How to reduce garbage when you move

Protecting the environment is an important concern for consumers and businesses alike, but many don’t realize that moving can have a positive impact on the environment.

Waste caused by the moving process not only stems from packing supplies, but also from the items accumulated over many years within a home. Both sources can be extremely taxing on the environment if not properly managed.

Here are five ways to make it a cleaner, greener process and reduce garbage when you move.

  1. Plan ahead: Waiting until the last minute to prepare for a move often makes environmental concerns an afterthought. Start early so you have the extra time to sort through recyclable items for delivery to recycling depots prior to moving day.
    Typically, your garage, basement and attic contain the highest concentration of recyclable materials, so start the sorting process there first. Consider holding a garage sale or donating gently used tools or small appliances to a charity rather than have them end up in landfill.
  2. Research: Check the garbage and recycling section of the City of Ottawa’s website for guidance on what can be left curbside, what can be dropped off at depots and what needs to be dealt with in other ways. If you live outside Ottawa, check Earth911 for a list of local organizations that can dispose of all types of recyclable materials.
  3. Organize: Prepare recyclables by organizing into categories: plastic, glass, aluminum, paper, cardboard, etc.
  4. Beware of hazards: As you clean out your garage and basement, be aware of what’s being packed to move with you and which items are to be disposed. Toxic items, like paint, batteries, cleaning products, automobile oils, pesticides and fertilizers, cannot be transported in the back of a commercial moving truck. Nor can they be thrown out with your regular garbage. Look up the specialized recycling depots for toxic products in Ottawa here.
  5. Reuse: Don’t throw away used boxes when the move is complete. A well-made corrugated box is great for storage or may be reused for a future move. Contact schools or charity organizations such as women’s shelters, scout troops and food banks to see if they need boxes to redistribute donated items. Donating gently used boxes not only reduces waste, but can be a big help in support of a good cause.

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