Moving In a Greener Direction

Moving isn’t particularly easy on anyone. It usually lands somewhere near the top of those lists of hypothetical life stressors. But as hard as it is on you, it can be an even worse hit to the Earth. Between the mountain of boxes you have to somehow get rid of and a giant truck idling outside your place all day, the process doesn’t exactly scream eco-conscious. You may not have even been aware there are alternatives. But the “green moving” movement is growing, as more people become aware that they actually have a choice in the matter. 

What is green moving?

Green moving is essentially any conscious steps you take during the moving process to limit your move’s impact on the environment. There’s no formal definition but, as with all conservation steps, it begins with small changes you can make on your own, like:

  • Packing in containers you already own (yes, that means your giant Rubbermaid containers, but also suitcases, shoe boxes, or all those canvas totes you have in the closet)
  • Minimizing trips back and forth to the new place
  • Using used boxes whenever possible and recycling them on to the next movers

And while some of these are common sense, the stress of moving is enough to make anyone forget their best-laid plans. As Mark Erhardt of Brooklyn-based green moving company Movers, Not Shakers! explains, “By the time you’ve done all of the real-estate-related tasks that have finally led you to seek out a mover, it may just not be a priority to find one that is environmentally friendly. You just want someone to move your stuff quickly, affordably, and without a hassle.” He’s quick to add “Which we also do.”

Why bother with green moving?

There are two important reasons to consider a green move: first, it makes things easier on the planet; second, it can make things easier on you. Let’s start with the altruistic one. A green moving company is one that makes a conscious decision to prioritize the health of the planet in its practices. Look for a mover that backs up those promises with proof of their priorities. As Erhardt explains, their trucks run on Biodiesel, a carbon-neutral alternative to gas that’s recycled from cooking oil used at local restaurants. That means an 80% reduction in emissions. 

Green moving

Photo courtesy Movers, Not Shakers!

Green movers should also provide you with reusable boxes. At Movers, Not Shakers, Ehrhardt says they use “reusable bins that are sturdy, easy to pack in, and great for the environment since they can be reused literally hundreds of times.”

OK, but what’s in it for you with a green move?

So you’ve probably just made one of the biggest financial transactions of your life and you’re stressed out and you can’t remember if you already packed the one pair of shoes you can’t find. You might not have the emotional bandwidth to deal with responsibly sourcing your cardboard. That’s why the best strategy is to plan ahead and get some guidance. 

As Erhardt explains, they try to make everything as easy as possible. “We deliver bins to your door before you pack, or we use them if we are. No cardboard to source, make into individual boxes, and dispose of post-move. Just call us when the bins are emptied, unless we are emptying them for you, and we will come get them, and clean them out and get them ready for their next destination.”

Moving is never going to be easy. But there are countless ways to make it less stressful. The key is to plan ahead and do your research. Give yourself the time you need to do it the right way. And when all those reusable boxes get hauled away and you never have to think about them again, go ahead and pat yourself on the back.


Note: As of April 15, 2020, Movers, Not Shakers is offering 10% off its services. Please contact them to inquire if the rate is still in effect for future moves: (718) 243-0221 


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