storage greener for the environment, it is greener for your wallet. You only pay for the space you actually need!
Give Back: Recycle Your Stuff. Because you are moving, finally, the garage and closets get cleaned out (hurray!). Now is the time to get rid of what you don’t really need. But, don’t just toss them out.
You know the drill: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Look to your local charities to donate furniture and clothing you no longer use, as well as domestic e-waste recyclers to dispose of your old computers, microwaves, etc. This will ensure that your electronics are recycled in facilities that follow U.S. environmental regulations and not shipped off to unregulated third world environmental disaster dumping grounds. You can also hire a mover that takes care of the donations for you, connecting you with charities who can really make use of all those old clothes, and food banks or Move For Hunger that can use those Costco-sized cans of tuna, and the recyclers that will dispose of your unwanted items in an eco-friendly way.
Green Conscious = Customer Conscious: Choose an Eco-Minded Mover. Many companies think of moving as a one-time transaction. They don’t care if they ever see you or your neighbors again. Yikes, how do you think they will treat you and your stuff?
When using a moving company that is more environmentally friendly, you are also gaining movers that go the extra mile in providing top-of-the-line client service. Chances are if they care about the earth, they care about the folks that inhabit it too.
They care about lasting relationships. So, use your “green” to influence and encourage green habits by hiring companies that use environmentally-friendly practices in their offices and warehouses. Green moving companies’ eco-awareness usually radiates throughout the entire organization and because they care about their entire environment they practice giving back to the community. It’s a great big green win – win!
Now is the time to think about how we can change our habits and our lifestyle to be kinder to Mother Earth. Every little green step will grow into a giant leap forward in preserving our earth and lessening the rate of climate change. Just think, if the millions moving to a new home make their moving day green, that will transform millions of days that were typically full of waste.
By Laura McHolm, home organization, moving & storage expert, and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company
Q: Which tips can you give us to declutter and downsize before a move and how do we get rid of the stuff we don’t want in an eco-friendly way to avoid waste generation?
A: You may not realize just how much stuff you’ve got in your house, especially if you’ve lived in it for more than five years. That’s why one of the best things you can do before a move is decluttering. If you’re not using something now, why transport it to your new home? Save time – and the environment – by trying some of these ecofriendly, PODS-approved tips for greening your move.
Tip 1: Go Kondo. It always helps to have a plan of attack when you’re decluttering. It may seem as simple as “get rid of the stuff you no longer want or need,” but that’s a bigger job than many realize. To avoid spinning your wheels, we suggest trying the KonMari Method™, created by organizational guru Marie Kondo. This process starts with putting everything in categories (clothing, paperwork, sentimental items, etc.), going through each category one item at a time, holding each item in your hands, and asking one question: Does this spark joy? If the answer is no, it’s time to let go. Once you have your discard pile, separate items into two categories – donation and recycling. Remember: The trash can should be your last resort.
Tip 2: Consider hiring a professional. Going through everything in your home can be a long, daunting process. Make the job easier (and faster) by hiring a professional organizer. These experts can not only create a plan for your entire home, they’ll help you figure out what to do with your discarded goods. Too often, people default to their garbage cans, creating lots of unnecessary waste. Many professional organizers know how to avoid the landfill, using donation and recycling, even for items like scrap metal, tires, and electronics.
Tip 3: Host a garage sale. If you want to get rid of lots of stuff in a short amount of time in an environmentally friendly way – and make a little money while doing it – host a garage sale! The things you no longer want or need may still be useful to someone else. Host your sale on a weekend when the weather’s pleasant to maximize turnout. When the sale is over, arrange for a donation service to come and pick up everything you didn’t sell to keep your stuff out of the junkyard. Once it’s out of your house, don’t let it back in.
By Tim McCormick, Moving & Storage Expert at PODS
Q: What is the best advice you can give us to make our move eco-friendly?
When you are planning your move, every decision you make has a dollar cost and an environmental cost. When you reduce, re-use, and recycle everyone wins. Here are some Diva TIPS to make your next move eco-friendly:
- THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX and use recycled boxes to pack all of your belongings. Look for boxes that are clean, similar in size, and in good condition.
- PLASTIC ISN’T ALWAYS BAD. Rigid plastic boxes with lids can be another option, IF you have a place to store them between moves. These waterproof boxes can also be used for storage and shared with family and friends. Be sure to disinfect them between moves.
