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Green Moving: Eco-Friendly Packing Materials

posted: 31/03/2022

eco-friendly homeHouse relocations are not only expensive, but they can cause you to accumulate a lot of unwanted garbage, just think about all of the paper, cardboard, and plastic you are left behind after the removal. Ona plastic bag can take up to 1 000 years to degrade, and that is a long, long time. The Earth is suffocating in the garbage, and the moment for change is way overdue. That is why we, as a trustworthy moving service provider want to inform our customers and blog readers about new and beneficial green alternatives when it comes to packing materials. Even the smallest of change matters.

1. Materials You Can Repurpose

Let’s start by showcasing which household items you can repurpose and use during your house relocation. This is actually a very good practice that is beneficial for your bank account and the environment. It is a win-win situation.

1.1 Newspapers, Magazines, and Brochures

You will probably have one of the three, if not all, lying around your home. If you plan on moving shortly, we advise you to start collecting paper products. They can be used in various ways:

  • Packing – you can wrap small items in newspapers to protect them from scratching during the move.
  • Padding – crumpled brochures are a great padding material you can place around your belongings inside the moving crates. They will absorb any shock waves and minimise the risk of breaks and damage.

Bear in mind that sometimes ink from the newspapers can bleed out if exposed to moisture. So, you need to be sure your belongings are completely dry before wrapping them.

1.2 Blankets, Sheets, and Towels

Using bedding as a packaging material is really smart as it can save you a lot of space. Instead of packing your sheets and towels in a box, why don’t you use them for box padding? Fluffy towels are ideal for protecting delicate items like glassware, ceramic figurines, picture frames, etc. You can wrap your couch, chairs and table in blankets securing everything with pigtails. This way, you can protect your furniture during its journey in the back of the moving truck and save some valuable box space.

1.3 Bottles

This one falls more into the organisation category, but it can benefit you during a home relocation. If you have old plastic bottles, cut the top part and make a DIY container. It is ideal for transporting small items from silverware to socks. These makeshift organisers can help you optimise the space in your moving crates, not to mention you can write on them with a marker. Labelling is essential if you want to unpack fast and efficient once you enter your new home.

1.4 Cardboard boxes

Cardboard boxes of any shape are the holy grail of house relocations. As long as the following requirements are met, every box can be transformed into a moving crate, regardless of its size

  • Sturdy material – the material needs to be durable and sturdy, so it will survive the bumps and taps that may occur during the journey to your new place.
  • Lid – the box must have a lid, you can secure with tape. You don’t want to spend your day collecting silverware from the ground.
  • No water damage – the cardboard must be intact, meaning no water damage. It could compromise the material and create weak spots that can easily rip off.
  • No mould – If the boxes are being stored in a basement or attic, there is a big chance of mould and mildew developing on top of the cardboard. If this happens, the possibility of spreading the fungi onto your belongings is quite real. So don’t use mouldy boxes.

Pro Tip: Save the original packaging of your electronics and use them to transport your items. These boxes are made to fit perfectly and will shield your belongings perfectly.

eco-friendly packing materials2. Eco-Friendly Packing Materials You Can Purchase

Altho there are a lot of DIY packing options, it is hard to execute the whole move only using what you have. That means, at some point, you would need to buy more stuff. Thankfully there are plenty of green alternatives you can choose from.

2.1 Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

The biodegradable packing peanuts are made from non-toxic natural materials like wheat and corn starch. After their main packing job is done, you can throw them in your compost pile and use them as fertiliser. They dissolve in water, so you can let them sink for about 15 minutes in warm water and then use that for your house plants. But even if you decide to throw them away, they won’t harm the environment. Another perk of the biodegradable packing peanuts is that they, unlike the traditional ones, don’t have an electric charge, meaning they won’t stick to your clothes or bedding. Unfortunately, they have one con, these products are a little heavier than the original, so be careful when packing and moving your boxes.

2.2 Reusable Plastic Crates

These containers come in different shapes and sizes. They have lids that close and lock to ensure there won’t be any incidents during the move. Some models have handles to make them easy to carry. Depending on what you want to transport, you can choose from a couple of different types – IT, file or standard crates are the most widely used. The best thing is that you don’t have to buy them. Instead, removal companies offer crates for hire. You will receive all of the moving containers you need directly at your home. Each has been cleaned and sanitised and is ready to be used. The company will collect them from your new place at the end of the relocation.

