How to Recycle Cardboard, Bubble Wrap, and Other Green Packing Materials

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Recycling Your Packing Materials

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We are now in an era that's becoming more environmentally conscious every day. Developments in science and technology have allowed people to know exactly how certain materials affect the environment if not disposed of properly. As we consume resources on a large scale, we see that they are limited in quantity. Recycling materials reduces environmental damage and reuses resources. Keep recycling in mind as you move. There's a lot that you can do both before and after your move.

Ways to Recycle

Most major towns and cities in the U.S. offer many opportunities for you to recycle. You should be able to find this information online. For example, uses your zip code to provide you with a list of ways to recycle in your area. You can also check your phonebook or call your local waste management service for information on different types of recycling and disposal facilities in your area.

Make sure you find the appropriate ways to recycle or dispose of different moving materials. There are different procedures for the various types of recyclables. For instance, hazardous materials will need to be delivered to appropriate disposal facilities, while some items can be picked up at your home by a recycling truck.

What Moving Materials Can Be Recycled?

There are many materials that you use during your move that can be disposed of after by putting them in appropriately labeled recycling bins and then placing them curbside in front of your house on your town's recyclable pickup day. These items include:
  • Plastic – Bubble wrap, protective plastic sheets, and plastic containers can either be reused for packing storage items or can be recycled along with your household recyclables.

  • Paper/Cardboard – Non-waxed paper goods and cardboard can usually be picked up at your home. They will need to be separated from your glass, plastic, and aluminum recyclables.
Many local waste management services will provide you with recycling guidelines as well as the appropriate bins for all your recyclables.

Green Packing Materials

You should also be environmentally conscious when you're picking out moving materials. There are many green packing materials that are available. Here are some examples:

Biodegradable packing peanuts can be used instead of bubble wrap (bubble wrap is created using non-green processes).

Starch-based materials, in addition to being environmentally friendly, are also static-free. This makes them perfect for cushioning computers or other electronics.

Popcorn is a great alterative packing materials. Considered an innovation in the packing industry, popcorn is easily biodegradable. If you use popcorn as a packing material, make sure it is unbuttered and unsalted.

Post-consumer waste paper is made from 100% recycled material and can be used as cushioning or wrapping for fragile items.

Recycle Before and After the Move

Recycling should be a big part of the process when you're cleaning out your old home. During cleanup, you may find that you have a lot that you don't want to transport to your new home. Old magazines can be recycled with your other paper products, unwanted books can be donated to a local library, and electronics, like computers, can either be donated or dropped off at your local recycling facility. Some electronic manufacturers will also accept old electronic equipment for recycling. These are just a few examples.

TIP: You can use old paper goods, like magazines, as cushioning in your boxes or as wrapping material for fragile items.

Once you've unpacked everything in your new home, you'll have another recycling opportunity. If you've chosen your packing materials carefully, you should be able to recycle almost all of them. Cardboard boxes should be disassembled for easy pickup. Newsprint and other paper goods you that used to wrap or cushion your belongings should be gathered together into the appropriate paper recycling bin. Finally, find out what day recyclables are picked up in your new neighborhood, so you know when to bring yours out to the curb. If you don't want to wait for recycling day, you could always drop your recyclables off at a local recycling facility.

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on August 27, 2009 - Moving Expert
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