Five Ways to Make Your Move Green

Moving Day is the Biggest Trash Day in our Lives

Guest post written by Laura McHolm, Chief of Organized Living & NorthStar Moving Company  

After the recent U.N. climate change report, we are all asking ourselves what can I do to stop climate change? We’re looking at our homes, our recycling practices and the behaviors we are modeling for our children. We are looking for greener solutions for everything. No more, “I will do this tomorrow.” Now is the time to get our green game on, by getting busy preserving our one and only beautiful Earth.

Learn how to combine your commitment to living greener, with your upcoming move. Like record numbers of Americans, you may be planning to move in the coming months. You’re part of the “Great Re-Shuffling.” The pandemic stay-at-home protocols forced us to evaluate our homes and as a result, millions of people are moving.

Unfortunately, when we move, we can create more waste than any other time of our lives. We finally, clear out those closets, garages, attics, etc. We throw away the most stuff. We use lots of boxes and plastic. But, there is always a green solution, if we just take a deep breath and be mindful.

Here are the top 5 ways to make your move green:

1. Create Less Waste: Use Recyclable Materials

Moving creates a lot of waste that contributes to our landfills. When you think about moving, what comes to mind first? Boxes, boxes and more boxes.

From boxes to bubble wrap, use 100% recyclable materials on moving day.  Look for boxes that are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Certified Sourcing standard, which means their fiber comes from responsible and legal sources. And use biodegradable eco-bubble instead of bubble wrap. Old fashioned bubble wrap can take hundreds of years to decompose. In a much shorter amount of time, Polycell eco-bubble will biodegrade into carbon dioxide, water and biomass. Go ahead, pop away guilt free!

Not only can you use recyclable boxes, you can save money by asking moving companies for used boxes made of recyclable materials. Some green moving companies will even give you a refund for returning your boxes at the end of your move. Cha-ching!

2. Give Back: Recycle Your Stuff

Because you are moving, finally, the garage and closets get cleaned out. Hurray! Now is the time to get rid of what you don’t really need. But, don’t just toss things out.

You know the drill: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Look to your local charities to donate furniture and clothing you no longer use, as well as domestic e-waste recyclers to dispose of your old computers, microwaves, etc. This will ensure that your electronics are  recycled in facilities that follow U.S. environmental regulations and not shipped off to unregulated third world environmental disaster dumping grounds. You can also hire a mover that takes care of the donations for you. A green mover can connect you with charities who can really make use of all those old clothes, and food banks or Move For Hunger that can use those Costco-sized cans of tuna, and the recyclers that will dispose of your unwanted items in an eco-friendly way.

3. Breathe Easier: Seek Biodiesel

Trucks that use diesel fuel emit harmful toxins into our air and are responsible for the majority of outdoor air pollutants, contributing to the risk of cancer.

Choose a moving company that runs their trucks on biodiesel fuel which is a cleaner burning fuel made from natural renewable sources such as vegetable oils. Also, inquire about their lift gates on their trucks. Moving trucks with battery-operated lift gates insure there is no need to leave the trucks idling at your curb while the move is taking place. If they have a government regulated weigh station installed and monitored at their headquarters that is a green bonus, as it saves unnecessary and costly fuel expenditures to off-site weigh stations.

4. Save Land: Use Warehouse Storage

Old fashion self-storage facilities with inefficient garage type self-storage facilities employ poor land use practices.

Earth-friendly storage is warehouse based and not long paved rows of self-storage “garages.” Your belongings are stored inside the warehouse in recyclable and reusable wooden vaults. Not only is this storage greener for the environment, it is greener for your wallet. You only pay for the space you actually need.

5. Green Conscious = Customer Conscious: Choose an Eco-Minded Mover

Many companies think of moving as a one-time transaction. They don’t care if they ever see you or your neighbors again. Yikes, how do you think they will treat you and your stuff?

When using a moving company that is environmentally friendly, you are also gaining movers that go the extra mile in providing top-of-the-line client service. Chances are if they care about the earth, they care about the folks that inhabit it too. They care about lasting relationships.

So, use your “green” to influence and encourage green habits by hiring companies that use environmentally-friendly practices in their offices and warehouses. Green moving companies’ eco-awareness usually radiates throughout the entire organization. They care about their entire environment and they practice giving back to the community. It’s a great big green win – win!

If we follow these eco-friendly steps, we can reduce moving day waste dramatically. From responsibly clearing your clutter; donating it to those in need; and giving your green business to a company that cares about our earth and you; there is really no better way to start a new green life. Just think…if every one of the millions of Americans moving put their green thinking caps on, the millions of “biggest trash days” would turn into millions of mini “earth days.”

Laura McHolm is a home organization, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.


Senior Manager, Content & Multimedia at Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. In his role he manages content strategy and execution across several platforms. He’s held other roles within the Marketing Department ranging from Previews & Product Development to the day to day management of the redesign. Besides being a marketer, Gustavo is a filmmaker, musician and writer.

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