If the idea of zero waste while moving appeals to you, you just might be part of the growing “zero waste movement”. Millions of people have committed to a lifestyle which reduces and eliminates trash making its way into landfills: No plastic, no wrappers, no garbage.
The Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) goes even further. Not only do they want eliminate landfill, but they also want to “redesign our entire cycle of resource extraction, consumption and discard management so no resources are wasted at any point along the way.”
If you are new to this movement, it might seem difficult – nay, impossible – to wrap your head around a zero waste lifestyle, especially given how much we produce. Canadian Geographic’s article “Canada’s Dirty Secret” estimates we are leading the industrial world in garbage. We produce 720 kilograms of waste per capita per year. Put another way, each Canadian produces an average or 2.7 kg of waste a day. When you do the big math it totals up to Canadians generate approximately 31 million tonnes of garbage per year.
Is Zero Waste While Moving Worth the Effort?
It is absolutely worth the effort. And your next move might be the perfect time to begin a waste free lifestyle.
Uprooting and moving an entire household produces a LOT of waste! Remember how many packing boxes, how much bubble wrap and how many miles of packing tape you used the last time you moved? Recall those donatable items that ended up in the garbage because you felt too exhausted to bother with them?
No blame here because we’ve all been there. However, a bit of thought and fortitude can dramatically reduce waste created while moving.
Tips for Zero Waste While Moving
A great move requires thorough planning. Since you’re starting over in a brand-new home, it’s worth taking time to inventory your possessions. Before you start packing, go through every closet, cabinet, dresser, and drawer in your home and pull out items you don’t intend to bring with you.
For many reasons: It feels great to get a handle on all the stuff you own, which is almost always more than you think. It’s exhilarating to eliminate stuff that has been collecting dust for years in the back of your closet. Most importantly, if you give yourself sufficient planning time, you will easily sell or donate unwanted stuff (and reduce garbage).
Declutter While You Pack
Decluttering expert Marie Kondo has three suggestions detailed in her book “The KondoMari Method” which can be easily incorporated into your moving process:
1. Make a pile of your belongings. (You are making piles while you pack, so that’s covered).
2. Find the Joy. By this, she means for you to pick up your objects and see if you have any feelings of attachment or enjoyment as you hold them. If not, put it in the “for sale” pile or in the “for donation” pile. (Again, you’re doing this anyways, and it gives you the chance to NOT move some stuff).
3. Her third suggestion is to find the right home for everything. Obviously, this will have to wait until you move into your new space.
Boxes and Containers
Try quarter folding your cardboard boxes so you can use less packing tape. If you need tape, buy paper kind instead of plastic.
Take advantage of containers you already own. Suitcases, dresser drawers and laundry bins for clothes and books. Reusable grocery bag totes for small items. Even your garbage can make an excellent storage option. If you’re creative, you can get by without using boxes altogether!
However, if you end up short on containers, consider buying plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes. They cost more, but last much longer and eliminates the need for packing tape. Use transparent bins so you can see what’s inside, so you don’t have to attach labels.
Packing Material and Insulation
Instead of buying packing filler and insulation, use what you have on hand. Instead of packing towels in their own boxes, use them for padding. Put your washcloths, tea towels, blankets and clothing to good use during the move.
If you do need packing material, did you know there is a growing market of sustainable, compostable, and biodegradable packing supplies? There is now seaweed, cornstarch, and even mushroom packaging. And after you unpack, you need only rehydrate and heat for dinner! (Just kidding. Please don’t do that).
Purge Your Stuff
Start a purge a month before you move. Go through all your closets and drawers and start a box of items to donate. Be ruthless and let go of things that no longer fit or have use. This is a great time to get rid of clothing you don’t like to wear. If you’re having trouble purging, invite a friend over to help you decide which clothes are unflattering.
Sell Your Stuff
If you have items of value and want to make a little cash to ameliorate moving costs, list them on Used Victoria, Kijiji, or Craig’s List. Facebook Marketplace has become popular in the last few years. Take the best picture you can and set a reasonable price. You might be surprised how quickly your stuff gets snapped up.
Donate Your Stuff
If it has some value and you don’t want to be selling, support your local thrift store and donate. If you have a sizeable donation to make, the thrift store or resellers may be willing to pick it up for you and save you a trip.
Recycle Your Stuff
Some things can’t be recycled in the blue bin: Out of date electronics, cords that don’t seem to belong to anything, empty spray cans, old cleaning supplies and buckets of paint from your last home project. Do some research and see if your city has a local center that accepts hard to recycle items.
Reduce Before You Move
Going through a big purge before moving to reduce the number of belongings you need to bring with you. Using some tips above, such as using containers you already own, will help reduce the amount of space your belongings take.
Rent the Right Size Truck
People often underestimate how much space their possessions will take up, which means a second trip and more gas. When you hire us, we provide a free estimate for our clients to ensure you will have the correct truck size for one efficient move.
Make Lifestyle Changes in Your New Home
Moving may be difficult but moving while reducing waste needn’t be. Use your move to kick off a new zero waste lifestyle. Let us know if you have any tips for moving sans waste.
If you’re thinking of moving soon, give us a call or fill out our (paperless) request an estimate form. We’d enjoy helping you move to your new home.