When it comes to sustainability, everything counts.
Making your daily habits greener can lead to a massive impact over time, but it's just as important to embark on big projects and monumental changes with an environmental focus at the forefront of your thoughts.
For instance, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate 4.51 pounds of municipal solid waste per person, per day. Maybe you've cut back on the amount of disposable goods you consume, bringing down your daily average. That won't do much good if you can fill a whole dumpster with your trash come moving day.
If you're getting ready to move this year, you may be wondering how you can avoid some common pitfalls. Eco-friendly moves entail generating less waste for landfills and limiting your carbon footprint.
Here are three tips to keep you on track for a sustainable move.
1) Prune the excess ahead of time
Chances are, if you have a move coming up, it won't take you by surprise. You'll have a lot of advance notice, so get started early to avoid filling trash bags in a frenzy when the moving van shows up.
First, identify items you no longer use. With enough planning time, you can hold a garage sale to find good homes for your used goods and scrape together a little extra cash. You can give away large-ticket items, too, or donate them. There may be family members or even charities in your area who will gladly transport bulky giveaways themselves.
Whatever you can't sell or donate, recycle it. Trashing anything should be the last resort.
One common mistake is letting perishable food build up in your fridge. Slow your grocery shopping in the last couple of weeks leading up to the move, and stretch out what you do have by tossing it in the freezer.
2) Pack with a purpose
When it comes down to packing for your eco-friendly move, start out by reusing boxes from your last move, if you saved them. As a second step, sustainable movers should consider hunting for used cardboard boxes or storage crates that are being given away or sold on the cheap by local businesses.
Next, instead of reaching for foam peanuts, pack strategically by using towels, comforters, blankets and other natural cushions from around the house to fill the empty space in your boxes. As with our first tip, this piece of advice is easier to accomplish if you start early.
When all else fails, opt for compostable, biodegradable or otherwise reusable containers and packing materials.
3) Use green movers
There are some things you can do by yourself, but moving isn't a game of solitaire. You're probably going to need assistance with at least some parts of the process.
Find a moving company that values sustainability as much as you do. They can do a lot to minimize the environmental impact of your move.
For instance, if you've hired a truck or van, they can plot lower-impact routes, drive in an environmentally conscious manner and reduce the time they spend idling, which is no small matter on its own. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that 6 billion gallons of fuel are wasted by idling heavy-duty and light-duty vehicles on an annual basis.
As part of our commitment to sustainability, Atlas Agents are regularly assessed and reevaluated to receive and maintain their Sustainable Agent certification.
At Atlas Van Lines, we believe the moving industry has a responsibility to commit to high standards for green material management, transportation, administration, facilities maintenance and community commitment. Find an Atlas Agent who can serve as your sustainable moving partner today.