Did you know the average person moves 11 or more times throughout their life? And all of the boxes and disposable packing materials the average relocator uses – plus the fuel required to move those belongings – have inherent environmental impacts that add up over time.

If you’re trying to be a more eco-conscious human, you should know it’s 100% possible to make your Rochester move more environmentally friendly. And the best part is, it won’t take a whole lot more work or additional expense to do so.

Below, the professional movers and packers at Ace Moving & Warehousing have ten helpful moving tips that can help you reduce your carbon footprint.

1. Hire a Professional Moving Company

Professional movers and packers are specifically trained to conduct efficient relocations, which means they know how to keep waste to an absolute minimum.

A moving company will also consolidate trips to your home and find the most efficient route to your destination in an effort to conserve fuel. What’s more, when you opt for full packing services, your movers will collect any recyclable packing materials you no longer need/want and drop them off at the appropriate facility.

While hiring professional movers will certainly involve a more substantial investment than doing everything yourself, it’s well worth the cost. Check out the many benefits of hiring a moving service to learn more.

Not sure what to look for in a quality moving company? Check out our tips for hiring movers in the Midwest for some helpful info.

2. Pack Your Things in Reusable Containers

During a move, it’s nearly impossible to avoid using boxes, but you can definitely cut down on the number of boxes you need by using packing containers you already own! Packing this way can really help cut down on the number of cardboard boxes you’ll need to use, which will naturally "greenify" your move.

What kind of packing containers might you have lying around that you didn’t even know were there? You’ve probably got plenty of useful items around the house, such as:

  • Duffel bags and gym bags
  • Reusable grocery totes and bags
  • Sturdy plastic storage bins
  • Suitcases
  • Dresser drawers (just leave your clothes in them rather than taking clothing out and packing it separately)
  • Trash bins (put a liner in before you load things inside)
  • Five-gallon buckets
  • Large, sturdy baskets

Any item (or receptacle) you own that can fit things inside of it can be filled up with smaller things to function as a makeshift “box.” The more stuff you can pack in the containers you already own, the less waste you’ll create, and the less waste you’ll have to deal with when unpacking at your new home. 

3. Repurpose Old Boxes

Even though online shopping isn’t the most environmentally friendly practice, you’ve probably ordered your fair share of items on the internet. And what do those items come packed in? You guessed it: cardboard boxes.

If you routinely shop online or even at large wholesale stores, you’ve likely taken home your fair share of boxes, and those boxes can always be repurposed during your move.

Be sure to read up on these other budget-friendly packing ideas that can help you save money while being kinder to the environment, too.

4. Use Household Items as Protective Packing Materials

If you’re planning to pack your own things and you want to reduce waste, try getting creative with your packing materials! You probably have several items around the house that can serve as protective cushioning and help you avoid using non-sustainable packing materials.

What kind of items are we getting at here? Things like:

  • Kitchen and bath towels
  • Old newspapers
  • Bed linens
  • Comforters
  • Pillows
  • Clothing

If you’re hiring professional movers and packers to help you out, consider asking if they offer recyclable moving materials. Since the professionals will likely use their own packing products, you probably won’t be able to use random household items as packing materials since doing so may present a liability issue for the moving company.

However, if the company has green moving materials or knows of a collection point where you can recycle cardboard boxes and old plastic, that’ll help reduce your carbon footprint. You can also check out recyclefinder.com to find a recycling facility near your new home where you can take your used packing supplies.

Alternatively, you can list used supplies on an online marketplace like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. That way, other local folks who are looking for gently used packing materials can come to your new home and pick them up from you.

5. Gather Used Packing Supplies

Don’t have enough creative packing supplies lying around your house? Ask friends and family if they have any old boxes or packing materials in storage. Alternatively, you can check out Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone in your area is giving away used packing boxes from a recent move.

You can also ask around at local grocery stores and box stores to see if they have any old boxes out back, but be aware that used box quality may be questionable. If you get old boxes from retail stores, be sure to perform a quick weight test before you use them for your belongings. That way, you’ll know in advance whether they’re sturdy enough to protect your things.

Keep in mind, too, that if you choose to pack in used boxes, you may need to use extra packing tape to provide additional stability. You’ll also need to be extra cautious when transferring boxes to and from the moving truck.

