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Green Moving – How to Save Money and Save The Planet

By: Sean Zharfati

There are many reasons why you might be relocating but whether you’ve been offered a new job on the other side of the country, got married, or simply need more space for your growing family, there are numerous ways you can limit the impact of your move on the environment.

Green moving doesn’t just mean upping sticks to Bhutan (the world’s only carbon sink), pitching a tent, or taking everything by hand and walking to your new home. So how exactly can you lower the environmental cost of moving home?

Practical Tips for Green Moving

If you’re serious about minimizing the environmental impact of your relocation, then a good way to think about your move is by splitting into stages. Don’t think of your move as a one-off event; although everything helps, how you plan your move will have a bigger effect than anything you do on the day of the move. Don’t forget, a new home is also an opportunity to change you routines. The choices you make in each of these phases of your move can make a difference, not just to the environment but also to your pocket.

  1. If possible, look for a home that’s within a 30 minute cycle, walk or transit-ride from your place of work. Aside from the environmental benefits of walking or cycling, it will save you money and keep you in shape.  Transit is a great alternative, especially if you don’t fancy cycling during the winter months!
  2. Use the opportunity of moving home to get rid of stuff you don’t want. You can donate unwanted items to charity, sell them, recycle unusable/unsalable items or as a last resort; throw stuff out – a lighter load means less fuel used during the transit as well as a smaller bill from the moving company.
  3. Choose a moving company that runs its trucks on bio-diesel or other eco-friendly fuels (like we do!).
  4. Use plastic packing crates or re-used cardboard boxes for packing your possessions. Most moving companies will be able to provide you with plastic crates for at least some of your items, and if your moving company can’t provide you with plastic crates for everything, you can rent crates from another company. Plastic boxes are also self-sealing which reduces the need for tape. If you can’t get hold of plastic crates, or don’t want to pay for them, then approach local stores, most will happily provide you with cardboard boxes which can be used for packing your possessions.
  5. Green moving isn’t just limited to packing or transit. Using environmentally friendly detergent products to clean your new home is a small way to reduce environmental damage. It’s a small gesture but one you can continue once you’ve moved in. Even a small difference makes for a greener planet.
  6. Where possible wrap delicate items in towels, blankets and sweaters. If this is done properly it can reduce the need for plastic bubble wrap without risking damage to your fragile items. If you have to use plastic bubble wrap then make sure it is recyclable.
  7. Use energy saving light bulbs throughout your new home. They last much longer and use a fraction of the energy of standard bulbs and that saves you money.
  8. Have trees planted – If you have your own garden then planting a fruit tree is a great idea. Even if you don’t have the space having trees planted in a specially designated forest will help the environment and this can be done for as little as $10.

Of course there are loads of other things you could do to make your lifestyle more environmentally friendly once you move into your new home, depending on where you’re going to be living. Just remember the less you transport to and use in your new home, the less you’ll end up spending.

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