- HOLD THIS! Old-fashioned string is a great alternative to plastic packing tape. Basic knots will keep the string from slipping and secure boxes for delivery. You can also use water-activated, reinforced paper tape instead of plastic tape.
- THINK INSIDE THE BOX and use items like clothing, towels, tablecloths, blankets, pillows, cushions as packing material instead of plastic bubble wrap. Newsprint paper – without the ink – keeps fragile items safe and clean in transit and can also be reused.
- WHAT’S POPPIN’? Popped popcorn makes a great substitute for Styrofoam “peanuts”. Be sure to use air-popped, not microwave popcorn, and HOLD the butter, oil, and salt. As an added bonus, you can use this packing material to feed the birds when you arrive at your new home!
- USE IT. DON’T MOVE IT. Downsizing before you move means less to pack, move and unpack. Use consumable items before you move and plan your meals around food that is already in your cupboards, fridge, and freezer. Use existing cleaning products to do your final clean and avoid moving partially-filled or aerosol containers.
- KEEP PRE-MOVE PURCHASES TO A MINIMUM. Once you have decided to move, limit purchases to items specifically required for your move like packing and moving supplies. This is not the time to stock up on new stuff.
- NEW HOME DELIVERY. If plans include purchasing major items, like sofas, beds, or appliances, have the store deliver these items to your NEW home. This tip also works for items you are having refinished or reupholstered.
- UPGRADE TO NEW APPLIANCES. Compressors in refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners generally don’t travel well. Why not recycle inefficient appliances before you move and replace them with environmentally-friendly ones in your new home?
Here’s to saving the world, one GREEN MOVE at a time!
By Karen Shinn from Downsizing Diva
Q: How can we lower our carbon footprint when moving to another state?
A: Moving across the country and need to get your car(s) to your new place? Perhaps you own a boat, an ATV, and a travel trailer as well. Most people would tow these items, necessitating several trips. However, making use of professional auto transportation services would reduce your carbon footprint. Auto transport haulers use specialized vehicles that can carry several vehicles at a time, resulting in fewer trips and therefore, a more eco-friendly move.
By Lizette Balsdon from Nationwide Auto Transportation
Q: Which modifications would you recommend doing on a new home to make it more eco-friendly?
A: I would recommend the creation of a Passive House. This is a home that has been designed and built to specific standards that make it incredibly eco-friendly and sustainable. First originating in Europe in the 1980s, the Passive House movement is rapidly growing in Boston and the United states as clients seek the gold standard in home sustainability. A Passive House requires no air-conditioner or heater, has a healthier internal airflow, and has a markedly reduced carbon footprint, requiring 90% less energy than a customary home. While many Passive Houses are newly built, we have designed and are mid a beautiful Passive House retrofit in Boston, Mass which you can see here.
By David Supple, CEO at nedc
Q: Which improvements can we make to have an energy-efficient home?
A: Energy efficiency can make a huge difference to your monthly utility bill and to the environment’s sustainability! You might be surprised to read that making small changes in your everyday life or in some of your appliance usage can save you hundreds of dollars per year and you will barely notice any difference, and the earth will be grateful for the extra love. Being sustainable and efficient in your home is much easier than you think, and we are going to show you a few things you can quickly do to become the energy-efficient champion you have always wanted to be.
First up, take 5 minutes to review your light fixtures: what kind of lightbulbs are in there? Are they hot to the touch? If they are, you might still be under the beams of incandescent lightbulbs. The best option for lighting your home (besides open blinds while the sun is up) is going to be switching to LED lightbulbs. 90% of the energy used by incandescent bulbs is turned into heat, which leaves only 10% of the energy for light. For every 100 watts that an incandescent bulb uses, LED bulbs only use 14-15 watts while producing the same amount of light. These bulbs also last 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 75% less energy!
