Tips For Reducing Waste When Moving To A New Home

  • Don't buy new boxes. Prior to moving day, start saving boxes for reuse or ask a local business for their leftover shipping boxes.
  • If you must purchase new boxes, buy corrugated boxes with the highest recycled content you can find.
  • Pack clothing, linens and other items in suitcases or duffel bags that you already own.
  • Recycle your moving boxes when you're finished unpacking.
  • Some moving companies will allow you to rent reusable storage crates. These crates have a life expectancy of 10 years and also are recyclable at the end of their useful life.
  • Instead of using new sheets of packing paper, use old newspapers to wrap fragile items.
  • Consider using environmentally preferable packing materials such as cushioning peanuts made of biodegradable cornstarch and bubble wrap containing postconsumer recycled plastic. In turn, recycle or reuse these materials after you've unpacked.
  • Be sure to properly dispose of any non-recyclable items that you won't be taking with you. This includes household cleaners, paints, automotive supplies and other hazardous items that require special disposal. Some localities hold hazardous waste collection days and electronics recycling events where you may drop off items for recycling or proper disposal.
  • Use recycled latex paint for household projects when it's appropriate.
  • Have a yard sale to find new homes for clothes, toys, appliances, books and other items.
  • Offer to donate items to schools and local charities. Many are interested in notepads, toys, dishes, sweaters and coats, books, pencils, board games, posters and holiday decorations.
  • Investigate the possibility of renting a moving van that runs on alternative fuels.

Additional information on what you can do to help reduce and better manage waste can be found at http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/citizens.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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