How to make your move eco-friendly: 11 tips for eco-friendly moving

Flatmates Team


Moving house can cause a lot of waste. It’s 2021 people, step it up! If you’re not careful, your humble house move could wind up having a sizeable environmental footprint.

image Sophie Mayanne

Fortunately, it’s well and truly possible to have a green move: you don’t have to wreck the planet to get to your new digs. But you might not realise that a green move can be a cheaper option than an average move.

Here are our tips for keeping the environmental (and financial!) cost of your next move down.

How can I make my move more eco friendly?


1. Use second-hand moving boxes
Before you outlay your hard-earned on new packing boxes, ask on your local Facebook group if anyone has leftover packing boxes or pick up a few empties from your local supermarket or bottle shop. Then once you’re done with them, pop them back on Facebook to see if anyone in your new area needs them. We bet they will!

2. Use whatever you have as a box
The age-old question of how to pack your breakables becomes a lot less fraught if you pack them in a big plastic box or hard suitcase. Look around your place and you’ll likely find at least a few items kicking around that will make excellent, secure “packing boxes!”

3. Use old newspaper or towels instead of bubble wrap
Instead of bubble wrap use old newspaper — which you can usually snag from your local newsagent — to wrap breakables. Towels, teatowels and sheets all work a treat as well. Bubble wrap, while handy, costs money and it’s not recyclable, which means it has to go to the landfill. If you must use it, make sure you pass it on to other movers via your local facebook community group.

4. Use recyclable packing tape instead of plastic tape
Like bubble wrap, plastic packing tape isn’t recyclable and won’t break down; it will sit in landfill forever. Thankfully, there are plenty of recyclable packing tapes (such as paper tape) and biodegradable tapes that will break down in landfill: just do a search for “recyclable packing tape” for your nearest supplier.

5. Donate excess furniture and appliances
Having trouble fitting all of your stuff in your new place? No problem: there are plenty of charities out there who would love to have your quality second-hand furniture, appliances, kitchen items and clothes. Check out our guide on where to donate and avoid contributing your hard rubbish to the local landfill.

6. If you can’t donate, find appliance recycling centres


Some opshops won’t accept second-hand electrical appliances, but all is not lost! Search the web for local appliance recyclers. These businesses could range from a community group that repairs old toasters for reuse, right through to your local scrap metal dealer, who will make the most out of your hand-me-down fridge whose motor is broken. Also, don’t forget that Facebook group. You’ll be amazed what people end up using old appliances for!

7. If you’re upgrading appliances, choose energy-efficient ones
A move is a great time to assess what’s worth taking and what you really need to recycle and replace. If replacing, it’s the perfect opportunity to buy more energy-efficient appliances. Check the Canstar website to research models and assess their energy-efficiency and check their energy star ratings in the store. Remember: an appliance that uses less power will cost you less to run too.

8. Switch to energy efficient and green utility providers
Speaking of spending less on power, if you’re moving into a new place where you can choose the energy provider, make sure you choose a plan that either offers you green offsets or (and this is ideal) 100% green power. Yes, my friend, green power costs more than coal-based power. But if you have energy efficient appliances and use them wisely, you’ll save on your bills. Think of the few cents per kilowatt hour you pay for green energy as your positive contribution to supporting renewables, and the planet’s future. Nice one.

9. When you update your address, switch to paperless bills
As you update your address with your providers, take the opportunity to switch to electronic communications, rather than paper-based. Electronic versions are simpler to store, easier to search and they save on paper and processing, so they’re better for the environment. Win-win!

10. Prepare a moving day meal
The temptation to head out for takeaway on moving day is strong! But takeaway bags, containers, napkins and cutlery use a lot of resources. They all too often end up at the tip, and some councils won’t recycle them in any case. Instead of relying on the local takeaway for your moving day meal, prepare something substantial and tasty in advance that you can either eat cold or on the go!

11. Recycle the packing stuff you can’t reuse
Tape, damaged boxes and the damp newspaper you had around your pot plants can’t be used in another move, but they can be recycled in various ways. If your tape’s biodegradable, put it in the recycling bin along with any boxes that have reached the end of their life. Or, use shredded packing boxes and damp newspaper as mulch or worm farm fodder.

How do you pack fragile items sustainably?


Easy! Here’s how to do it:

Get a sturdy box
Make sure it’s not significantly bigger than the fragile items you want to put into it, because then you’ll be tempted to fill it with other stuff. If your fragile items are small, pack them into a small box (such as a shoe box) using the following method, then pack that small box into a larger one.

Line the sides and base with packing material
If you’re using sheets and towels, opt for towels, because they’re bulkier and have more give than sheets. A fluffy blanket or throw is even better.

Wrap each precious item
Wrap them individually and carefully, in plenty of packing material. Make sure you fill in any spaces (for example, the interior of a bowl or vase) with packing material packed fairly firmly. Then, place it in the bottom of the box on your padded layer. Continue with your other items, adding padding in between them as they lie side-by-side.

Finishing up
When you finish adding a layer of your precious items, place a thick layer of your towel/blanket/pillow padding over them. Continue this way until the box is full. Top it with a final layer of tick padding, and tape it up.

Mark the top of the box
So you know which way it should sit, and write FRAGILE on it. Finally, add DO NOT STACK if you don’t want it to be part of a box tower on moving day!

Keeping green and lean on the plastic on moving day is a queen move! Thanks for helping us all out by moving green.


Flatmates Team