Next up, wash cold! Your clothes usually do not need to be washed in warm water, and the cold tap water tends to preserve colors and fabrics better! Heating up the water is actually responsible for 90% of your washing machine’s energy usage. Another easy switch that could save you about $200 per year on its own! This can also apply to your dishwasher. Running a dishwasher with cold water, as many dishwashers allow with a quick change in settings, and then allowing your dishes to air dry or drying them with a towel can reduce the amount of energy that your dishwasher needs to run. One more water-related change is turning your water heater down to 120 degrees, which is still pretty warm! There are lots more ways you can make your home a hub for energy efficiency, but the last one we will discuss for now is switching to renewable energy for your entire home. Going solar can save homeowners up to $50,000 over the lifetime of their solar panel system, and the environmental impacts are unmatched! Making the commitment to switch to renewable energy is one of the most cost-effective and impactful ways to become a beacon of sustainability. For more information on going solar, contact Blue Raven Solar today!
Q: What are the benefits of non-toxic paint?
A: We spend 90% of our time indoors. Its just common sense that we should make every effort to manage that environment as healthfully as possible. Remodeling or decorating will introduce a host of chemical compounds. This chemical “stew” can and does have an impact on the air quality and your personal health. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can lead to chemical sensitivity – a condition everyone needs to avoid.
Interior painting is typically the biggest part of a decorating “upgrade”. Demanding non-toxic primers and paints is easier than ever to do. Why?
Reduced chemical exposure means you can just feel better and feeling better can
promote better concentration, improve vigor, and experience fewer sick days while improving productivity.
Nontoxic paint works just like any other paint. Color selection is unlimited, and acquisition is simple. Nontoxic can have a slightly higher price tag, it’s true but what is your family’s
health worth? It goes back to good old-fashioned common sense.
By Jay Watts, Vice President at AFM Safecoat
Smooth Home Moving: Navigating Home Insurance Transitions
Moving to a new home is an exciting adventure, but it also comes with a list of tasks and considerations. One crucial aspect often overlooked amidst the packing and planning is home insurance. Whether you’re upgrading to a larger house, downsizing to a cozy apartment, or moving to a new city, your home insurance needs will evolve with your change in residence.
1. Review Your Current Policy: Before the moving trucks arrive, take a moment to review your current home insurance policy. Understand what it covers, the limits of coverage, and any specific conditions related to your existing property. This will provide a baseline for comparing policies for your new home.
2. Timing Matters: Inform your insurance provider about your upcoming move as early as possible. This allows them to guide you through the transition process and discuss options for transferring or adjusting your coverage. Keep in mind that insurance regulations and coverage availability can vary based on your new location.
3. Coverage for the New Property: Different homes have different risks. If you’re moving to a house from an apartment or vice versa, your insurance requirements will change. For example, a single-family home might require coverage for the structure, yard, and potential liabilities related to the property. Conversely, an apartment might require coverage for personal belongings and potential damage to the rented space.
4. Update Your Policy: While some insurers might allow you to update your existing policy to cover your new home, it’s a good opportunity to shop around and compare insurance providers. Request quotes from different companies to ensure you’re getting the best coverage at a competitive rate.
5. Assess Additional Coverage Needs: Moving often involves changes to your personal property, whether due to downsizing or upgrading. Reevaluate the value of your belongings and adjust your personal property coverage accordingly. If you’re moving to an area prone to certain risks (e.g., floods or earthquakes), consider adding specialized coverage to protect against those perils.
6. Maintain Continuity: To avoid coverage gaps during the moving process, maintain your existing policy until you’ve finalized your new coverage. The goal is to ensure that you’re protected from the moment you step into your new home.
7. Multi-Policy Discounts: Moving can also be a chance to bundle your insurance policies. Many insurers offer discounts for combining home and auto insurance, for example. Inquire about potential savings when discussing your new home insurance policy.
8. Customizing Your Policy: Every home and homeowner is unique. Work with your insurance provider to customize your policy to your specific needs. This might include additional liability coverage, coverage for home offices, or even coverage for high-value items like jewelry or art.
In the hustle and bustle of moving, it’s easy to overlook the importance of adjusting your home insurance to your new circumstances. By taking the time to review, update, and tailor your coverage, you’ll ensure that your new home is not only a place of comfort but also one of financial security. Remember, a smooth transition extends beyond the physical move—it includes safeguarding your new space with the right insurance coverage.
Keep these great and practical tips in mind the next time you need to move to a new home, whether it is in the same neighborhood, city, or to a completely different country, especially if you’re moving to one of the best countries for green living, you may want to start your new green life with the right foot; consider these options for your future projects and improvements, and make your home more sustainable and energy-efficient with all the great energy-saving tips we just learned.