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Moving House Sustainably

Everyone is always looking for ways to save in the hip pocket, and these days saving money and living sustainably go hand in hand.  Let’s explore some of the areas you can save money while moving and help the planet.

It’s an all too familiar part of life these days to move house.  84% of people renting moved home at least once in the last 5 years, and 18% of them were moving because they wanted a bigger residence.  Therefore each time they move there’s more packing that needs to be done.

The average move uses roughly 30 Kilograms of cardboard.  Australians only recycle around 50% of the cardboard boxes they use for moving.  The rest ends up in land fill, most of which takes over 2 months to decompose. 

Whether you are downsizing or upsizing the message to everyone is reduce, reuse and recycle.  Before you start to pack it’s a good time to have a clear out, but we don’t want all your old things ending up in land fill.  Remember one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  Have a garage sale to sell all your unwanted items and make a few bucks to put towards your move.  Anything that doesn’t sell you can donate to your local charity shop.

If you have old appliances that you can’t donate/sell or are unusable then click here to find out how to dispose of them sustainably.   

If you need to replace an electrical appliance or upgrade your old one it’s a good time to do this before you move.  That way you can get the old appliance picked up before you move and the new appliance you buy delivered to your new address, saving on your removal costs. 

Compare prices and the annual running cost on thousands of electrical appliances, such as fridges, ovens and coffee machines here.

Now you have cleared everything out it’s time to get ready to pack.  You’re going to need boxes and packing products. 

Start collecting packing material in advance of your move. Also think if you know someone who is moving before you or that has moved recently?  Ask them to keep all their packing products and boxes and reuse these. 

Green Packing Products

As much as possible use your towels and linen to wrap up all your fragile items.  Use your quilt covers and pillows to pack precious items into boxes. 

If you find you still have items left over and you need bubble wrap go green!

Yes we literally mean buy green coloured bubble wrap that has been recycled.  In the moving industry you will usually find that green coloured items are often biodegradable, recycled or derived from renewable resources like vegetable oils.  Always check the label to be sure, this is just to give you a guide.

Look for ‘100% OXO-BIODEGRADABLE’ bubble wrap, this is fully recyclable and fully biodegradable should it end up in land fill, minimising its environmental impact.

Packing paper is another popular item for wrapping crockery and glass ware in.  Where possible keep old newspapers and use them.  If you need to buy packing paper use paper that is 100% recycled and fully compostable.

Packing Peanuts are great gap fillers and for providing your fragile items with a cushioned travel.  Look for green peanuts that are 100% biodegradable and compostable. 

A great service some companies provide is to take your packing products away when you’re finished and reuse or recycle them!

Sustainable Boxes

When it comes to boxes for packing your belongings in, if you can’t find them for free, you have a few options.

Option 1:  You can use a company that provides you with Plastic Boxes instead of cardboard boxes, they will drop the boxes off for you to pack and pick them up when you have moved house and unpacked.  This means no boxes need to be stored, recycled or end up in land fill.  If the box is damaged they will be repaired/recycled to make a new box so no waste.  These boxes have a 10 – 20 year life span in comparison to a box which may only last a few months.

Option 2: You can rent cardboard boxes from several sources and return them after your use.  Keep in mind with cardboard boxes they are not as durable as the plastic boxes in option 1.  The average is around 4 moves from a box before it’s unusable.  Ensure you use a company that recycle their boxes when they are damaged.

Option 3: Buy your own boxes, especially if you move every 6 months to a year.  I know this may sound a lot but this is the reality some people face so purchasing boxes will save you money over renting. 

Ensure they are stored in a dry area, storing in an area susceptible to damp will only ruin the boxes and see you having to buy more.  When the boxes are unusable ensure they get recycled and don’t end up going to land fill.

Cardboard boxes are not as reliable as the boxes from option one, as the bottom can fall out of them if packed with heavy items or they can fall apart if they get wet along with all your belongings.

We would recommend using the plastic boxes mentioned in option 1 for the most sustainable move.

Removalist

Before you call your removalist it’s imperative that you estimate the amount you need to move correctly otherwise they might not fit all your stuff on the removal truck. They will need to come back which uses double the fuel increasing the carbon foot print on your move.

If you decide to do it yourself ensure you get the right size truck so you don’t have to do several runs.  It’s great to have friends help out with the move but it’s not very sustainable to have 5 or 6 cars making 4 or 5 trips with all your boxes.

The less trips the more sustainable your move!

If you have a tip to share or a question we haven’t covered please email The Save Energy Save Money Team here

Happy Moving!

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