Whether you are moving across town or across the country, one of the questions many people are asking is whether it’s possible to make an eco-friendly move. As we have become more aware of the harsh impact of the environment, it’s becoming common place to look for ways to save the earth on a daily basis. Do you want to try making your move a “green move” vs. a “traditional move”? Here are some guidelines to get you on your way and down the road, the green way.

Find the Right Mover:

The first step is to decide if an environmentally friendly move is right for you.

When you decide whether to make a green move, the questions you ask a prospective moving company will be a little different. The first thing you need to tell a company you contact is that you are looking for an environmentally friendly company for your move. If they have no idea what that means, chances are you need to move on in your search. However, keep in mind that just because a moving company doesn’t brand themselves as “environmentally friendly” doesn’t mean they aren’t open to the idea. So ask anyway! Even if they don’t end up being able to help you, at the very least you are contributing by sending companies the message that this kind of service is in demand.

  • What kind of trucks do they use? A few companies are using bio-diesel these days. If you find one, consider yourself lucky. If not, ask if they try to use as few trucks as possible when moving, combining long distance moves into one truck when possible.
  • Do they use recyclable packing materials?
  • Do they use used boxes, or even rent boxes?
  • Are their movers willing to help you pack as efficiently as possible, utilizing containers you already have or use containers you provide?

Interview a couple of traditional moving companies as well, and ask them similar questions about their moving practices.

Get price quotes, guarantees and details of their moving services before you decide whether to go with an eco friendly moving firm. And as always, no matter what type of moving company you choose, get everything in writing.

Pros of a Green Move:

  • It reduces your carbon footprint, contributing to a better quality of life for us all.
  • Buying used boxes can be less expensive then buying new.
  • Using bio-diesel trucks reduces pollution.
  • De-cluttering before the move means less to pack and ship, and cuts shipping weight costs.
  • Encourage the recycling of electronics.

Cons:

  • Packing materials can be heavier, especially if you are reusing things like blankets, sheets, and newspapers instead of packing peanuts. But hey, most of those things were going to get packed anyway!
  • Moving companies using biodiesel trucks can be hard to find in some areas.
  • It takes some advance planning and research.

Eco-Friendly Moving Tips:

  • De-clutter ruthlessly before you move. The less to move, the less you will need in packing material--which will also save you money, by the way!
  • Plan ahead and start gathering packing containers from stores, friends and purchase you make.
  • Organize and start packing weeks before your move instead of waiting until the last minute. The more organized you are, the more items will fit into each container, and you will use fewer containers in the long run.
  • Part of moving includes cleaning, both when leaving your old place and setting up in your new home. Continue the spirit of your “green move” by using eco-friendly cleaning products along the way.
  • When setting up your change of address at the post office, make sure you also ask them how to stop junk mail from being forwarded to your new home.
  • When choosing between a green move and a traditional move, most people can find ways to work with their moving company to reduce their impact on the environment. In the end, a green move vs. a traditional move is a pretty easy choice.
  • Freecycle or Craigslist can be used to not only find recycled packing containers before your move; it’s a great way to recycle them again after your move.

Kathy Wilson Woodard is an author, columnist and home decorating expert. You can read more articles written by Kathy on her websites: http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com and http://www.DecoratingYourSmallSpace.com.