When you move do you think about how it affects the environment? Or ways you can make moving more eco-friendly? What about using eco-friendly or recycled moving supplies? Have you ever thought about choosing moving and storing services that are considered carbon neutral? If you move often, do you usually re-use the same moving supplies or just throw everything out?
Rarely do we consider how we can be more eco-friendly while moving, putting items in storage, or remodeling our home. But many of the supplies used are either made from non-biodegradable material, non-reusable, or thrown away after a single use. Since people are moving more than ever, and the usage of storage units and items are at an all-time high, it’s time to start thinking about using eco-friendly supplies that are made from recycled material, or that are reusable, biodegradable, and eco-friendly.
Moving and the use of storage both create an enormous amount of waste in many different ways. For storage, you have to construct large facilities or warehouses that in turn creates a lot of waste in the process. According to this Sustainability and Historic Preservation article, an estimated 1,383,998 tons of debris per year end up in landfills due to the construction of new buildings. This amounts to 2.2 lbs. of garbage per person in Washington State. According to the 2020 Self Storage Almanac, 38.8% of people need to rent a storage unit because they are moving into a new home or apartment. According to movebuddha.com, 31 million people moved homes in the United States in 2019, which created an incredible amount of waste. 900 million cardboard boxes, 8.4 million tons of junk, 345,000 tons of food, 353 million gallons of fuel, 90 million lbs. of packaging paper, and 30 million rolls of tape. An immense amount of waste is produced after every move. The more we aim to use biodegradable or reusable materials, the more we can save the planet from expelling so much waste into landfills.
Where to Shop?
Eco-friendly moving and storage supplies are hard to come by, as the space isn’t as established as supplies used for everyday use, such as packaging for products or in-home storage products. As with almost everything these days, you can find some eco-friendly supplies on Amazon geared more toward packaging for product shipments instead of moving or storage. There are some emerging companies that specialize in eco-friendly packaging and shipping supplies, such as Ecoenclose, which has eco-friendly products, from boxes, packing paper, tape, labels, mailers, mattress bags, etc. Some companies feature eco-friendly supplies but don’t specialize in being 100% eco-friendly, like Ecoenclose. Since eco-friendly moving, shipping, and storing products are a fairly new idea, we can expect this market to skyrocket and we will begin to see more companies emerge with improved ideas and methods of manufacturing eco-friendly products. Imagine if the 900 million cardboard boxes we use to move every year could be re-used or decomposed quickly, instead of filling up our landfills.
This is where UsedCardboardBoxes comes in! UsedCardboardBoxes provides a platform for customers to purchase used or new cardboard boxes, conveniently delivered to your door! Their method consists of finding and purchasing extra cardboard boxes from large companies and paying more than the companies would otherwise earn for recycling, then sell to customers. UsedCardboardBoxes also obtains used boxes from businesses and will re-sells for a cheaper price. According to their website, 100 billion cardboard boxes are manufactured in the U.S each year. This is a great service, as large businesses are the greatest consumers of cardboard boxes each year. Providing the ability to re-use boxes instead of sending them to the landfill is an eco-friendly way of re-using materials.
Moving & Storage Supplies
When you’re moving, what supplies are usually needed to make the move easier? The list is never-ending and includes most of the following: moving boxes, tape, labels, moving trucks, storage bins, kitchen boxes, mattress covers, pads for delicate items, or even dolly’s and hand-trucks. Not only do you want to make sure your items are safe and secure, you also want to be able to easily transport everything safely, while also making it items easy to find when the time comes to unpack. Using the proper moving supplies will make this task easier, and using eco-friendly supplies will make you feel even better.
1. Moving boxes
Moving boxes are one of the most common ways to organize, pack, and move. They’re useful for packing items such as kitchen plates, glasses, ceramics, wine bottles, utensils, books, towels, and other miscellaneous items. Moving boxes are a cheap, easy, and convenient way to organize and stack your everything as well. Typical boxes are made from cardboard, which is a heavy-duty paper-based product made from trees. This is not environmentally friendly. While cardboard and paper are organic materials, if they are sourced unsustainably then the production of these boxes can have a drastic negative impact on the environment. Cardboard takes a lot of energy to produce and is usually a single-use product. Since boxes are produced from trees, and a large amount of energy is required during the manufacturing process, it is even more important to re-use or choose eco-friendly moving boxes made from 100% recycled materials. Biodegradable cardboard material takes only about 2 months to break down.
Ecoenclose Boxes: Price depends on box dimensions and number of boxes purchase.
Price Range (for 24’x20’x20’ size box): $20 for single box or $9.82 per box with 100 boxes ordered.
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2. Storage Bins
Storage bins are very convenient if storing items for long periods of time. These bins are sturdy, stackable, they come in different sizes, and are crush, tear, water, and dust resistant. Storage bins do not require the use of tape, they protect your property while in transit, and are easy to label and identify your contents throughout your move. Some storage bins are made out of plastics, wire, fiberglass, or metal materials. Plastic totes are typically made from acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), acrylics, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These are definitely not environmentally friendly materials, but luckily there are eco-friendly options such as Rent a green box, who manufactures storage bins out of trash. If you’re located in the Los Angeles area, you have the choice of purchasing or renting their storage bins. The most eco-friendly way to move is to re-use supplies, and re-using storage bins is a great way to decrease the amount of waste that is produced throughout the moving process.
