Moving house is one of the top 10 stressors in life, we hear you thinking, and now you’re going to tell me that I should be doing it green? I’m up to my ears in boxes here! Relax: Having a smooth green move is easier than you think. Here are our tips, covering everything from greener packing materials to biodiesel-powered moving vans to places you can donate your old computers. And if all else fails, we offer links where you can offset the high carbon impact of your move.
One of hardest things about moving is deciding what to keep and what to toss. But once you’ve decided, here’s How to Deal with the Stuff You Don’t Want:
Worst-case scenario: The dump or a dumpster.
To avoid adding to the mountain of garbage, here are some better ideas:
What to do with surplus clothing, furniture, and home goods
1. Have a yard sale.
2. If you don’t have time for a yard sale, donate your things to your local battered women’s shelter, Goodwill or Salvation Army. Find your local branch here.
3. Many towns have recycling centers; find the location of the center nearest you.
4. Or try Freecycling, an online way to give stuff you don’t want to people who do.
What about old electronics? Here are some links to places that will take your junked computers, printers, faxes, and other electronic waste so that it doesn’t end up in a landfill for your great-great-great-grandchildren to stumble over.
You can also sell your things on eBay or give them to a salvage center.
Pack the Stuff You’re Keeping
Worst case scenario: You buy all-new boxes that kill virgin trees, horrible-for-the-environment Styrofoam peanuts, and petroleum-based plastic bubble wrap.
Better: If you know a move is imminent, hold onto all those cartons and boxes you got around the holidays. Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap can at least be reused.
If you already recycled your last box, check out your local grocery store or liquor store. They’re usually happy to unload boxes.
Or you could contact Earth-Friendly Moving and rent their sturdy boxes made of totally recycled materials, a buck a box a week. They drop them off, then pick them up at the other end of the move.
Hiring a Mover
If you live in the American Northwest, you may be able to find a moving company that fuels their vans with biodiesel. Check out the Northwest BioDiesel site.
Google “Hybrid Moving Vans” to see if there are any in your area available for hire.
Whether you’re cleaning out the old place or cleaning up your new one, use green cleaners: Not only are they better for your health and the health of the planet, they‘re less expensive than conventional chemical-laden cleaners–and they work just as well or better.
If you file a Temporary Change of Address with the post office, rather than a permanent one, you will avoid getting a lot of that nasty junk mail that piles up so quickly. Yes, folks, the Post Office sells lists of permanent address changes to direct marketers. Who knew?
Offsetting the Environmental Cost of Your Move
Okay, so here are three ways to ditch the guilt along with the heavy carbon footprint of your move: Free clicks, donations, or purchased offset credits. Check out these great Web sites:
Every free click removes 1 pound of carbon emissions!
Race to Stop Global Warming.
Donate to offset your car, air travel, or home carbon emissions at
This great site has a calculator that will tell you your carbon footprint, and then offers offsets that are just your size. Be Green Now.
And have a safe, smooth, green move!