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Green Ways to Reduce Waste

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You’re likely to go through a lot of packing materials that you’ll just end up throwing out. Instead, use items your already have, like luggage and other containers as boxes or clothing to protect fragile items.

There is no doubt that moving can be hard. It can also be hard on the environment. With all of the cardboard boxes and packing materials you use, a lot of these items can end up in landfills or littering the streets. By keeping in mind the green mantra of 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," you can lessen the impact of your move on the environment.

Use fewer packing materials

One of the easiest ways to be green during your move is simply to reduce the amount of moving supplies you use. This will result in less waste after the move. Instead of using just boxes to transport your goods, try to pack some of your goods into items that can hold other items. For instance, you can pack up your suitcases with clothes, use hampers and (cleaned out) garbage cans to transport some things, and leave desk and dresser drawers filled up during the move. By using things that you need to take to your new home anyway as containers, you won't have to get as many cardboard boxes.

There are also several ways to reduce your dependence on other packing materials. While it may be worth buying unprinted newsprint to wrap up your artwork or fancy china, you will end up wasting a lot of paper if you use it to protect all of your items. Instead, try using your towels or clothing to protect certain items.

TIP: By using towels and clothes to wrap your goods, you can further eliminate the number of boxes, as you won't need to put these items into their own boxes.


Another important way to be green during your move is to reuse items and materials. Instead of buying completely new moving supplies, you can simply use things you already have. You can wrap up individual plates and glasses with old newspaper rather than buying unprinted newsprint. Any old blankets you have lying around the house can be used as moving blankets. Just use a blanket to cover your TV, table, chairs, and any other large objects you don't want to get scratched.

Though you might want to get new cardboard boxes to carry any expensive or heavy items, pre-used boxes can be utilized for more durable goods. You can acquire cardboard boxes through a number of ways:

  • You might have some boxes in your garage from a previous move.
  • You can borrow boxes from a friend who has moved recently.
  • Ask an employee of a supermarket or other store if they have any cardboard boxes you can take.
  • Save boxes from appliances you have bought or from packages you have received in the mail.

TIP: You can also reduce the amount of fuel you use to get to your new home. Check out the guides on green driving to learn how!

By using less packing materials in the first place, you will have less waste to worry about after your move. Additionally, by using materials you already have, you won't have to worry about being left with piles of newsprint and bubble wrap. All of these tips will help you to have a greener move by reducing the amount of waste during the process.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 11, 2010

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