Last year, 27.1 million Americans moved. The vast majority of those moves were anywhere from a 50 to 2,000 mile trip. That’s a lot of moving, energy and emissions!
If you’re looking for tips on moving sustainably, we’ve got plenty of solutions. From reducing your load to packing smarter to choosing the most eco-friendly travel options, you can make a smaller environmental impact when you move. Get started with Wheaton’s suggestions and leave a smaller carbon footprint when moving your home or business.
Definition of Carbon Footprint
“Carbon footprint” is a term we often hear, but what does it actually mean?
Your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gasses you produce during your lifetime. These gasses include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gasses. You produce these emissions by using appliances, traveling, buying food and creating waste.
To get an idea of the size and impact of your carbon footprint, use a carbon footprint calculator to estimate yours. The EPA’s carbon footprint calculator will ask you questions about your home energy use, waste and travel and then measure your footprint in pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
Sustainable Moving: Reduce Your Load
The most simple way to reduce your footprint is to reduce the load you’re moving. Less stuff means you need less energy to move it.
Let’s take this simple idea a step further and look at how to reduce your stuff in a smart and environmentally sustainable way that doesn’t involve putting it all in a dumpster.
Downsize your stuff
Start early and begin to sort the things you no longer use or need. Going room to room can be a good strategy. Organize items by type: clothing, electronics, kitchen supplies, tools etc. Dedicate space for each category.
Donate to sustainable causes
Organizations that help families in need are often grateful for clothing donations and household goods. Community forums like Nextdoor are great ways to get in touch with the right people. Some organizations will even pick up items to save you the hassle.
If you don’t find a specific organization, Goodwill and Salvation Army are great places to drop unneeded items that can be reused instead of condemning them to a landfill.
Dispose of Hazardous Waste
Cleaning out your home will inevitably lead you to that stack of old paint cans in the basement. While this is not the most exciting part of moving, dropping paint, pesticides, electronics, oil and other hazardous waste off at your local disposal center will ensure they are properly disposed of with minimal environmental impact.
Use Eco Friendly Moving Supplies
Cardboard boxes are the foundation of the moving industry. Fortunately they are a reusable and recyclable resource. Eco-friendly moving boxes are simply the ones that you pick up from your neighbor after they finish with them and pass on when you’re done with your move. Nextdoor, Craigslist and local bulletin boards are great ways to find free moving boxes.
You probably already have a lot of sustainable moving supplies on hand, it’s just a matter of repurposing them. Spare yourself and the earth from buying more packaging with these suggestions:
- Use blankets, towels and even clothing as packing materials.
- Throw old sheets over a mattress instead of plastic cloth.
- Save newspapers and magazines to wrap fragile items.
- Use empty drawers, luggage, laundry baskets and storage bins to hold items.
With a little ingenuity, you can use items you already have to make your move go smoothly and reduce your carbon impact.
Environmentally Friendly Moving, Long Distance
If you’re moving a long distance, you’re also dealing with travel logistics. Airline and automobile travel contribute heavily to your carbon footprint but there are ways to cut the amount they add.
Consider using rail travel vs airlines. If you do need to fly, use a greener airline and book a non-stop flight to minimize the number of flights you need. If your move requires time in a hotel, book LEED certified lodging. These businesses have proven to reduce waste, conserve energy and water, reduce greenhouse emissions and demonstrate environmental stewardship.
Steps to Reduce Carbon Footprint in New Home
Moving into a new home is a perfect time to evaluate your carbon footprint. A new home is an opportunity to cut your energy use and make your lifestyle more environmentally friendly.
- Install efficient Energy Star appliances
- Insulate walls and roofs
- Use low flow fixtures
- Compost and recycle
- Trade out old light bulbs with LED bulbs
- Walk, bike and use public transport
It’s never too late to make your carbon footprint a little smaller. Your new home could be the right vehicle for change.
Offset Your Carbon Footprint with a Donation
Did you know you can donate money to offset your carbon footprint? Terrapass and Myclimate are two of many organizations that use your donation (based on the amount of carbon you want to offset) to invest in renewable energy and emission reduction projects. You can even use their carbon calculators to estimate the footprint of your move and donate accordingly.
Hire an Efficient Moving Company
When you hire an experienced moving company like Wheaton, you know that your move is being handled as efficiently as possible. We move people across the country everyday and we know how to maximize our time and resources to make your move effortless and less impactful. We plan the fastest, most direct route and have the moving trucks and equipment to safely move your load all at once.
Contact Wheaton Today
Get in touch with your local Wheaton agent or get a ballpark moving estimate today! We know that you not only want your move to be easy, but you want your move to be safe for your family and the planet. Our personal touch at every step can make a big difference in the long run.