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Moving is a time when we finally get around to cleaning out those overstuffed closets, basements, and garages. We can toss out those old clothes, electronics, magazines, bikes, outgrown ballet slippers, etc.

Let’s just face the fact: moving time equals trash time.

On top of the major weeding out of our belongings, we use loads of packing materials and create piles and piles of waste that contribute to our landfills. But did you know you can make a green move?

Green moving means being conscientious of the environment and using methods that are not harmful to the earth. To paraphrase Kermit the Frog, “Sometimes, it is actually easy being green.”

There are simple steps you can take during a move to reduce your waste. Being eco-conscious on moving day will save you some green in your wallet too! Follow these four steps to make Mother Nature proud:

1. Use Eco-Friendly Moving Supplies

From boxes to bubble wrap, there are now green, 100% recyclable materials to keep our neighborhoods cleaner and more environmentally conscious. Yep, there is even biodegradable bubble wrap so you can pop away guilt free.

Eco-bonus: Save money by asking your moving company for used boxes made of recyclable materials. You can get used boxes at a discount and some moving companies will even give you a refund for returning your used boxes at the end of your move. Cha-ching!

2. Give Back

Finally, the garage and closets actually are getting cleaned out. Hurray! Now is the time to get rid of what you don’t really need.

Things like the growing collection of tuna and soup cans in the pantry, the many, many sport teams T-shirts, or your 10 year old’s toddler clothing; etc.

Don’t just toss them out. Donate unwanted furniture, clothing and household items to your local favorite charity such as Goodwill for someone else to enjoy. If you have canned goods that you don’t want to move, consider donating to a local food bank or an organization like Move For Hunger. Don’t forget to keep your moving and donation receipts to save green on your taxes next year!

3. Be Kind To Your Electronics

You may not want your old microwave, but don’t throw it away. If you do, it will likely not be recycled in accordance to U.S. environmental regulations.

Contact a domestic e-waste recycler so your old computers, microwaves, etc. are recycled domestically, under strict environmental laws, rather than being shipped off to be processed by highly toxic and polluting techniques.

4. Hire An Eco-Conscious Moving Company

Use your “green” to influence and encourage green habits by hiring companies that use environmentally friendly practices.

Make sure your moving company is eco-conscious by asking:

  • Does the staff recycle?
  • Is their office and warehouse designed to be energy efficient?
  • Do they use biodiesel to run their trucks?
  • Do they use 100% recyclable materials?
  • Do they sell used boxes?
  • Do they buy them back at the end of the move?

Pat yourself on the back; you’re making Mother Earth smile and future generations will thank you!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving and storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.

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