Moving to a new home can generate a lot of waste from packing materials and burn a lot of fossil fuels. These simple tips will make short and long-distance moves greener.

All of those cardboard boxes, bubble wrap and gas-guzzling moving vans take a toll on Earth’s natural resources. There are ways, however, to make packing and moving to a new home a more eco-friendly process.

De-clutter Before Moving:

Just before a move is the perfect time to let go of clutter. Purging unwanted items may not seem environmentally friendly, but letting someone else put those used items to good use reduces the waste generated by producing and shipping new goods.

Reducing the number of possessions to be moved, especially for a long-distance move, will also lighten the load on moving day. Thus saving both fuel and packing materials, and with fewer possessions, a move to a smaller home that requires less energy to heat and cool may be a possibility.

Sell Used Goods:

Getting rid of unwanted and unneeded possessions does not have to mean a trip to the local landfill. Items in good condition may be taken to a consignment shop or sold through newspaper or Internet-based classified ads, such as Craig’s List.

Make a Tax-Deductible Donation:

One easy way to skim down the number of possessions to be moved is to donate unwanted items to non-profit organizations. Local libraries will often take books and DVDs. Charity thrift stores will take many items in good condition, including clothes, sporting goods, small and large appliances and even cars. With a receipt from the organization, such donations can be deducted when filing taxes.

Find Free Boxes for Moving:

For items to be moved, good packing materials are a necessity, but buying new cardboard boxes for every move is wasteful and expensive. The cardboard recycling area at the landfill or recycling center may have perfectly good broken down boxes that can be re-used rather than recycled.

Some moving rental companies also offer free used cardboard boxes for moving, provided the boxes are returned to a rental center for someone else to use. Free-cycle and Craig’s List are also good places to look for free packing materials. After moving, these materials can be given away again for someone else to use.

Save Packing Materials:

For renters and others who move often, storing moving boxes and bubble wrap may not be a bad idea. Broken-down boxes can easily be taped up again and re-used for the next move, or for donating items to thrift stores throughout the year. This method not only reduces waste, but also saves the hassle and expense of buying new moving boxes.

Buy Greener Packing Materials:

Sometimes, of course, it’s just not possible to reduce, reuse or recycle. Thankfully, there are more eco-friendly alternatives to nonrenewable, non-biodegradable packing materials like bubble wrap and packing peanuts. These more environmentally friendly materials, made from recycled paper and cardboard, can be purchased from office stores.

Even a cross-town move or a move to a rural area can be made a little greener with thoughtful de-cluttering and packing, by reusing and recycling materials when possible, donating unwanted goods, and buying used and eco-friendly products when necessary.