Moving can have a huge impact on our environment as it leaves several tons of cardboard, packing paper and other moving material in our landfills every day. It also takes from our natural resources that may take several years to replace. Let's review some factual information and educate ourselves to see what we can do to give back to our environment and even help save you some money along the way. Then we will review some helpful tips on how you can do your part to help.
- Recycling one ton of cardboard saves over 9 cubic yards of landfill space.
- Recycling one ton of paper saves approximately 3 cubic yards of landfill space.
- The largest single source of waste paper collected for recycling is corrugated boxes.
- We throw away enough wood and paper each year to heat 5 million homes for 200 years.
- Cardboard and paper make up for approximately half of our landfill waste.
- In 2008 it was reported that 17 million tons of card board was disposed in our landfills.
Encouraging Recycling facts:
- As Americans we are already doing fairly well with recycling in the past decade. Almost half of the paper used in United States is now being recycled into new paper products. That's more than glass, metal, plastic and miscellaneous combined.
- The largest amount of recycled paper goods reported was newspapers at 89%, followed by corrugated cardboard at 72% We should be doing this every year.
- Residential tree trimmings and Christmas trees can be picked up by various municipalities to turn them into mulch for your local parks and landscaping your street medians. This also has an added benefit of retaining water for plant life.
- Residential grass clippings and most food waste can be easily composted and shouldn't be sent to our landfills.
Moving; Other Green Options:
- Donate: Before you throw your unwanted item in the trash, you really should consider donating it to your local charity or even a neighbor or anyone in need who might find it useful. Most thrift stores and non-profit societies will even pick up your stuff.
- There are many great organizations out there that also set up safe homes for youth, run-a ways, battered women, or single mothers which will probably take your small and larger items from you. Please research the best options, and then decide where you'd like to donate. Remember, older electronics can also be donated or recycled and are greatly appreciated.
- Sell it on the internet or have a garage sale. Even if you think your things are not worth anything someone else might find them to be useful treasures. You can also try to sell them online through companies such as E-bay.com, Amazon.com, Craigslist.com, etc. If you're thinking more small-scale or you don't want to bother with shipping items out then you can still try the garage sale idea or even place a free ad on Craigslist.com or a local neighborhood newspaper. Please let's try to keep our stuff out of our local landfill.
Earth-Friendlier Packing Materials:
Packing materials are necessary to get your move completed safely and efficiently. Here are a few solutions to help you move a little greener when it comes to packing materials:
Reusable containers: You could start by calling some friends and family to borrow their empty plastic containers they might have lying around from their last move. You might not be able to get a-hold of enough to pack everything you own but every little bit helps to reduce the number of boxes you will need. Remember, boxes without lids require tape - most tapes can't be recycled and it takes a very long time to decompose and most reusable containers have lids avoiding the use of tape.
- Frequent movers: A good investment would be to purchase all plastic containers that can be easily stacked and stored, so they're always on hand for when the moving itch begins. If you move often, this might also be a good solution for you as it saves our trees and cuts down on our landfill waste. It also cuts down your running time to purchase moving boxes and ends up being a great long term investment. Besides you will be able to loan them to your family and friends when they get the moving itch.
- Recycled Materials: A great way to save money and your impact on our earth is to search through your local newspaper, store bulletins, or even Craigslist.com free ad section for used boxes. The online networks are a great source for finding used packing materials at a good price or even free. If you can't find any consider posting your own want ad.
The whole world knows the environment is a very fragile entity that must be treated with care and respect. With all the latest news about being environmentally friendly and going greener, everyone is trying to figure out new ways to recycle and save energy and natural resources. Let's all pull together and do our share to help preserve our precious planet. Although approximately 65% of our cardboard is recycled each year, and is the most recycled material in the United States, it is up to all of us to keep that number steady if not raise it. Who knew that something as simple as cardboard could be so complicated? It's extremely simple and uncomplicated to make sure were being green when choosing packing materials for our upcoming moving adventure and recycle what is recyclable.
Ways to help out after you move:
- Replace all of your incandescent light bulbs with LED. There are many styles available now to blend with your decor and they run so much cooler. You may also qualify for discounts with your electric company.
- Turn your thermostat up in the summer, and down in the winter. You don't have to get crazy with it but a few degrees can really make a huge difference. In the winter you can add clothes and slippers instead of turning up the heat. In the summer you can try less clothes and use ceiling fans to help keep the air moving.
- Eat local and organic. It's much healthier and taste better to eat fresh fruits and vegetables instead of buying the ones that have been trucked in from other regions of the country or world. Besides it will help stimulate and support your local economy.
- Leave earlier for appointments and work. Let's look at a 15 mile commute. If you drive 10 MPH over the speed limit for 15 miles you have saved yourself 1.5 minutes. If you drive 10 MPH under the speed limit you have only lost a minute and a half. Is it really worth it? Besides you could save money on a speeding camera ticket, fuel, and possibly even your life. So let's back our alarm up a couple minutes.
- Try ride share, public transportation, ride a bicycle or even walk when possible.
- Try using a clothesline to dry your clothes. This Arizona weather will dry them in very little time and it will be good exercise. Besides the wonderful fresh smell, you will save a lot of electricity/gas even if you only dry outdoors once a week.
- Recycle and buy goods that are made with or can be recycled. Try to avoid plastics and disposable cartons and packaging materials.
- Replace your older appliances with newer and more energy efficient. Chances are if you are moving into a newly built home new appliances will be included but your old ones can be recycled so try to donate them or send them to be recycled.
- Unplug your electronics when you are not using them or use a power strip that you can turn off and on. Phantom loads are a big waste.
- Try using renewable energy. Your local electric company can switch your service to green energy for a few extra cents per kilowatt.
- Plant something new in your yard, or even in your apartment. Plants absorb and filter out harmful greenhouse gases and provide us with fresher air. It would be a nice new addition to your new house or apartment.