How to Achieve an Eco-Friendly Move

In a world that is trying to fulfill a zero-waste policy, one thing California residents can do is make their move as eco-friendly as possible. The best part? Turns out that achieving an eco-friendly move is relatively easy and can even save you time and money. Below are some simple but useful ideas to get you started.

Rent Plastic Moving Boxes

There are many reasons why cardboard moving boxes aren’t the most eco-friendly moving option. Some cardboard moving boxes made from recycled materials contain harmful chemicals like Diisobutyl Phthalate from inks, glues, and other substances. Ideally, cardboard moving boxes would be recycled post-move, but sometimes they end up in landfills, leaching these chemicals into the earth. As well, the recycling process in itself uses energy and resources.

Finding and using free moving boxes is an okay option for being eco-friendly since it’s repurposing and reusing an item. But used cardboard boxes can cause complications during your move. Also finding free boxes can sometimes be quite a challenge and takes time.

An eco-friendly, timesaving, and affordable option is to rent plastic moving boxes. The plastic moving boxes from Boxbee, for example, are made from recycled plastic and will last a lifetime. Plastic moving boxes never have to end up in a landfill and don’t have to go through the recycling process. They’re simply made once and can be used again and again. Renting reusable moving boxes will save you time too. Since they’ll be delivered and picked up from your house, you won’t have to deal with driving from place to place searching for boxes.

Packing Paper Made from Recycled Newsprint

Now that you’ve found an eco-friendly moving box option, the next step is green packing supplies. For many items, packing paper is a must. Newsprint can be a green option, but it can stain your belongings. And who wants to spend their time scrubbing ink off dishes right after they’ve moved in? A green alternative is packing paper made from recycled materials. You can select packing paper made from recycled newsprint, for example, that’s sturdy and reliable and will efficiently protect your belongings during the moving process. Packing paper is reusable and recyclable, too, so it can keep being eco-friendly even after you’re done with it.

Using Towels to Insulate Items

Your own household items can be great options for insulating a moving box. With plastic moving boxes, too, you don’t need to worry about moisture seeping through (and we all know that California can have some rainy days). Towels are great for layering the bottom of a moving box, providing just a little bit of extra cushioning for fragile items. Towels are also good for filling any gaps or empty spaces so that your belongings are fully insulated.

If you use your own towels to insulate items in cardboard boxes, definitely wash them after. If you use them in plastic moving boxes, your towels will remain clean. No washing is required, which further reduces the carbon footprint of your moving process.

Bubble Wrap or Styrofoam?

Of all the decisions during the moving process, this is the easiest one to make. Bubble wrap for the win! According to Bay Area city websites, there are no viable, cost-effective markets currently available for recycling expanded polystyrene (styrofoam). Bubble wrap, on the other hand, can be placed in your recycling bin and sent to the recycling facility. Another way to move in an eco-friendly manner!

Socks, Gloves, and Beanies for Smaller Fragile Items

Get creative with green moving by using what you already have. Instead of investing in moving supplies, look to your wardrobe. Socks, gloves, beanies, and more can be used to wrap those smaller, more fragile items, such as glassware and various ornaments. You can pack them into the sides of your reusable moving boxes to offer an additional layer of protection to your larger items.

Wrapping those fragile items in a bundle of socks is a smart idea. Try to use older, more rugged clothes, since you’ll likely want to tape up the bundle to stop those fragile items from slipping out. Tape and other sticky substances can damage clothes, so opt for underwear and socks if you’re going to be sticking anything together.

If you’re looking to avoid plastic bubble wrap or packing peanuts, this is a great way to protect the environment and do your part to go green.


Giving yourself enough time for organizing your belongings is vital for using less and saving on your moving costs. Nestling smaller items alongside bigger items reduce the amount of dead space you have in your boxes. Organizing also negates the need for extra packing supplies.

For example, packaging peanuts are heavier than people think, including biodegradable ones. Those extra ounces added to your move will cost you when it comes to paying your moving invoice.

Think of it as one big giant game of Tetris. Start with larger items and fragile items, before adding everything else alongside them.  Organization can help reduce the number of boxes and supplies, and it can add an element of fun to the dull job of packing. How good are your Tetris skills?

Donate Items You No Longer Need

Alternatively, you can opt for moving less stuff in the first place. Donate or sell any items you don’t need to move along with you rather than throw them in the garbage.   You get the great feeling of getting rid of your clutter responsibly before your big move and helping someone in need as well.

Always Recycle

Eco-friendly moving boxes are designed to be reused or recycled. Cardboard itself is great for the environment, but that only applies if you will recycle or reuse the boxes. The hard work and effort of moving means that it can become very easy to discount this step. If you’re committed to green moving, go the extra mile and have a plan for disposing of your packing supplies.

Want more ideas for eco-friendly moving in California? Boxbee has rentable plastic moving boxes, environmentally friendly packing supplies, and more.