Oftentimes, relocating from one place to another involves a significant amount of collateral waste. From adhesive tape to bubble wrap, we tend to use generous amounts of disposable plastic packaging to transport our possessions. Since only 14 per cent of plastic waste in Australia is recovered for recycling, these materials end up in landfill, damaging the environment.
Moving house without generating plastic waste is quite a challenge, especially for those who are yet to discover sustainable alternatives. However, there are many ways to reduce one’s environmental footprint while moving out. From using only biodegradable materials to reducing the amount of packaging, you can pack your possessions Zero Waste style.
We have consulted The Smooth Movers, an environmentally friendly Perth based removalist, to get the best advice. Here is what they recommend.
#1 – Empty Your Pantry
It makes the most sense to start with perishable goods. Empty your cupboards and the freezer to avoid any food waste. You can either cook the leftover ingredients or donate them to a local food bank.
Not-for-profit organisations like Food Bank Australia will be happy to receive any donation, however small it may be. Food Bank Australia also accepts hygiene products such as soap, detergent, baby wipes and deodorants.
#2 – Donate or Sell Unwanted Items
Probably, after decluttering your living space, you have a huge pile of unwanted items. Instead of dumping everything in the trash bin, find your old possessions a new owner.
In case your furniture and electronics are in bad condition, contact local recycling companies to find the best way to dispose of broken or non-functioning items.
#3 – Use Furniture as Packing Space
Save empty drawers and suitcases to cut down the number of packing cases. Reusable storage containers are perfect for the job, too. The rule is quite simple: Use as few disposable boxes as possible.
However, if you still have items that need to be packed, use paper and cardboard boxes — they can be recycled or composted.
#4 – Use Old Newspapers Instead of Plastic Wrap
When possible, replace plastic wrap with old newspapers. Paper is as good as plastic when it comes to protecting shiny surfaces from scratching.
It can also serve as an alternative to bubble wrap. Just make sure to cover your most fragile possessions with several layers of paper for maximum safety.
#5 – Replace Plastic Wrap with Biodegradable Alternatives
Did you know that Australian households create 666,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste a year? If you do not want to contribute to this mountain of trash, use cellophane, which is 100 per cent biodegradable.
Cellophane is made from plant cellulose and can be composted. The material starts to decompose after it has been exposed to sunlight. Cellophane is a good alternative for those who trust plastic packaging more than paper.
#6 – Use Packing Peanuts Instead of Styrofoam
Biodegradable packing peanuts are made from wheat and corn starch. Natural and nontoxic, they dissolve in water and can be composted.
‘Peanuts’ make good packaging to protect and support fragile items. They also have a minimal negative impact on the environment and can be reused multiple times.
#7 – Stock Up on Gummed Paper Tape
Instead of using a regular, non-recyclable adhesive tape, use gummed paper tape. It is made from kraft paper and a vegetable starch adhesive. To use gummed paper tape, you will need a dispenser, as it needs water to activate the adhesive.
If finding gummed paper tape takes too much time, you can always use all natural jute twine. Jute is a long vegetable fibre that can be spun into strong threads. You can reuse it later or compost it.
#8 – Find the Optimal Route from Point A to Point B
Moving from one house to another means using a van to transport all of your possessions.Unfortunately, light commercial vehicles account for 61 per cent of CO2 emissions from the Australian transport sector.
To cut down the emissions, try to move in one go.If possible, find the shortest route and don’t move during peak hours. A professional removalist company in your area will always help you find the most optimal way.
Don’t Know Where to Start? Perth Local Removalists May Have the Answer
Moving house is a time-consuming, stressful event that takes a lot of energy and resources. If you want to do it the right way but not sure where to start, you can always give a call to a local moving service. They will gladly consult you and provide you with the list of the most sustainable materials and tools to make your move environmentally-friendly.
Check out more moving house tips & tricks