I cringe every time I drive by houses with their belongings wrapped in blankets, stuffed in boxes, and people dripping sweat as they face the challenges of not only moving, but moving in midsummer Texas heat. No one I know loves moving, but it is a necessary process we go through many times in our lives. According to 2007 U.S. census data, the average person can expect to move 11.7 times in their lifetime. After a quick count, I’m at 12 moves and can expect a few more.
All this moving, within the same city and across the country, has an impact on the environment. Beginning weeks before your move, there are simple ways to reduce resource consumption during the moving process. These simple tips will help you to plan ahead and reduce stress. And luckily for us in Dallas, we have a great local eco-friendly moving company to reach out to for expertise.
1. Try not to trash it. The more time spent packing is directly correlated to the increase in the amount of stuff thrown out. We’ve all been at the end, exhausted and ready to be finished. Fight the urge to toss unwanted items and make a big run to the local donation drop-off, or think about ways in which you can repurpose, sell or recycle items. Reducing the total amount of objects reduces weight, and less energy will be used to transport. Less weight, less fuel.
2. Start collecting packing material early. Think about using your stuff to help pack your breakables. Towels are great multipurpose packing supplies and can be used to wrap dishes, picture frames or small breakables. Collect newspapers from friends and family to finish off wrapping delicate items. Blankets are great for wrapping furniture and bracing large objects.
3. Choose an environmentally friendly moving company. Here in Dallas check out Green Van Lines (greenvanlines.com), who claim to be the first eco-friendly moving company in the U.S. As members of Green Movers USA, they agree to participate in a criteria based rating system to identify practices to reduce their waste stream and CO2 emissions. Some of the green initiatives Green Van Lines uses are: biodiesel fuel for local moves, boxes and packing supplies are made from 100 percent recycled materials, plant trees with “Trees for the Future” (TreesFTF.org) with every move, and uniforms are made from organic cotton.
The best thing about the environmentally friendly movers is the price. Even their general manager, Arthur Fomin, was attracted to the green initiatives and joined Green Van Lines back in 2007, when the company began. “Our prices are very competitive when it comes to relating to regular moving companies” Fomin said. “We try to make that a point. It doesn’t impact the customer in any way. We even have a lowest price guarantee that we are proud of. We are not more expensive because we are an eco-friendly company.”
4. Crates versus boxes. According to moving.com, a house with three bedrooms and people living a modest lifestyle will take 45 medium boxes, 31 large boxes, 13 extra large boxes, picture and wardrobe boxes. That’s a ton of cardboard … and trees. There is a better way. You can rent durable plastic crates to pack your belongings. Green Van Lines states on their website that one crate can eliminate more than 400 boxes from landfill waste. Crates are sturdier, don’t bend like traditional cardboard boxes, don’t require packing tape and can be stacked and loaded easier than the crazy box Tetris version we’ve all done. Green Van Lines rental crates are made from 100 percent recyclable plastic and can currently be used for Texas moves.
5. When the house is finally packed up, and you realize your work is not done, break out the environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. Especially for this big project, save some cash, use ingredients that are not harmful to the environment, and make large supplies of all purpose cleaners in advance. Mix tea tree oil, vinegar, baking soda, borax, water and Dr. Bronner’s all natural soap to create a quick strong cleaner to wipe down every area of your house from inside the refrigerator to the bathroom.
This probably isn’t your first move, nor will it be your last. Take the steps to plan your move, start prepping early and keep the environment in mind. Resources are used in every aspect of our lives, and moving is another opportunity to reduce our impact on the planet.