The ever increasing strain on Earth's natural resources means that it is imperative we all take up our personal responsibility to do what we can to minimise our own eco-impact as we carry on our lives. Moving home or office becomes an opportunity to act in an eco-responsible way.
In this article we give you five simple tips that you can use to lessen the impact of your move on the environment. Finally, we will give you some insight into how we at Two Men and a Truck take on our responsibility of being an environmentally conscious moving company.
1) Conscious consumption
Long before moving, the biggest thing you as an individual can do for the planet is to reduce your consumption. Conscious consumption is an approach characterised by being mindful about what you buy. By being mindful, you can avoid frivolous consumption and buying things that don’t serve you. The practice of conscious consumption usually results in less overall consumption without sacrificing your quality of life. This concept extends to avoiding buying single-use products as well as carefully choosing household furniture and appliances.
Before your move, you should sort through your belongings and decide what you no longer need or want to keep. You can read our article on this topic here - TMT Moving Tips #2- Purge . In short, try to sell, donate or recycle anything that you no longer want to keep, rather than throwing it in the bin.
3) Use second-hand boxes for packing
It’s often plastic that gets a bad rap when it comes to environmental impact, but cardboard is not completely faultless. Cardboard boxes require a lot of energy to manufacture, not to mention the impact of deforestation. Use second-hand boxes rather than new ones for your packing needs. Quality second-hand boxes work just as well as new boxes to protect your goods. After the move, take the boxes to the nearest recycling depot, or better yet, sell them back to Two Men and a Truck! We buy your quality second hand boxes from you after your move! As an alternative, instead of cardboard boxes, consider renting plastic storage boxes from a company like Eco-box (TMT has no affiliation).
Besides wrapping paper and bubble wrap, there are some good wrapping substitutes that can be used when packing boxes. Towels, dish cloths and even clothing can be used to line boxes and wrap household and kitchen items. Towels and linen are especially good for lining boxes into which you’ll pack kitchenware. Instead of packing paper or bubble wrap, source old newspapers from recycling depots to individually wrap crockery, glass, and delicate trinkets. After the move, this old newspaper can be stored for your next move, or recycled.
5) Re-think wrapping large items in bubble wrap
There is some benefit in wrapping large items in bubble wrap for extra protection, but keep in mind that bubble wrap doesn’t really protect an item that takes a heavy bump. In addition, bubble wrap is unfortunately only able to be used once. Consider having valuable or antique pieces wrapped in single-face corrugated Kraft, which offers similar protection to a cardboard box. The benefit of Kraft cardboard is that it can be recycled.
Keep in mind that Two Men and a Truck has plenty of packing blankets on our trucks to protect your goods during transport. This should also be considered when deciding whether or not you actually need bubble wrapping. For most items, wrapping with packing blankets on the truck is sufficient to protect them during transit.
Here’s a brief list of what we do at TMT to limit our environmental impact:
*We only use high quality second hand boxes for packing.
*Customers can buy second hand boxes from us (for delivery or collection) if they prefer to do their own packing.
*We buy high quality second hand boxes from any one who wants to sell them to us (even non-customers) and these boxes will be re-used for packing.
*We keep plenty of packing blankets on the trucks to protect items during transit meaning less need for plastic bubble wrap.
*We use outdated newspaper as a substitute for packing paper.
*Most of our office staff have the option to work from home, eliminating the need for a daily commute.
*We only use grey water to wash our trucks.
*We maintain vehicles in excellent condition to ensure they are all running as eco-efficiently as possible.
*Our offices are kitted out with high quality second hand office furniture only.
*We only use refurbed computers and appliances in our office.
It seems an immense task to undo the damage already inflicted on our Earth. Many of the environmental challenges we face seem to require large-scale governmental and global intervention over which we, as individuals, have little control. All of our small efforts, such as those listed in this article, seem miniscule and inconsequential in comparison to what seems to be required. However, as individuals we do have agency in how we act in our personal and business lives. Our actions, however small, do have consequences and those consequences go on apportioning themselves throughout time. Thus the smallest of actions can ultimately have cosmic significance. Put differently by anthropologist Margret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Let us all challenge ourselves to keep trying to do just a little bit more than we're doing right now and to never relinquish that challenge.