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Eco-Friendly Packing Supplies for Your Move (2024)

Default Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle Updated 04/03/2024

Are you wondering how to make your move more sustainable? There are steps you can take to minimize its environmental impact, such as using eco-friendly packing supplies. Whether you’re renting a truck or hiring professional movers, environmentally friendly packing supplies can help you move without compromising your ideals or the safety of your belongings. In this article, we’ll share sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic and styrofoam supplies and provide tips for making your move more eco-friendly.


What Are Eco-Friendly Packing Supplies?

Eco-friendly packing supplies include materials and products designed to minimize environmental impact throughout their life cycle. Unlike traditional packing supplies that may contribute to excess waste and pollution, these products promote sustainability and reusability. Examples include recycled cardboard boxes and biodegradable packing peanuts.


Types of Eco-Friendly Packing Supplies

If you’re planning an environmentally conscious move, you’ll find various packing supplies that align with your goals. These products use materials that are recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable. Here are a few examples:

Biodegradable packing peanuts: Made from cornstarch and other natural starches, these packing peanuts dissolve in water. This makes them fully biodegradable, unlike traditional styrofoam peanuts.
Compostable bubble wrap: Compostable bubble wrap uses bioplastics or other biodegradable materials such as cornstarch, sugarcane fiber, or cellulose.
Eco-friendly packing tape: Paper packing tape that uses a water-activated, plant-based adhesive can be recycled or composted, unlike polypropylene or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tape.
Recycled cardboard boxes: These moving boxes use recycled cardboard, which reduces the need for virgin wood pulp. They can be recycled again after being used.
Sustainable packing materials: In addition to the products mentioned above, use recycled paper, corrugated cardboard inserts, and other sustainable packing supplies and cushioning materials.

Where To Buy Eco-Friendly Packing Supplies

Most stores that sell packing supplies carry at least one or two eco-friendly products such as recycled boxes and paper tape. This includes office supply stores, packing and shipping supply stores, and home improvement stores. However, you can find more options online from specialty retailers and eco-friendly brands. Look for products that feature an FSC label, which certifies they have been approved by the Forest Stewardship Council. Here are a few sites to check:

  • Amazon: You can find almost any needed eco-friendly packing supply on Amazon. However, we wouldn’t recommend relying solely on search results. Instead, carefully read product descriptions and customer reviews to determine whether an item meets your criteria.
  • EcoEnclose: EcoEnclose is an e-commerce site that sells sustainable packaging with a focus on circular and regenerative materials. Products range from compostable tape to 100% recycled boxes and packing paper.
  • Mushroom Packaging: Mushroom Packaging produces compostable packaging materials that resemble egg cartons. Its selection includes wine shippers, breakaway corner protectors, and a variety of packaging shapes that could be used to cushion items or fill space.
  • Noissue: Noissue sells e-commerce and retail supplies, including many packing and shipping materials. This online store carries eco-friendly tissue paper, gummed packing tape, and curbside recyclable shipping boxes.
  • Online marketplaces: Buying used packing supplies from people who’ve recently moved is another sustainable strategy. Check sites such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for people selling or giving away boxes and other leftover supplies.
  • Uline: Uline offers eco-friendly shipping supplies such as kraft paper sheets, starch peanuts, and starch foam sheets. The company also sells cardboard boxes in a variety of sizes that can be recycled after use.

Note that most of the retailers on our list cater more to small businesses with custom biodegradable packaging, compostable mailers, and alternatives to plastic bags.


How To Choose Eco-Friendly Packing Supplies

It can be difficult to decide which packing supplies to choose. Below are some steps you can take to find the proper sustainable materials for your move:

  • Assess which items you need to pack. Note the size, weight, and fragility of your belongings to determine the appropriate packing supplies and create a list of what you need to purchase.
  • Research eco-friendly packing supplies that align with your needs and values.
  • Consider the environmental impact of various packing products you find, from the raw materials used to the post-consumer life cycle.
  • Look for products labeled compostable, biodegradable, recycled, or made from sustainable materials—preferably with an FSC certification.
  • Choose supplies that minimize waste and the use of nonrenewable resources.

