An average move uses one tree's worth of cardboard, 10lbs of packing paper, 200ft of bubble wrap, and 1000ft of single-use stretch wrap.
It's possible to use no waste to move and hopefully, this article will educate you on ways to be more sustainable while moving and help you reduce waste.
1) Rent Reusable Moving Boxes
Obviously we need to talk about what we do. Wich is rent reusable moving boxes.
You may not be in Colorado, but there's a very good chance that a business like ours is in your city. You can take a look at our list of reusable moving box rental companies here.
Reusable packing boxes can be used for over 300 moves. Our boxes are then sent back to our USA-based manufacturer to be recycled.
How does renting reusable moving boxes work?
Easy; order online, boxes are delivered to your current home, you pack and move, boxes are picked up from your new home.
We'll even recycle any cardboard or packing paper you may have used to make proper disposal super easy and convenient!
If you live in Colorado (Castle Rock - Fort Collins) you can check out our pricing here.
2) Use Towels Instead of Bubble Wrap
What's a great resource everyone has and needs to be moved anyway?
Towels, dishcloths, sheets, and blankets.
Ok, I know you're not going to use your Egyptian cotton sheets but we all have some old towels or blankets laying around.
Packing up plates and bowls? Put a towel on the counter, place a plate on it, then fold the towel over the plate. Repeat until you've used the full length of your towel.
If you're moving a vase you can put part of the towel in the vase while the rest of it is wrapped around the outside.
We've noticed that this actually works better than bubble wrap in most cases. Plus, you won't need to toss it at the end. Just throw your towels in the wash and you're good to go!
3) Use Old Newspapers
Let's say you don't have any towels or blankets to use. To be fair, I only had two towels and one blanket when I was in college.
Don't worry you can still get away with being sustainable.
An old newspaper works just as well as packing paper. Most packing paper is actually newsprint anyway.
I bet you're wondering where you might be able to acquire such material. No one has newspapers delivered daily anymore, at least no one under the age of 80.
There's a good chance you'll come across a newspaper stand at your local grocery store or even breakfast place. The paper is usually free so grab one or two on the way out.
If you feel bad about taking reading material away from someone, give it a glance and experience how information was consumed all the way back in the early 2000s.
4) Zip Tie Hangers Together
The great thing about hanging clothes up is that they're always ready for transport.
Throw a zip tie around 5 or so hangers and hang them on our "holly shit" handles in your car. Some cars actually have spots that are meant for hangers so check to see if that's an option for you.
If you're worried about your clothes getting dirty you can cut a small hole in the bottom of a trash bag and put the hangers through it. This does create a bit of waste with the trash bags so it's up to you.
Side note: A lot of reusable moving box companies offer reusable wardrobe boxes as well!
5) Rent Electric Moving Trucks
It's 2022 y'all, the future is here!
Uhaul may not have electric trucks widely available yet, but don't forget that you can take a look at other car rental companies and even apps like Turo may have electric vans or trucks.
The downside to this is charging and not running out of juice. If you already have an electric vehicle I guess you know how to deal with the situation. If you don't, there is probably a charging station near you.
Starbucks is trying to turn into the modern gas station by offering charging stations at their stores so see if your local Starbucks has chargers installed yet.
Also, make sure the van goes far enough for you. We looked into buying an electric Ford Transit but it'll only go about 100 miles per charge. It's ok, but we need a bit more to not waste time in the middle of the day to recharge.
6) Buy Biodegradable Moving Supplies
If you don't have the time to scavenge for old newspapers or cardboard boxes and will be buying new moving supplies do your best to purchase biodegradable or recyclable moving supplies.
You can see an in-depth article on the types of biodegradable moving supplies and where to buy them here. I'll put the TLDR below.
Types of biodegradable moving supplies:
Honeycomb packing paper
You should know that biodegradable does not mean you can compostable it in your backyard. It may need to be sent to a commercial biodegradable center which is also separate from generic recycling centers.
You may want to research your local area to see your specific options.
7) Donate Instead of Tossing
We all have stuff we've collected over the years of living in one place. A benefit of moving is that we get a chance to look through everything we own and can decide if we want to bring it with us or say goodbye.
Types of things that can be recycled are clothes, household goods, non-perishable food, etc.
Put a separate box to the side before you start packing up and toss in anything you don't want to bring to your new home.
Separate the items between clothes/household goods and food. You can then either drop them off at your local goodwill, foodbank, or other donations-based organization.
If you have quite a bit of donations make sure to save receipts. It's all tax deductible at the end of the year!
If you live in Colorado and are interested in renting reusable moving boxes or if you have any questions about them, give us a call!