Moving across the country is a stressful, energy-draining experience. It’s difficult to remember everything you have to do, and the cost can cut a big hole in your bank account.
Many of us also worry about the stress that moving can place on the environment. It’s difficult to drive far without thinking about the excess pollution we’re putting into the air.
Transportation is a leading cause of air pollution and greenhouse gasses. According to the EPA, transportation is the second leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Because more than 90 percent of our vehicle fuel is petroleum based, we release an estimated 7,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.
Aside from the air pollution effects, there’s also the problem of waste when you do a big move. People often toss a lot of perfectly good furniture, clothing, and other household items, which fill up junkyards and increase the problem of waste in this country.
All the pollutants and material waste scream about the need for us to switch to eco-friendly moving techniques. Here are some of the things almost anyone can do during their next move to reduce the impact on the environment.
When you spend less on a move, several good things happen. First, you’re in a better financial position, and that helps the economy and encourages further spending in the eco-friendly sector.
Second, it may reduce your use of greenhouse-gas-emitting substances. People automatically assume it will be expensive to move a long distance no matter what, so many of them don’t put time and effort into reducing costs.
But there are always choices that can be made to make moving more affordable. Here are a few:
- Use space-saving bags and fewer boxes to make everything fit better in the moving truck. You might be able to purchase or lease a smaller truck and/or avoid multiple trips.
- Instead of buying new packing boxes, use old ones from around the house. Pick up used boxes from grocery stores to reduce waste and encourage recycling.
- Donate, sell, or recycle some of your belongings so you don’t have to move them all.
- For items you need to ship, identify an eco-friendly shipping method that’s fast, efficient, and convenient.
Each of these low-cost moving options has direct and indirect impacts on the environment. You’ll be able to move more efficiently and reduce pollution.
Use Recyclable Supplies
Cardboard boxes are the typical packing choice for moving goods. Though they can be recycled and used again, it’s better to go for reusable cartons.
More and more moving companies have recycled plastic bins that can be used up to 400 times. The companies will provide these bins on loan to anyone who doesn’t want to contribute to waste from cardboard boxes.
Biodegradable forms of boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and foam wrap are also highly recommended. Plastic can take millions of years to decompose in landfills, so alternative packing materials that break down quickly are a highly desirable alternative.
Recycle Old Goods
Household goods that can’t be sold at a yard sale are usually taken to the landfill where they contribute to the growing problem of waste disposal and groundwater contamination. Instead of contributing to the problem, donate or recycle your household goods.
Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Deseret Industries, and other thrift-store organizations in your area will take your gently used household goods and put them in the hands of someone who needs them. Many of these programs also have recycling programs in which they reuse items that can’t be sold.
For example, Deseret Industries takes old clothing that is not suitable for resale, recycles it, and uses it as stuffing in such furnishings as mattresses. If you don’t know how to recycle your products to reduce the problem of waste, hand the items over to someone who does.
Choose Better Transportation Options
Most moving trucks have terrible fuel economy. Maybe it would be better to say they have none.
Even a small truck will get about nine miles per gallon and the large ones can boast of no more than five mpg. In addition, the EPA estimates that a small truck will emit 22 pounds of carbon dioxide for every 10 miles it drives, and a large truck may eject 40 pounds over the same distance.
If you’re traveling thousands of miles across the country, think of the impact this will have on the environment! You might wish to look into greener fuel options.
Biodiesel fuel, for example, reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air. You can also reduce emissions by transporting your car via train rather than driving it across the country. Any change you can make to reduce CO2 is a win for the environment … and indeed, all of us.
Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness
Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.
How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature
Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.
While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.
When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness. Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.
4 Practical Ways to Disconnect
If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:
1. Switch to a New Phone Plan
It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.
One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.
2. Get Rid of Social Media
Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).
If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.
3. Create Quiet Hours
If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.
4. Build Community
Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.
As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.
Untether Your Life
If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.
6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move
Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.
6 Tips for a Greener Move
Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.
1. Maximize Each Trip
When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.
If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.
2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep
The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.
3. Reuse Moving Boxes
Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.
4. Get Creative With Packing
Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.
5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies
Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.
6. Forward Your Mail ASAP
Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.
Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful
Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.
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