You may not think that the way you utilize your storage unit can have an impact on the environment, but it can. Believe it or not, there are things you can do to help minimize your carbon footprint when putting items away for short-term or long-term storage. Benefits include saving you money over the long term, reducing global warming, conserving previous global resources and helping to reduce the 250 million tons of trash generated in the United States each year.
Read on to discover a number of ways to keep your stuff safe and help protect planet earth at the same time.
1. Stay away from plastic containers
Yes, those big plastic storage bins are everywhere. They’re durable, they’re cheap, and they’re easy to stack when putting your stored items away. But the production of plastic materials produces environmentally harmful pollutants. The alternative? Biodegradable but sturdy cardboard boxes that can be recycled when it’s time for them to be replaced.
2. Pack sustainably
Cardboard is a great start, but what about the materials you’re using to safeguard your items? Non-biodegradable Styrofoam and peanuts are no friend of the environment, so look into biodegradable packing peanuts or more commonly accessible materials like newspaper, paper towels, old items of clothing or even towels you no longer use on a regular basis. Also consider using reusable plastic ties to secure boxes instead of packing tape.
3. Use Pallets
Placing your boxes and other items on wooden shipping pallets will keep them off the floor and make them less susceptible to damage from cold or moisture. Many retail stores receive their inventory on them and dispose of them when they’re done. Check around some of the retailers in your area to see if they’re willing to recycle them with you, for a good cause.
4. Clean consciously
It’s a good idea to clean your storage unit from time to time and make sure your items are in good condition. When you do so, try to use cleaning materials that are environmentally friendly instead of ones that are made from toxic chemicals. You can even search online to find recipes for your own homemade green cleaning supplies.
5. One truckload, if possible
If you don’t have access to a truck, consider moving your items into or out of your storage unit with a borrowed or rented truck to help cut down on carbon emissions.