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More than 31 million people relocate every year in the U.S. They pack box after box, load up moving trucks and drive across town or cross-country. Doing so generates a lot of waste. We’re talking millions of tons from cardboard boxes, wrapping supplies and surplus junk.

As such, moving can have a drastic impact on a household’s carbon footprint and significantly contribute to the current global landfill crisis. However, with a little planning and some creativity, moving doesn’t have to be as bad for the environment as we commonly make it. Below are a few words of advice on conducting an eco-friendlier move.

Whether you’re moving for a new job, going off to college or relocating closer to family, there are several ways to improve the process. A great place to begin is by reducing the number of belongings you need to move. Odds are there are some items that won’t have a place in the new home. It’s important to dispose of these properly.

For instance, any e-waste, such as dead batteries or old devices, should be taken to your nearest recycling location. Some electronics stores can also recycle old phones, chargers and appliances on your behalf. The EPA estimates only 5.6% of the 2.2 million tons of small appliance waste was recycled in 2018. When these electronics end up in a landfill, they can potentially leak hazardous chemicals or otherwise harm the ecosystem.

If you have unwanted items that are still functional, you could give them to someone in need or sell them in a yard sale. Donating to local services can make a big difference to those you help and in the amount of waste you produce. Like e-waste, a significant portion of furniture and furnishings are landfilled instead of being properly discarded or repurposed.

Once you’ve decluttered, it’s time to get started on the actual packing. There are many alternatives to purchasing traditional packing supplies. You can rent reusable moving totes, seek out used boxes from local shops or use household containers to get the job done. Another great option is to save the packaging from deliveries. Over 90% of the packages shipped to our doorsteps come in some form of cardboard. Reuse these packing materials instead to save on money and on recycling demands.

The vehicle needed to move all your stuff can also be improved. There are approximately 50,000 moving trucks in the U.S., which gives you plenty of options. Consider selecting an electric, hybrid or biodiesel truck to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions. If you’re planning to use moving services, opt for one with a sustainability-driven business model to minimize your impact.

As individuals, protecting the planet comes down to the little choices we make. Use these tips to help do your part as you move on to bigger and better things. For additional ways to lessen the environmental impact of your move, please see the accompanying resource.

Infographic provided by True Friends Moving Company