For most individuals and families, relocating is tough. Starting anew, whether locally or overseas, may be one of the biggest tasks you’ll ever undertake, and it promises to be complicated and ridden with anxiety. Add to that the huge amount of waste that usually comes with moving, and even the calmest of eco-warriors would get climate-anxious.
However, moving can be less wasteful, as long as you have a bit of patience and creativity. Here are some simple practices to make your potential move or relocation out of Hong Kong greener:
1. Sort and declutter
There’s no point moving all of your belongings if you don’t need them all, so start by making three lists of things that are a) essential, b) nice to have, and c) disposable. This give you an estimate of the time and cost required to pack, and help you determine whether you’ll really need to buy anything new when you reach your destination.
The less boxes you move across the world, the better it will be for the planet!
2. Sell or donate used items
Once you’ve identified the list of things you want to get rid of, post them on secondhand sites like Geoexpat, Facebook Marketplace, Carousell or even on your building’s notice board. Remember: one (wo)man’s junk is another (wo)man’s treasure! This way, you’ll be finding your pre-loved items new homes while earning a bit of pizza money for those long nights of packing!
3. Use pre-loved packing materials
Instead of buying brand new corrugated boxes and packing supplies, ask your friends or your ever-helpful community Facebook group for help. Most likely, someone will have them just lying around and stressing about how best to dispose of them. You can also head on over to your nearest neighbourhood grocery to ask for packing boxes. Most of the time, they’ll just be binning them anyway!
4. Rent reusable moving boxes
If you’re unable to get free boxes from your friends or neighbours, you might want to consider renting boxes. Talk to your relocation provider for this service. There are also some companies like Cube Self Storage that rent out plastic boxes for local moves. They’re sturdier and come in different, purpose-built sizes such as for transporting books, breakables, or electronic equipment.
5. Use sustainable movers
Movers are dime a dozen in a transient city like Hong Kong. So, it’s important that you shortlist them by checking if they have eco-friendly practices or sustainability in mind. It could be as simple as opting for digital copies of documentation (there can be a lot!), or more complex business practices such as choosing more eco-friendly travel routes. This can include avoiding rush hour or prioritising the use of freight trains over trucks.
6. Pack efficiently
And now, onto the messy business of packing. The trick is to treat everything as a vessel for packing so that you can minimise the number of boxes you’ll need.
Pots can be stuffed with non-perishable food or small trinkets, while travel suitcases or duffle bags can also be stuffed with other items to save space. Another great trick is to use plastic vacuum compression bags that will suck all the air out of your blankets and clothing. They’re reusable, too!
7. Wrap items in fabric instead of paper
Want to avoid using endless rolls of bubble wrap? One of the best hacks is to wrap fragile items with fabric instead. Get creative by using towels, scarves or even blankets to protect your glassware, plates or artwork. Shirts can also be stuffed into boxes instead of the typical styrofoam packing peanuts to provide an eco-friendly alternative – and better cushioning.
8. Choose sea freight
For things that you don’t need straight away, consider choosing sea freight over air. Not only will it save you money, but it’s the more eco-friendly option, too.
A UK study discovered that a plane creates 44 times more CO2 than a ship when carrying the same freight over the same distance – so you can feel good about reducing your carbon footprint during your move.
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