Did you know the average American produce around 4.4 pounds of trash per day? According to the EPA, that amounts to a staggering 254 million tons of garbage thrown away every year in the U.S. Even more surprising is that more than 33 percent of our country’s waste stems from packing supplies. While a significant portion of this figure comes from retail goods shipped across the country (Amazon alone sends an estimated 608 millions packages per year), it also includes  waste produced when people relocate. Here are a few simple steps you can take to make your move eco-friendly.

Minimize

An easy way to “go green” is to reduce the number of possessions you own. Fewer belongings of course means fewer boxes; and fewer boxes means less fuel used to transport those items. So before you dump the contents of your junk drawer into a suitcase, take time to assess. Evaluate every item and ask yourself if it’s something that adds value to your life and is worth transporting to your new home. If not, donate it to a local charity, give it to a friend or perhaps sell it in a garage sale. You’ll decrease your carbon footprint, help others and simplify your life in the process.

Reuse

Start saving packing supplies in the months leading up to your move. Keep any sizeable boxes you receive in the mail and store them in a clean, dry space in your house. You can also stop by a grocery store and ask the manager if there are any old boxes they’re willing to give away.

Pack thoughtfully

Start packing your belongings several weeks in advance of your move date. When you’re pressed for time, you’ll be tempted to quickly pop possessions into boxes without evaluating how you’re using the space. Take your time and ensure you’re making the most of each container. Pack clothing, blankets and stuffed animals in unfilled areas between heavy items to secure them in place and maximize space. Fill empty chests with towels and linens. Stack lamp shades on top of each other. Pack tightly, but don’t overload — if a box breaks, it can slow down your move and potentially damage your items.

Get creative

Before you buy more packing supplies, take a few minutes and survey your existing possessions. Old clothes, rags and towels destined for the garbage bin make great substitutes for packing peanuts and bubble wrap. Use clean socks to protect kitchen glasses and save paper. Fitted sheets can stretch around furniture to keep it scratch-free.

Recycle!

When your move is complete, find a friend who’s relocating and might need boxes. You can also call your local Goodwill or Salvation Army chapter to see if they will take box donations, or ask area churches if they are in need of packing supplies. If you can’t give your old boxes away, remove all material — like tape and paper — from the cardboard, break the boxes down and pop them in your recycling bin. Old sheets, towels and rags can be donated to a local animal shelter. They’ll be used for bedding, cleaning up messes and drying off wet dogs.

If you have any questions about how you can achieve an efficient, eco-friendly move, give us a call! We would love to give you advice and create a plan suited perfectly for your needs.

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