Packaging makes up 30% of landfill waste. Because of this, going package-free (or zero-waste in general) is one of the best options you can have to reduce your impact in landfill. But this is close to impossible while moving to a new house, so the next greatest alternative is using sustainable materials that are just as durable.
Finding the Right Moving Service
First thing’s first. If you want to move and pack the eco-friendly way but need some extra help, be sure to contact a local moving service that provides sustainable packaging for you. That way you have extra help without adding to the problem of wasteful packaging.
Considering What to Replace
We currently have a throwaway culture when it comes to packaging. A 2007 study found that plastic material represents 20% of all packaging essentials, and 53% of all goods use plastic.
The good news is, companies are responding by replacing plastic packaging for sustainable alternatives. If you want to contribute to this change, at least consider replacing a few things:
Bubble Wrap & Foam Peanuts
Yes, bubble wrap. Despite current efforts, bubble wrap is hard to recycle. In fact, a 2015 article cited that bubble wrap isn’t recycled in the UK, making it much easier to be a bigger problem in landfill.
The same can be said for foam peanuts. In fact, the 300,000 tons of foam peanuts is such a huge issue that New York put a ban on using it altogether.
Again, our goal here is to reduce the waste we produce. Don’t use those foam peanuts for your breakables! There actually a ton of biodegradable alternatives to foam peanuts and bubble wrap: air foam peanuts, biodegradable bags, mushroom packaging and even seaweed packaging.
If you want to go the extra mile, consider using recycled newspapers or magazines instead. You can also opt for beans, yarn and clothes for your breakables.
Being the most used kind of tape for packaging, a study found that an excess of 10 billion square meters of packaging tape are produced a year. The good news is that the same study cited that packaging tape can be recycled—but mainly through thermal recycling, or melting the plastic to reuse it again.
You can also look into gum or water-activated paper packing tape. It’s plastic-free, cost-effective and absorbs deep into the carton box. In other words, it becomes part of the box, so there’s no need to worry about how it secures your essentials.
Recycling Moving Boxes
Sadly, paper and cardboard boxes make up 41% of waste. While 50% of cardboard is recycled, one third of landfill is still full of paper packaging material. The good news is that they’re easier to recycle than plastic, so go ahead and recycle moving boxes. Better yet, try some box-free alternatives like recyclable garbage bags or even reusable green grocery bags.
Handling Leftover Food
Don’t leave leftover food out to rot before you move! 11.5% of the population waste food before moving. Already, food waste is a huge problem in the United States, much more than plastic–with 35 million tons of food wasted every year. Use some reusable Tupperware instead, and give out all the food to your friends. If not, consider a moving day party where you cook all the items in your fridge.
One Last Thing
When you want to recycle things you don’t use anymore before moving, consider giving them away or contacting a local junk shop or a recycling center. These are great places that can reuse your things without adding impact to the environment.
Even when moving to a new house, you can make a community effort to save the environment.
We have more good news: consumers actively want more environmentally friendly products. From package-free stores to plant-based packaging alternatives, we’re a few steps closer to more responsible corporations that use more sustainable packaging—including Sealed Air. Already, we have great, sustainable alternatives that can reduce our impact on landfill one house at a time.