6. Use Recyclable or Biodegradable Packing Materials

If you choose not to use reusable packing containers, you can still make your move more eco-friendly by remembering to recycle rather than toss your packing supplies. Boxes and packing paper are both recyclable, and certain types of packing peanuts are, too.

If you’d like to take your eco-friendly efforts to new heights, you may even be able to find compostable cling wrap that can be used to secure several types of items during your relocation. When you’re finished unpacking, simply toss the cling wrap in with your food and/or yard waste, where it will naturally decompose over time.

7. Consolidate Trips

It’s no secret that driving isn’t the most environmentally friendly practice, and relocators are notorious for making many trips throughout the packing and moving process.

But if you’re trying to minimize your environmental footprint, one of the most effective ways to do that is to reduce your fuel consumption by consolidating your trips.

Consolidating errands isn’t tough; it just takes a bit of planning. Before you dash out the door, make a list of everything you need to do and pick up while you’re out and about. If you need to pick up a couple of supplies, see if you can acquire everything you need from a single store.

If you need to put items in storage, try to fit as much stuff in your vehicle as you can to reduce the need for multiple trips.

8. Donate Items You No Longer Need

The more stuff you pack and load onto the moving truck, the harder the vehicle’s engine will have to work to transport your stuff. And the harder the engine must work, the less efficient it becomes, and the more fuel it runs through to get your belongings where they need to go.

When you downsize before you move, you’ll end up taking less stuff with you. And the less you take, the more you’ll cut down on the emissions generated from both your moving vehicle and any personal vehicles you drive to your new home.

That’s why you should seriously consider getting rid of unnecessary clutter and all the things you no longer use before you actually move. But when you get rid of stuff, don’t toss it in the trash!

Instead, when you’re organizing your packing, designate piles for items you want to donate and recycle, as well as a pile for items you have no choice but to toss. To make your packing process as eco-friendly as possible, though, make sure you keep your “toss” pile as small as possible. Only get rid of the items you (or someone else) truly cannot make use of.

If you’re getting rid of non-functional electronics, definitely don’t throw those away. Most electronics and even batteries can be recycled, so check in with local recycling centers to find out where you can take such items.

Check out this resource for a variety of websites that can help you find a Rochester recycling service that accepts old electronics.

9. Bring Unwanted Dry Goods to a Food Bank

If you’re hiring a moving company, be aware that food may be one of many non-allowable items, depending on the type of food it is. And even if they can (or you’re handling your relocation on your own), moving food may not be the best idea.

Not only do dry goods take up space and add more weight to your load, but there’s also a chance the packaging will break in transit. And if it does, you could end up with a major mess inside the truck or trailer that’ll only add more to your move-related workload.

If you choose not to take dry goods to your new home, you can donate unopened items to your local food bank. In doing so, you’ll help cut down on the 113 billion pounds of food waste the U.S. generates annually while giving low-income families a few much-needed (and appreciated) meals. If you have unopened perishables, you may be able to donate those, too.

10. Keep Dishware Easily Accessible

The kitchen is a notorious pain to pack up, which is why most people try to tackle it first – but that may not be the greenest way of doing things.

When you pack up all your dishware and utensils in advance of your move date, you may end up relying on disposable plates, flatware, and cups for every meal. And as you know, those things aren’t great for the environment. Even if you use paper items rather than styrofoam or plastic, you’re still creating unnecessary trash.

Though packing up dishes at the last minute will take some extra time, it’s worth it if you’re really concerned about unnecessary waste. You don’t have to leave out every dish. Simply set aside enough of them to get you and your family through the packing process, so you don't need to use non-sustainable kitchenware.

Alternatively, consider purchasing a few pieces of reusable camping kitchenware. When you need a meal, use those dishes instead of leaving your regular dishware out. And if you order takeout, make sure you tell the restaurant to hold the plastic!

Looking for a Reliable Rochester Moving Company?

If you’re planning a relocation and need a moving company you can trust, our team at Ace Moving & Warehousing is here to serve you. Since 1958, we’ve proudly served the Rochester area, and no matter where you’re moving to, we strive to make your relocation as smooth and stress-free as possible.

To learn more about our moving services or request a moving quote, give our team a call today at 507-288-3341, or send us a message online, and we’ll get back to you promptly.