Moving is stressful, but it
doesn't have to harm the environment
Relocation is often stressful and time-consuming, but rarely do we
wonder about the impact the process has on the environment. This is
amplified when moving to a smaller house or condominium, and
additional decisions have to be made regarding items that must
discarded in order to save space. If we dont make these decisions
deliberately, our choices can generate a lot of trash, and waste
energy and natural resources. Fortunately, we have other options so
that, when the time comes, we can relocate -- along with our stuff
Learn more about how to decrease the stress of moving your family
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stressful, but it doesn't have to harm the environment
Relocation is often stressful and time-consuming, but rarely
do we wonder about the impact the process has on the
environment. This is amplified when moving to a smaller
house or condominium, and additional decisions have to be
made regarding items that must discarded in order to save
space. If we dont make these decisions deliberately, our
choices can generate a lot of trash, and waste energy and
natural resources. Fortunately, we have other options so
that, when the time comes, we can relocate -- along with our
stuff -- responsibly.
Some measures to consider before
Buy less. The less you
accumulate, the less you will have to discard when it comes
time to relocate. Also, fight the urge to be a pack rat by
recycling and giving items away as they become obsolete to
you. If you put off these decisions until the day you have
to relocate, many of the things that you're on the fence
about keeping will likely end up in the trash because youll
be too preoccupied by the move to put the effort into
thoughtful and responsible disposal.
Discard items in a
responsible manner, rather than merely throwing them away.
Non-biodegradable trash doesnt disappear; it just
accumulates in new locations where it contaminates
groundwater and soil, off-gasses methane and other
greenhouse gasses, and overwhelms otherwise useful land. By
taking a few extra steps, you can save money, help others,
and minimize your impact on the environment.
Sort through your belongings
and decide what you dont want to take with you, separating
them into defined groups based on how best to dispose of
them. For instance, separate your unwanted items that
are in good working order, and can be reused by a friend or
neighbor, from other items that require special disposal,
such as hazardous chemicals or large, bulky items. See the
following sections on how to identify items for reuse,
recycling and special disposal.
Recycle. With a minimum
of effort, you can recycle old magazines and newspapers that
you do not want to take with you to your new home. Glass,
metal and plastics are also easily recyclable, and you will
conserve some of the raw materials and energy required to
produce these items by re-offering them. Many of the items
you clean out from your home might be recyclable in your
community curbside or drop-off recycling program. To
determine what items you can recycle, contact your local
environmental agency or waste-pickup service.
glass bottles and jars;
plastic bottles and jugs; and
scrap aluminum and cans.
Many items can
be dropped off for recycling at nearby locations, such as:
plastic grocery bags that are
often accepted for recycling at grocery stores;
used electronics, such as cell
phones and computers, which are collected for recycling at
electronics stores, school vocational programs, and by
bulky consumer goods. Your
municipality, by special request or at designated times of
the year, may collect appliances and other large discards,
such as non-working refrigerators and broken furniture.
Neighborhood yard sales are a
fun way to get rid of items and make a little extra money.
o Websites such as eBay, Craigslist and Freecycle provide
ways to advertise online, often for free, in order to unload
Antiques can be cleaned and sold
to antique and consignment shops.
Try putting items on your curb with a free sign. Or, take
them to your local Salvation Army Store, ARC Store, DAV
Store, Goodwill, women's shelter and homeless shelter as the
items lose their usefulness to you. Keep a spare bag in the
trunk of your vehicle, and take the reusable items that you
run across out to your car. Before you know it, you will
have a full bag to drop off at a thrift store or a
collection drive. Charitable donations to many non-profit
organizations are often tax-deductible. Popular donated
clothing and footwear;
bedding, curtains and towels;
books and magazines, which can
be donated to your local school, library, or community or
kitchenware and small, working
unwanted entertainment items,
such as CDs, DVDs and video games;
larger items, such as computers,
and stoves and refrigerators;
unopened food items, which will
be accepted at food banks and shelters.
Hire an environmentally
conscious moving company. When searching for a professional
service, select a competent expert who is concerned about
nature and takes active steps in employing environmentally
sound practices. Ask the company:
Do they encourage the use of
used boxes rather than insisting that each customer pay for
boxes? An environmentally conscious transporter should be
happy to take the materials from
you after your move to pass on to his or her next customer.
Are their vehicles
fuel-efficient? Ethanol-powered trucks are a bonus, although
gallon diesel and gasoline trucks are positive choices, too.
Moving vehicles may also be
fitted with devices that emit a sound to prevent animals
wandering into the road. It may seem trivial, but moving
vehicles spend a long time on the
road, and these devices can and do save the lives of many
animals. In Australia, they use
hopper stoppers to protect kangaroos. In much of the rest
of the world, deer are a bigger
If you dont use a professional
moving company, be smart about boxes and packing materials.
Rather than buying these items new, which unnecessarily adds
to the expense of moving, find them used. In most cases, old
boxes work just as well as new boxes. Liquor stores, grocery
stores, hardware and other retail stores are usually happy
to give away large cardboard boxes they no longer need and
would have to otherwise discard or recycle. Calling around
first will save you frustration and the emissions of driving
around town to individual stores. You can also ask friends
and neighbors if they have materials you can have or borrow.
Moving boxes are also popular freebies on Craigslist. By
following this tip, you will have reduced the number of
trees that must be chopped down and boxes that must be
manufactured. Also, by reusing boxes and packing material,
you keep them out of landfills. When you are finished
moving, keep the packing materials for future use, or pass
Oil should be disposed of
Properly dispose of hazardous
household items. While cleaning out and packing up the
basement, garage or shed, you might run across some products
such as cleaners, pesticides and paints, which are
corrosive, flammable or otherwise dangerous to the
environment and human health, if not disposed of properly.
See if your community has special drop-off sites or holds
periodic collection days for safe recycling and disposal of
these products. Some stores offer free recycling for
returned used goods at the point-of-purchase.
hazardous substances include:
art and photographic supplies;
spent printer cartridges;
leftover paints, stains and
light bulbs and fluorescent
spent batteries for laptops,
digital cameras and other personal electronics;
old car batteries;
used motor oil; and
pesticides and weed killer.
Also, beware of hazardous
chemicals that may contain gasoline, oil or other toxins.
Local environmental agencies across the country have set up
programs for homeowners to trade in their old
gasoline-powered lawnmowers and electric gardening
equipment. Contact your local solid waste collection outfit
or environmental agency to inquire about these programs.
In summary, relocation is often hectic and expensive, but it
doesnt have to damage the environment. You can also take
easy steps to pare down your material belongings and keep
them out of the landfill by reducing, reusing and recycling.
Counties Served in New Jersey
Monmouth County, and