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Zero Waste Tips for Moving

Published On: February 25, 2020By

7 Zero Waste Moving Tips

Moving is a huge endeavor, and if you aren’t careful, can also be a huge source of waste. Without a conscious effort to reduce waste during your move, things like bubble wrap, packing tape, moving boxes, and unwanted items can quickly accumulate and end up in a landfill forever. You may be surprised to know that moving homes zero waste or low waste is actually pretty easy. Boxes can be replaced or recycled, bubble wrap can be swapped out for towels, and items destined for the dump can be donated instead. Below are seven zero waste tips for moving homes.

Go Through Items

The fewer items you have to pack and move, the fewer boxes you’ll need and, potentially, the smaller the moving truck. Go through all of your belongings before packing them for your move. Set aside clothes you no longer wear, duplicate items, things you don’t use or need, and décor that will not fit with your new home. Either sell these items, donate them to a local thrift store, or find the proper ways to recycle these items.

Use What You Have

Get creative when packing and use what you have. Instead of buying moving boxes, use things in your home like laundry baskets, suitcases, wooden crates, backpacks, reusable bags, buckets, dresser drawers, large pots, plastic storage bins, pillowcases, duffel bags. Ask family and friends if they have any unused reusable bags or backpacks that you could borrow for your move. Not only will using items you own help reduce your waste, but it will cut down on bulk in your moving truck or van.

Reuse Boxes

Even with using the storage containers you have, you may still need some moving boxes. Instead of buying and wasting new boxes, look to extend the life cycle of ones that have already been used. If you shop online, keep those boxes for packing. Ask friends and neighbors to keep theirs as well. Make sure to have them keep any bubble wrap they received as well so you can reuse that. If this still doesn’t result in enough boxes, reach out to local retail stores to see if they would donate their used boxes. Do not use boxes from any food companies, as they may contain debris and bacteria.

If you choose to go with an eco-friendly moving company, they may provide you with plastic bins ahead of your move to use and return.

After your move, make sure to recycle the boxes in some way. This can be done by using them to ship packages, let your kids play with them, or break the boxes down to be recycled. If you know someone else who is moving, see if they can use the boxes.

Opt for Reusable Packing Materials

Before going out and buying things like bubble wrap and packing paper, take advantage of items you already have around the house. If you receive packages to your home, keep all packing materials to reuse during your move. After you’ve utilized those, look around your house for the following items: washcloths, bath towels, tea towels, t-shirts, cloth bags, socks, blankets, old newspapers, old wrapping paper, paper bags, scarves, and bedding. These items can help buffer items from damage during your move. Use these items to wrap fragile items or stuff them in gaps in boxes to keep items from shifting.

Avoid Packing Tape

If possible, avoid using packing tape. By utilizing alternative methods to moving boxes, this will already help cut down on tape. For standard moving boxes, close them using the quarter fold method. Then, place the box on its side so that the weight of the items will not break open the folds. Make sure to avoid overpacking boxes, as they will be vulnerable to ripping, which will damage items.

Choose an Eco-Friendly Moving Company

If you want to go even further with your zero waste move, look for an eco-friendly moving company. Most moving companies use large moving trucks that run on diesel fuel. This releases toxins into the air and is a huge contributor to carbon emissions. Instead, look for a company that uses biodiesel fuel, as it burns cleaner and has less of a carbon footprint. Your moving company may also offer reusable plastic moving containers to help you with your move. They’ll drop them off before you begin packing and pick them up when you’re unpacked. If they do not offer this, they may have programs that offer recycled boxes or recycle your used boxes for you.

Opt for Eco-Friendly Self Storage

If you need to use self storage for any amount of time during your move, do some research into your storage company. Look for companies that use LEED accredited architects who build properties with a thorough understanding of green practices and principles. See if your storage company provides a recycling program for cardboard boxes or other materials. Ask about energy efficiency; some properties may even run on solar power. Browse the company’s website to see if they have any information about sustainability on their properties.


Hopefully, these zero waste tips for moving have helped you discover ways you can reduce waste during your move. For more tips for packing and moving, sign up for our once-monthly newsletter.