Storage Bins Services
Some storage bin services such as Hive Boxx, EZBinz, in the Seattle area, or Rent a green box in Los Angeles, help provide and deliver reusable storage bins. Although these companies do not allow the customer to rent storage bins long-term, it is an amazing short-term solution for everyone’s moving needs. We can see services as these becoming more and more popular as American’s are becoming more conscious of the amount of waste they are producing, so renting these one-time-use supplies makes the most sense!
Rentagreenbox.com (Los Angeles, CA)
Price: 1 stack of 10 large recopacks + speed undercart + 20 eco-labels = $33 per week
- 3/4 Bedroom program: $399 for 2 weeks
- 4/5 Bedroom program: $469 for 2 weeks
- 6/7 Bedroom program: $639 for 2 weeks
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HiveBoxx.com (Seattle, WA)
Price for 1 week:
- Studio/Dorm: $119
- 1 bedroom: $149
- 2 bedrooms: $199
- 4 bedrooms: $249
- 5+ bedrooms: $349
Rent Hive Boxx Today!
3. Packing Paper
Packing paper is typically used to wrap delicate items, or as filler in boxes to help protect the items. This paper could be newspaper, shredded paper, light tissue paper, industrial tissue paper, or recycled packaging paper. Packaging paper is a green alternative to plastic bubble wrap as it’s 100% recyclable and compostable and made from 100% recycled paper. Packaging paper is definitely a cheap and eco-friendly way of moving and storing your delicate items and is definitely the best option for moving or long-term storage as it will act as a cushion to protect from any damage to the box.
Ecoenclose has a variety of this packaging paper to fit all your needs. All-in-one paper solution for both wrapping and void fill, indented kraft paper adds a hint of cushioning when used to wrap your items, white paper for aesthetics, and Bogus paper which is moldable & absorbent paper for very delicate items.
Price: anywhere from $29 for 24” recycled paper – $35.5 for 24” x 1700’ for newsprint paper.
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4. Packing & Packaging Materials
Many other packaging options for your moving or storage items exist along with the paper. There are a number of items sold by Rent a green box that are recycled. Recocubes are the replacement for petroleum foam padding and they’re compostable packaging cubes made from 100% recycled newspaper sludge. Another one of their items for replacing Styrofoam packaging is Expandos. Expandos is the ultimate solution for protecting your most valuable and delicate items. They are small triangles recycled from cereal boxes, 6 and 12 pack beer carriers, and food-related packaged goods. When companies make these boxes, the small triangles are extra material that cannot be used, and is too expensive to recycle, so they wind up in landfills. These materials are converted into Expandos.
Other eco-friendly packing material alternatives include cornstarch, mushrooms, seaweed, eco-friendly plastics, and organic fabrics. Cornstarch has plastic-like properties, which can be used in many different typically plastic forms, such as plastic bags or containers. Another material that is used for packaging is mushrooms. Mushrooms use cleaned and ground agricultural waste, which is then fused together by a matrix of mushroom roots known as mycelium. The raw material can be molded into any shape that is desired, then is dried and used as packaging. Mushroom packaging can be composted at home, which is then broken down into non-toxic, organic matter. Seaweed is definitely a very promising material that can be used in all sorts of packaging. Seaweed is as another alternative to plastic and can degrade a lot faster and through additional research will surely become an everyday plastic replacement in the future. It is reassuring that with the advancement of technology and additional research, we are able to find new biodegradable materials that replace everyday items that would otherwise produce heavy waste in oceans and landfills. One can only hope that these newfound replacement materials will become increasingly accessible to the public and will also be utilized by major corporations around the world.
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Mushroompackaging.com: Custom Mycelium-Made Packaging
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5. Labels & Ink
Typical labels and ink aren’t biodegradable as they’re made from polypropylene self-adhesive which doesn’t break down very easily. Luckily, companies like Ecoenclose have developed 100% biodegradable soy-based ink with stickers and labels that are made from 100% recycled post-consumer waste. On the other hand, labels from Rent a green box are made to be planted, and will grow and bloom snapdragons in 3 to 4 weeks. That is pretty amazing for a label!
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Tape and Seals
Along with cardboard boxes, the tape is almost required to keep the box and items intact. Typical packaging tape is made of polypropylene or polyester which are both non-biodegradable materials. Most pack boxes by using the most tape possible in order to hold the box together. Although this is a huge waste of tape, one would rather have all belongings arrive safely to their new destination. There are thankfully better options that are not as harmful to the environment, and some include water-activated tape! Ecoenclose’s water-activated Kraft paper tape is made from renewable materials and is recyclable. Ecoenclose’s Cello Carton Sealing Tape is uniquely and entirely plant-derived, renewable, and naturally biodegradable. Now you can wrap your eco-friendly storage box with plant-based and biodegradable materials!
Price Range: $6.75 for a single roll of Cello carton sealing tape, $8.25-$9.25 for Water-activated tape.
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As mentioned earlier, there are a number of eco-friendly storage bin rental services, but what about eco-friendly storage services? That’s where PeerStorage comes in. PeerStorage utilizes already existing space, which means there is no need to develop new storage units. We provide an online marketplace for people to list their unused space such as their garage, storage shed, basement, bedroom, and even closet. Extra carbon is not emitted for using our service! We are also partners with the National Forest Foundation and started a fundraiser, and additionally plant trees for every new listing and new booking through our service. Our goal is to become the first carbon-negative storage service in the world and to provide the most eco-friendly storage service. This includes bringing awareness to the impact moving and storing belongings has on the environment, and encouraging the use of eco-friendly storage and moving supplies.