June 17 2021
With all the stress involved in moving house, not to mention the cost, the environmental impact you’ll be making by relocating probably doesn’t come high on your list of priorities – especially when you’ve a thousand and one other things to worry about.
But, at a time when we’re all far more aware of the effect we’re having on the world around us, there are some simple steps you can take that will certainly help when it comes to eco-friendly moving. Even the smallest of actions can go a long way to reducing your environmental footprint.
Below we’ve put together our top five ways to make your house move more eco-friendly.
Even before you think of packing, have a look around your home and see if there’s anything you really don’t need. And remember, be ruthless. Will you actually be using that fondue set again?
Decluttering before you move will mean you’ll be needing fewer boxes and packing materials. And with less stuff, you’ll spend less time packing and unpacking.
As some removal firms charge based on the weight and size of what they’re moving, you may even be saving money, especially if, after your clear out, you’re then able to use a smaller removal van.
And remember, charity shops will gladly take most smaller items you’ve discarded through decluttering.
Choose a greener removal company
There are now quite a few environmentally aware removal companies which use low-emission vehicles. So before you choose your mover, ask if their vans meet the standard for Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicles (EEV). As these vehicles have strict limits when it comes to particle emissions, they have far less of an impact on air quality.
After doing your initial research online, you may want quotes from two, three or even more removal companies. If you’re determined to move sustainably, you could just choose firms offering detailed quotes via video.
Getting a quote using video will cut the CO2 which would have been released during an actual visit to your home to do the survey. It may not seem a lot, but if you’re getting quotes from several companies, it can help towards a more eco-friendly move.
When it comes to packing away items ready for a move, buying brand new cardboard boxes isn’t the best idea if you’re interested in moving sustainably. It’s far better to ask your local supermarket if they have any leftover delivery boxes, which would otherwise have been thrown away.
Some removals firms can supply you with large plastic containers. As these will be used again and again, they’re a far better option than cardboard packing boxes. Another alternative is to use things you already have around the house to pack away smaller items. Things like suitcases or cupboard drawers are ideal.
If you do use cardboards, remember to store the boxes flat after you’ve finished with them as they can be used another three or four times, or give them to someone you know who is moving house. After they’ve exceeded their useful life, most cardboard boxes can easily be recycled.
After you’ve found your boxes, what about the packing you use to protect more fragile items. Well, plastic bubble wrap shouldn’t really be an option for eco-friendly moving, although some removal and self-storage companies do offer a biodegradable version.
Instead, try using things such as packaging paper, old newspapers and magazines or even junk mail. Start collecting these in the weeks before your move, or ask friends and family to help out. Jumpers, towels, socks and t-shirts are also great for filling gaps in your boxes.
With your boxes all packed, what do you seal them with? For moving sustainably, try and get hold of some sustainable paper packing tape. This is made from 100% recycled paper and uses a latex-based adhesive which is totally biodegradable.
Get rid of unwanted furniture
Moving home is often a time when we think about getting rid of furniture that has seen better days, or perhaps you’ve got furniture that just won’t fit in your new house.
Each year in the UK, around 300,000 tonnes of perfectly usable furniture ends up in landfill sites. So, if you’ve furniture in good condition that you’re thinking of throwing out, think again.
You could sell your unwanted furniture using sites like Facebook Marketplace or eBay. Or perhaps a friend or family member could find use for your unwanted items. Remember, one person’s rubbish is another’s treasure.
An alternative option is to donate your unwanted items to a charity, such as the British Heart Foundation, who’ll even collect it from your home. Local networks providing furniture for vulnerable groups are another idea, or you could pass it on via websites like Gumtree, Freegle or Freecycle.
Many local councils will also, for a small charge, collect large items, such as sofas, white goods and mattresses, from your driveway or garden.
Our final tip – don’t fly tip
There are some items that just can’t be taken with you when you move – things that no one else would really want. It’s then that some people turn to house clearance companies.
Fly tipping is a big environmental problem, with Keep Britain Tidy estimating that local councils in the UK spend nearly £60m annually getting rid of rubbish dumped in this way. So, if you are paying someone to remove unwanted items, check if they’re fully accredited and have the proper registration documents. You may also want to ask exactly where they will be disposing of items.
Fly tipping is not only bad for the environment, it could also see you landed with a very hefty fine if your name is found on any fly tipped items, such as paperwork. In some cases, fly tipping has resulted in fines of £50,000 or even prison sentences, so do be sure to check the operators licence.
Even if you’re not planning an immediate move, we hope you’ve found our tips useful. None of what we’ve suggested is difficult but, collectively, eco-friendly moving could make a big difference to the world we live in.
We’ve more how-to blogs offering a wide range of advice, including storage tips, more moving guides and even home improvement ideas.
If you need any further help while you’re in the process of moving house, just get in touch with us.