We live our lives more sustainably than ever before, but can you move house and stay green?

Australians are becoming increasingly aware of our impact on the environment. The popular show War On Waste alerted us to the mountain of plastic straws and takeaway coffee cups we were sending to our landfills and seas, highlighting the throwaway nature of our clothing and furniture purchases. There is a definite and positive sustainability shift in the choices we make when deciding what we buy, how we use it and where our food comes from.

Many Australian suburbs now have organically minded wholefood stores instead of fast food corner shops, and we’ve swapped plastic cups of milky instant coffee for single origin, ethically sourced beans made with soy for our Keep Cups. Most states have now banned single-use plastic bags. We sort our recycling and we fight back against unnecessary packaging, but how do we remain sustainable when we move house?

Before the move

Moving in a ‘green’ way means a bit of work and planning before the big day. The ultimate goal is to only move what you intend to use, with the least amount of packaging and the smallest carbon footprint.

Less is best.

Go through your home, room by room and take a good look. When did you last pull out that board game to play? Are you really going to use that DVD player now that you have Netflix? What is in those drawers in the hallway? Hold a garage sale, give clothes that no longer fit to a friend or charity, sell dust-collecting ornaments and put furniture you never use on Gumtree.

Bin the rest.

It can be tempting to dump everything in the bin and forget about it during a stressful move, but if you want to dispose of your waste ethically, you need to separate it out. Book a street collection with your local council, or use a waste collection service who will do the sorting for you. Collect your old mobile phones, computers and cables to take to your local e-waste centre or visit your local mobile phone retailer who should have recycling stations in-store.

Re-use & re-purpose.

Can the old iron chairs in your garden get a lick of paint to brighten up your new balcony?  Does your floor lamp just need a new contemporary lampshade to create a new look for your lounge? Before you purchase flat pack furniture, see what you can upcycle from local markets and garage sales. Taking a pre-loved item and creating your own unique piece of furniture adds a story from your old postcode into your new home.

Recycle packaging.

Look to reuse boxes for your move by heading to your local supermarket where you’ll often find multi-size, sturdy packing options. Instead of purchasing a large roll of bubble wrap or a box of polystyrene pellets that can’t be recycled, use what you already have! Utilise bedding, clothes and towels to wrap and protect fragile items as you pack. Not only will your breakable items be protected and scratch free, but you’ll also have fewer boxes to unpack when you arrive at your new abode.

Moving day

Book a removalist.

Once you have a moving day locked in, it’s time to book your removalist. Find a removalist who backloads to reduce the environmental impact of moving. Backloading is when a transporter fills spare space in their truck or trailer and completes one job en route to another.

Ecoloads enables a sustainable house move through offsetting the carbon emissions associated with your moving job. You can post your job on ecoloads and trusted transporters from your location, bid on your job – saving you time and money – and most importantly putting the environment first with Greenfleet. Ecoloads ultimately offers sustainably-minded Australians an opportunity to move house whilst mitigating their environmental impact.

Power up!

Moving house is a perfect opportunity to reassess your utility providers. Before you call to transfer your current energy account, hop online and compare green energy options and discounts.

Go paperless.

Rather than have a letterbox stuffed full of ‘return to sender’ circulars, mailings and bills, spend an hour at your laptop going paperless. Log into your accounts, select email bills and paperless options and cancel any subscriptions or regular mailings you get and never read. You’ll find you’ll also save yourself a few dollars as most utility and telecom companies offer discounts for moving to email bills and direct debit setups.

In your new home

There are still a few things you can do as you settle into your new home to reduce waste and environmental impact.

Make your final clean, green.

Ask your end of lease cleaner which cleaning products they are using and book one which uses green Geca approved products. Clean Focus is a green certified cleaning agency servicing most states Australia-wide. If you’re putting in the hard yards and cleaning your property yourself, choose a green range of supermarket cleaning products such as Earthcare or ones which are Planet Ark approved.

Add some plants.

Plants suck up the Co2 we put out into the atmosphere and create a soothing, calm environment. Generate a peaceful green space in your new abode with some plants, or have fun creating a terrarium as a family project.

Lightbulb moment.

Most of us don’t look at the bulbs which are already installed in our new homes, and we just continue to use them. Replace old, energy-sapping lightbulbs on the day you move in, to instantly make your new home a little greener. Also, you may want to consider replacing old, electricity-guzzling and water-wasting appliances with more energy efficient models, kickstarting a new lease on life with a renewable vibe.

Moving home in a sustainable way doesn’t need to cost you the earth, and with a bit of pre-planning, you can move house with a clean, green conscience.

Author

Jordan Panos is the founder of the environmentally minded delivery service ecoloads.com.au. He loves sharing his sustainable ideas on how to make your move to a new home greener. Ecoloads connects customers who need something moved, with transporters who have the means to deliver. Moving office or house, furniture, or something bigger (like a piano), or heavier (like a car), this free-to-use website hosts hundreds of transporters who bid on transport jobs Australia-wide. Ecoloads was recently won the Westpac 200 Businesses of Tomorrow award, recognised for its positive contribution to Australia's transport and environment sector.

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