10 Tips For a Sustainable House Move

June 9 2020, Matt Brownsey

Did you know that the average house move generates about 17 kilos of CO2 emissions? To put that into perspective, that is the equivalent of charging 2551 smartphones! Needless to say, a house move leaves a larger carbon footprint than you probably imagined. For tips and tricks on how to make a more sustainable and eco-friendly house move, read our complete guide below!

We all have good intentions but I know what you’re thinking: “moving house is stressful enough, and now I have to make sure it eco-friendly!?” Well, if I was to say that making your house move more sustainable would increase your efficiency and save you money, would you be more receptive? Now you’re listening. You may not even be aware that some of the moving habits you have are both unsustainable and actually inefficient. Therefore, I’ve laid out the following tips so that you can not only make an eco-friendly move but also improve efficiency and save money.

Reduce Your Move

“It’s a very strange phenomenon, but when we reduce what we own and essentially ‘detox’ our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well.” – Marie Kondo

The first step to making a sustainable house move is to reduce the number of belongings you want to move. Although it may seem scary to say goodbye to some of your most loyal items, I assure you that the process can be rewarding in many different ways.

Firstly, by reducing the size of your move, you are decreasing the weight of the load. As a result, a smaller load could warrant a smaller van and a lighter move requires less fuel to move. This can greatly reduce the emissions produced in transit. Furthermore, in case you didn’t figure it out, a smaller move also means a cheaper move!

Now comes an important question. What do you do with all of the things you decided not to pack? If you are reaching for the bin bag, STOP! There are plenty of other options that are both more productive and more environmentally friendly than throwing everything away.

Garage sale

You can help subsidise the cost of your move by selling your used furniture to the local community or family and friends. This can contribute to a more “circular economy” and reduce the number of new items people buy. Also, remember to buy your new furniture from second-hand stores at your destination to continue your commitment to a circular economy. This will reduce the amount of waste in society and may even save you some money!

Donate to Charities

If you can afford to, another great way to offload unwanted furniture is to donate it. Small items can easily be dropped off at charity shops, such as Oxfam. If you are looking to maximise your sustainability impact, you could even donate money from furniture sales to an environmental charity like ClientEarth.

Donate Food

The UK wastes 4.5 tonnes of food each year! That’s a crazy amount of waste. Instead of throwing food away when moving house, we invite you to get creative. Try new recipes that incorporate the items on the deepest shelves of your cupboard. I know that the Heinz Tomato soup has been hidden at the back of your cupboard for probably months and you were not planning on eating it now, however, throwing it away is not the most sustainable solution! Once you have eaten everything you can, and you are left with just a few sachets of fajita mix and tins of tuna, it is still not the time for the bin! You can donate food to food banks and help put food on the table for those in need.

green moving

Pack Smart

Ugh, packing. Nobody likes packing but guess what? You have already reduced the amount you have to pack by selling and donating unessential items (bet you like your past-self now!). Now your packing process will be much quicker! In addition, you will also use less packing materials and create less waste!

Sustainable Boxes

The first step to packing is finding boxes.  There are a few ways to acquire boxes in a sustainable way.

  • You can ask your local supermarket to give you their leftover delivery boxes. They have an abundance of boxes that would otherwise be simply thrown away. Give them a new purpose and re-use them!
  • Rent reusable packing crates. Companies like CrateHireUK offer services that allow you to rent plastic boxes to pack your belongings. Then, once you have moved, you simply return them and they can be reused again for someone else’s move. These kinds of services can greatly reduce the amount of waste and the single-use of materials.

Get creative!

Pack creatively to further reduce waste and optimise space! We have all seen those amazing “packing hacks” online, so have some fun and give them a go! Optimise all your spaces by packing small items into larger hollow items (like saucepans, drawers or shoes). Do you have delicate items? Don’t rush to buy materials like bubble wrap or cotton wool to pad your boxes. Instead, you can use some of your clothes or towels to adequately pad your boxes. Think outside the box (ha!) and try and optimise your space to reduce waste!

Bio-degradable Bubblewrap

Bubble wrap is not a sustainable mover’s best friend. It is a single-use plastic that is often over-used when moving house. Many items you think require bubble wrap can be adequately protected by a few padded layers of clothes. Therefore, reserve your bubble wrap only for very delicate items. If you need bubblewrap then opt for eco-friendly “bio-degradable” bubble wrap. This special wrap is just as effective with the added bonus of decomposing much quicker than regular bubble wrap. This will help reduce your impact on landfills!

Green Cleaning

Once you are all packed up, most likely you will have to clean the house from top to bottom. Stains you never knew existed have suddenly appeared and you rush to the shop to buy your trusted cleaning products. However, did you ever consider the impact that the creation of these products had on the environment? Many of the ingredients are sourced unsustainably and the production can create harmful chemical fumes. So, before you go shopping, consider buying “green cleaning products“. These products are typically sourced more sustainably and left a smaller carbon footprint than their mainstream counterparts.

reusable boxes

Choose a Sustainable Mover

After all your sustainable efforts, it’s only right that you take the time to choose a sustainable moving company! Look to see if the moving company has any environmental initiatives or a foundation. Furthermore, do some research and look for companies who hold the following ISO accreditations:

AccreditationTitle
ISO 9001Quality Management
ISO 14001Environmental Management
ISO 45001Occupational Health & Safety
ISO 27001Information Security Management

Use technology, when possible, to engage with moving companies remotely. For instance, you can perform a moving survey over a video call. This will save a mover a journey in their car to perform a task that can easily be done over the internet!

Summary

I hope now you not only see the value in making a more sustainable house move but you are also inspired too. At the heart of it, a sustainable house move is about getting creative and doing more with less. So, see this is an exciting challenge or project next time you move house!

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