How To Make Moving Cleaner And Greener

We need to think of the environment with every activity – even moving day can be cleaner and greener, and it doesn’t take much effort.

Waste caused by the moving process not only stems from packing supplies, but also from the waste accumulated over many years within a home. Both can be extremely taxing on the environment if not properly managed. Here are some suggestions on how to make your move a cleaner, greener process.

Plan Ahead

Waiting until the last minute to prepare for a move will make any environmental concerns an afterthought. Start early so you have the extra time to sort through recyclable items – in your apartment and in storage – for delivery to recycling depots prior to moving day. Typically your storage contains the highest concentration of recyclable waste, so start the sorting process there first. Consider holding a garage sale or donating gently used but no longer wanted items to a charity rather than have them end up in a landfill site.


Survey local recycling options to find the most convenient solution for recyclables. Many cities offer curbside pick-up or “sort and drop” depots. Visit for a list of local organizations that can dispose of all types of recyclable materials.


Prepare recyclables by organizing into categories: plastic, glass, aluminum, paper, cardboard, etc. Look up the requirements of local recyclers to see if there are any additional steps needed to prepare recyclables beforehand.

Care for Hazardous Materials

As you clean up in preparation to move, be conscientious about the kinds of materials being packed to move with you and which items are to be disposed of. Toxic items such as paint, batteries, house cleaning products, automobile oils, pesticides and fertilizers are dangerous and cannot be transported in the back of a commercial moving truck. Also consider that these items cannot be thrown out with your regular garbage. Look up the specialized recycling depots for toxic products in your city.


Do not throw away used moving boxes when the move is complete. A well-made corrugated box is great for storage or may be reused for a future move or passed on to someone else who is moving. Contact local schools or charity organizations, such as women’s shelters, scout troops and food banks to ask if they need boxes to redistribute donated items. Donating gently used boxes not only reduces waste but can be a big help in support of a good cause.