2.3 Recycled Paper Tape

Tape is an essential part of every home packing. You use it to secure your boxes, keep the lids shut, compile different items, etc. Generally, you will use at least one big roll of tape every time you relocate. This product is originally made from plastic, meaning it will take ages to decompose. Thankfully there is an eco-friendly alternative you can use. Paper tape can do all the things the plastic one can, but it is 100% biodegradable and won’t cause harm to the environment. Not to mention, since the product is made from paper, you can write on it. So essentially, you can use it for labelling your boxes and crates.

2.4 Corrugated Paper Roll

These packing materials are made from multiple layers of recycled paper, with the top one being grooved and ridged. It helps it absorb the vibrations and cushion the blow in case of a heavy impact. Thanks to its design, it can be somewhat waterproof, and you will need a lot of water to soak it. Corrugated paper is lightweight, 100% recyclable, and dissolves quite fast. Depending on the manufacturer, its price can be significantly lower than the bubble wrap one.

2.5 Recyclable Plastic Bags

Thanks to the efforts of the UK government and the EU council, non-recyclable plastic bags are viewed as persona non grata. You can easily find rolls of eco-friendly bags at your local store, and you should purchase a couple of them. They are an irreplaceable helper when collecting and packing your belongings. Make sure you read the labels and pick the dissolvable ones since, sadly, some packaging can be misleading.

2.6 The Dangers of Oxo-degradable Bubble Wrap

At the end of our list, we want to showcase some alarming information that has surfaced recently. When first introduced to the market, oxo-degradable plastics were the new best tithing. They were advertised as 100% eco-friendly, as the plastic dissolved seemingly to nothing in about 6 to 8 months. However, this is not the case. This material does not degrade. Instead, it breaks down into microscopic pieces of plastic. That is all, oxo-degradable plastic uses oxygen molecules to transform from a big pile of trash into a microscopic one. These small particles make their way into the ocean, where they are ingested by marine animals, slowly killing them. That is why we urge our customers and readers not to purchase oxo-degradable bubble wrap. It is still plastic and needs 1 000 years to go away. Use corrugated paper roll. It has the same perks as bubble wrap and is completely safe for the environment.

faq section3. FAQ

Now, let’s answer some popular questions about green packing materials that can help you understand why you should opt for them.

3.1 What Are Eco-friendly Materials?

The term eco-friendly stands for all materials that are not harmful to the environment, meaning they are not toxic or cause death if ingested. Usually, they are made from recyclable or compostable materials. It is important to carefully read the labels of the products you purchase. Sometimes they can be marked only as “natural” which means nothing. If you think about it, oil is also natural – it comes from the Earth, but you would want to swim in an oil spill.

3.2 What Is a Biodegradable Material?

Biodegradable materials are substances that can be dissolved with the help of bacteria, fungi, and other living organisms. Think about food waste, paper, cotton, wool, etc. If you want to know more about the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials we urge you to check this brilliantly written article.

3.3 Can You Buy Eco-friendly Packing Options from the Store?

The short answer is “Yes.” The long one is: “It depends on what you want”. For example, paper tape, recyclable bags are easily found. However, you would have to order online or with your moving service provider some packing materials like corrugated paper rolls or plastic crates.

3.4 What Should I Do with the Packing Materials after the Move?

There are five things you can do:

  • Throw away you can place the unwanted materials in their assigned garbage container and forget about them. Since everything is eco-friendly, you won’t be making an imprint on the environment.
  • Compost – All biodegradable materials can be put in your compost bin and eventually become a part of your garden.
  • Donate – You can post an ad you give away free, recyclable packing materials and help a person in your community to have a green relocation.
  • Cash – Some materials like paper can be brought to your local recycling centre for processing and exchanged for money. So you can return your cardboard boxes and get some extra change.
  • Store them – Keep the materials for the next time you may need them. Remember, they must be stored in a low-humid place to avoid mould problems.

3.5 Where Can I Find Free Packing Materials?

You can upcycle some of the items you already have in your home or search online for people who give up packing materials. There are many ways to obtain free boxes, and we have explored the most common ones here.

We hope we have helped you understand what green packing materials are and how you can use them. We must stay mindful of the environment and minimise the trash we produce daily. If you have more questions or want to know in detail about a specific product or service, drop us a comment. Our expert house movers will love to hear from you and answer all of your queries.

Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie is a content marketing specialist for Top Removals for the past several years. She has extensive experience working with moving companies and knows her audience. Stephanie creates engaging and useful content helping the customers of Top Removals with their struggles and providing them with the most accurate insight.

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