Did you know that moving houses puts a lot of stress not only on you but also on the environment?
From the carbon emission from the moving truck to the thousands of cardboard boxes and tons of packing materials that are used and discarded into landfills every year — moving houses has a bigger impact on the environment than people realise.
While you may not be able to entirely relieve your stress during the moving process, there are quite a few small things you can do to minimize the stress you put on the environment. Here are our top 10 eco-friendly moving tips to reduce your carbon footprint and have a greener move!
Moving houses is always the perfect opportunity for a much-needed spring clean! Spring cleaning and downsizing your items before a move means that you have a lighter load and require less space during your move. This helps reduce carbon emissions by using a smaller truck, using less fuel and making fewer trips.
During your spring cleaning, you can put aside any items you don’t use anymore, are broken or are duplicates. It also forces you to take inventory of all your belongings which ensures you don’t buy anything you already have or don’t need when you reach your new home
The last thing you want is for all the items you put aside during spring cleaning to end up in a landfill. So only throw those items away if you have no other option. So what are your other, more sustainable options?
You can sell your items online on the following platforms:
Yaga for clothes
Sell n Buy
Host your own garage sale
Donate or give away your items at the following places:
Local drives or charities
Thrift stores, hospice shops and second-hand furniture stores
Animal shelter charity shops
Ask friends or family if they would like it
Lastly, you can recycle any plastic, wooden, cardboard, e-waste or glass items that are beyond repair or unwanted. Read our complete guide to recycling in South Africa for more info.
Instead of wasting sheets of newspaper or metres and metres of bubble wrap to protect your fragile items, why not opt for a waste-free option?
Soft fabrics such as towels, clothes, linen, pillows and blankets make perfect protectors to wrap up glassware, ceramics, cutlery, art, vases, dishes, picture frames and any other breakable or fragile items.
This green solution not only removes all packing materials waste but also kills two birds with one stone, as you now don’t need to worry about finding space for all your fabrics.
If you run out of fabrics or require some more heavy-duty packing materials for very fragile items, make sure to invest in more sustainable packing materials that are biodegradable or at least recyclable. For example, you now get biodegradable boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, furniture pads and paper tape.
Local providers of eco-friendly packing materials include Ecobox and K-Pak.
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Probably one of the most wasteful items in a move is moving boxes. People often buy dozens of fresh new cardboard boxes and throw them away afterwards after only one use. That’s why one of the main eco-friendly choices you can make for a greener move is finding a sustainable moving box alternative.
Rent reusable boxes or crates: These can be used up to 400 times and often don’t require tape.
Use old boxes around the house: You can use boxes from old appliances or past deliveries.
Ask local stores for used boxes: Instead of these boxes lying around to be thrown away, you can give them some extra uses and ensure they are recycled properly.
Another great trick for being more sustainable with your moving boxes is to find storage opportunities in your own belongings. This could be suitcases, duffel bags, tote bags, reusable grocery bags and storage boxes.
Get creative! Even trash cans can become a great storage option. You can also fill up the drawers in side tables, office desks, cupboards and dressers.
But it’s not just the massive waste of moving houses that impacts the environment — don’t forget about the carbon emissions from the massive trucks. Research shows that every house move releases around 16,8 kg of carbon emissions into the atmosphere which contributes to global warming.
While you can’t get rid of this completely, you can try your best to minimize these effects by choosing more sustainable forms of transportation and making as few trips as possible, trying to fit it all in one go, especially for long-distance moves. To do this, you can downsize at much as possible and pack smarter so that there’s no wasted space.
You can also do your part of the plant by being a conscious consumer and choosing companies that prioritise sustainability.
For example, Wise Move is partnered with 1% for the Planet, a non-profit global initiative where we contribute 1% of our annual sales, irrespective of losses or profits, to a carefully chosen roster of local sustainability charities, going towards wildlife conservation, habitat protection, sustainability research and more at centres across South Africa.
Wise Move’s moving company platform also connects you with local, top-rated moving services where you can easily compare them and find the companies that are best for both your budget and the environment!
If you don’t have enough stuff to fill the entire truck, instead of letting all that extra space go to waste, you can share the load with others. This means that your stuff and the stuff of other people moving gets put in the same truck (remaining separate of course so that it doesn’t get mixed up).
It’s a win-win for everyone. The moving company gets to save on fuel and labour costs, you and the other movers get to share the costs and save money and the environment gets saved from extra carbon emissions!
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to move houses entirely waste-free. So it’s essential that you recycle all moving boxes and any waste that you do end up with after the move is over. Take a trip to your local recycling centre and hand over all your cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, tape, packing peanuts and more.
And if your materials are still in pretty good shape, you can reuse them by checking with friends and family if they may want them for an upcoming move.
While it requires just a little more effort and thought, carrying out a more sustainable, eco-friendly move is actually pretty easy! And you can start today by choosing your environmentally-conscious moving service.
Check out Wise Move’s moving company platform to find trusted, low-cost moving services across South Africa where you can find the perfect moving service that’s better for your budget and the planet! Get your quote today
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