Benefits of Eco-Friendly Packing Supplies

Using eco-friendly packing supplies for your move offers a multitude of benefits, both for the environment and for your moving experience.

Environmental

Economic

Health

Eco-friendly packing supplies are typically made from renewable resources or recycled materials, leading to several positive implications. First, choosing sustainable alternatives will help reduce the carbon footprint associated with the production and disposal of conventional packing materials. By minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, eco-friendly choices mitigate climate change.

Second, eco-friendly packing supplies support conservation efforts. Using plant-based bioplastics and recycled materials contributes to the conservation of timber, oil, water, and other natural resources. By reducing demand for virgin materials, eco-friendly products help preserve biodiversity and crucial ecosystems.

Finally, choosing eco-friendly packing supplies results in less waste generation and pollution. These products utilize biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable materials to divert waste from landfills. By reducing the amount of waste sent to disposal facilities, they help to minimize environmental pollution and alleviate the strain on waste management systems.

While some eco-friendly packing supplies may have a slightly higher upfront cost, they often prove cost-effective in the long run. For instance, investing in reusable plastic bins or sturdy cardboard boxes lets you use them multiple times. This can result in significant cost savings compared to purchasing single-use supplies.

Alternatively, you can recoup some of the cost by selling supplies you don’t intend to reuse. Rather than immediately recycling or composting your packing peanuts, bubble wrap, boxes, or packing paper, post them on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Other eco-conscious movers may be delighted to save a little money by purchasing leftover or secondhand supplies.

Conventional packing supplies such as certain plastics and styrofoam can release harmful chemicals into the air. These chemicals, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), may negatively impact indoor air quality and potentially cause health issues. You can minimize your exposure to these harmful substances by purchasing eco-friendly alternatives made from nontoxic materials.

Some individuals may also be sensitive or allergic to certain materials found in traditional packing supplies, such as synthetic fibers or adhesives. Eco-friendly products made from natural or organic materials often contain fewer allergens and irritants. This is particularly beneficial for those with respiratory conditions.


Additional Eco-Friendly Moving Tips

Choosing eco-friendly packing supplies isn’t the only way to make your move more sustainable. Keep the following tips in mind as you prepare for your move:

  • If you plan to hire a local or long-distance moving company to handle packing, add environmental concerns to your list of screening questions. Ask providers about the supplies they use and any sustainability policies. If you can’t find a company that meets your standards, ask if you can supply your own eco-friendly packaging materials and factor that into your moving budget.
  • Instead of throwing out items while you’re decluttering for a move, donate or sell things you no longer need or want so they don’t end up in the landfill.
  • Keep clothes inside your dresser rather than transferring them to a different container.
  • Reuse delivery boxes and ask friends and family if they have any delivery boxes you can use for your move.
  • Review the list of what you need and consider what you already have on hand. For instance, you can cushion fragile belongings with towels, blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals and can use plastic containers to transport household items.

Our Conclusion

Choosing eco-friendly packing supplies for your move benefits the environment and offers several advantages. By favoring sustainable options such as biodegradable packing peanuts and recycled boxes, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help to preserve natural resources. After your move, reuse or sell leftover supplies to recoup some of your moving costs.


FAQ About Eco-Friendly Packing Supplies

What are the pros and cons of eco-friendly packing supplies?

Here are a few pros and cons of eco-friendly packing supplies:

  • Pro: Environmental benefits
  • Pro: Health benefits
  • Pro: Long-term cost savings
  • Con: Limited availability and selection
  • Con: Higher upfront cost

What packing supplies are the most environmentally friendly?

The most environmentally friendly packing supplies are made from recycled, biodegradable, or sustainable materials. Examples include compostable bubble wrap, biodegradable packing peanuts, packing paper, and recycled cardboard boxes.

What are three ways to reduce waste from packing?

Here are three ways to reduce waste from packing:

  1. Use the appropriate amount of packing materials to avoid waste.
  2. Choose reusable or biodegradable packing materials.
  3. Recycle, donate, or sell packing materials after your move.

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