Packing up and moving home is inherently unfriendly to the environment. Think about it. You squash all of your worldly possessions into cardboard boxes, load them into a gas-guzzling van, drive across town, or worse, across the country, and do it all again, in reverse. The resulting waste and pollutants are bad news for mother earth.
But by making a few small changes, you can reduce your carbon footprint dramatically. It’s as simple as changing which belongings you pack, how you pack them, and how you transport them.
Check out our eco-friendly tips for a ‘greener’ move.
1. Recycle and resell
Moving home is the perfect opportunity to get rid of some of the things you’ve had in the dark recesses of the loft and most likely forgotten about over the years.
But when we say ‘get rid of’, we don’t mean ‘dump in the nearest bin’. We’re talking about taking the environmentally friendly option and recycling.
There are plenty of ways to do it. You can:
- Donate things to charity shops,
- List them on Freecycle
- Make a few pounds at a car boot sale, or on eBay. You can always hire a small storage unit to store the things you’re selling until they’re ready to post.
Once you’ve decluttered, you need to think about how you’re going to pack your possessions.
2. Pack intelligently
Don’t leave your packing until the last minute – it’ll end in tears. Give yourself plenty of time and pack the least essential items first, working methodically through the rooms in your house.
The most resourceful way to pack is to wrap things in towels, bedding and clothing you already have lying around the house.
For the items you can’t recycle or sell, you can make it a little easier on the environment by throwing items away in biodegradable bin bags.
3. Go paperless
Reducing paper consumption is a very simple way to help the environment. Consider this: it takes about 100 years for a tree to grow, but once grown, it will only produce, (on average), 17 reams of paper in its lifetime. Just think how quickly you get through 17 reams of paper in your office.
When getting quotes from removal companies, estate agents and new suppliers, check out their green credentials. Do they offer a paperless service? Many forward-thinking companies now offer online bill paying and paperless statements, such as British Gas, Southern Electric and BT.
4. Clean ecologically
Cleaning products are everywhere in our homes: on our dishes, countertops and furniture. But in our war on dirt and germs, we may actually be making things worse, as most of the conventional cleaning products we use are petroleum-based and have various health and environmental implications.
Look for products with an EU ecolabel, a voluntary label promoting environmental excellence. This online resource lists every eco-friendly product you can buy and where to buy it.
If you want to go even greener, there are plenty of natural products that’ll keep your house clean without the toxic side effects. For example, if you mix vinegar and bicarbonate of soda with a little warm water, you’ll have yourself a fantastic all-purpose cleaner.
Another natural product is black soap. Perfect for removing fatty deposits from cookers, extractor fans, worktops, sinks, it’s made from olive oil and is completely biodegradable.
5. Reduce your emissions
We all know that cars are bad for the environment. They release carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides – all of which are bad news. If this is the case for cars, imagine what damage a removal truck can do, with its multiple journeys across the country.
Luckily, removal companies are becoming more environmentally conscious. Choose a socially responsible removal and logistics company, for example which adds biodiesel (made of recycled cooking oil), to their fuel, to reduce CO2 emissions.