With the large number of boxes and paper that you’re likely to use during a move, it’s easy to see how much waste can be produced. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 1,580 pounds of waste are generated per person each year–and most of that comes in the form of paper and paperboard. Here are a few moving tips to reduce waste when you head to your new apartment:


Before you start packing everything up, go through all of your things and declutter. You may find that you won’t want to bring certain items with you. This can help reduce the amount of storage required to move those items.

Double Duty

Instead of relying on plastic foam to fill your boxes, pack each container with reusable or recyclable padded towels, newspaper or cloth. Remember that old T-shirt in the back of your closet that you never wear? Well, it can be put to good use now.

You can use packing peanuts if you choose starch-based ones that are biodegradable. Plus, many packaging and shipping stores will happily take your used packing peanuts. If you can’t resist bubble wrap for its fun-to-pop material, you can opt for a post-consumer recycled plastic type instead.

Before you begin using cardboard boxes, pack your clothes and linens into suitcases or duffel bags that you already own.

Check with Local Businesses

Oftentimes, local businesses will have leftover boxes that you can pick up instead of buying new ones. You can also ask any neighbors that may have recently moved in if they have any packing materials that you can use.

Ask Your Moving Company

If you go with a moving company, ask around to see if they offer reusable crates instead of cardboard boxes and plastic film. Many provide this service and still remain cost competitive compared to traditional moving practices. StopWaste.org prevented the use of 826 pounds of cardboard simply by switching to reusable crates.

Dispose of Non-Recyclable Items

Before you move, reduce waste by cleaning out non-recyclable items like household disinfectants, paints, automotive supplies and other hazardous items that may require special disposal. Check with your waste company to see if it has drop-off locations.

Recycle Your Boxes and Bags

After you have unpacked everything into your new apartment, flatten each of your cardboard boxes so they can be recycled. You can also salvage clean, dry plastic bags and wrapping at your local grocery store.