Sustainability in the Moving Industry

sustainability in the moving industry

Sustainability has become an increasingly important issue for all businesses, and the moving industry is no different. As moving companies become more aware of their environmental impact, they are actively seeking out ways to reduce the waste that has historically been part of the moving industry and find ways to help their customers do the same.

In this blog, we’ll discuss sustainability in the moving industry and the importance of implementing ways to address it. We will look at how moving companies can incorporate a variety of practices into their business and will also touch upon some ways individual companies and homeowners can make their own moves more sustainable.

First, let’s define sustainability. According to UCLA, “Sustainability is the balance between the environment, equity, and economy”.  This is achieved through sustainable practices, “that support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality. Sustainability presumes that resources are finite and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the ways in which resources are used. In simplest terms, sustainability is about our children and our grandchildren, and the world we will leave them.”

Ways the moving industry, and those moving can help achieve sustainability


  • Use alternatives to cardboard boxes. Check with your moving company. Many will offer the low-cost rental of plastic bins. They will drop them off ahead of moving day and pick them up once the move is over, after the employees have had some time to unpack.
  • Source recycled packing materials. These materials are often cheaper than new, again reducing costs as well as the environmental impact.


  • Reuse packing materials: Very often packing materials can be reused several times. By using packing materials from previous moves that are in good condition, not only do moving companies become more environmentally friendly, but they also reduce their own costs.
  • Donate furniture, office supplies, and other items that are no longer needed to charities or organizations in need. According to the EPA, 17 billion pounds of office assets end up in landfills each year. Companies like Green Standards exist to help used furniture in good condition find new homes at needy non-profits and other charitable organizations. Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill will also take items. Be sure to call ahead of time to make sure they can take the donation and arrange any logistical details.
  • Sell used furniture. There are also businesses that will purchase used office furniture. While they are for-profit businesses, this ensures items do not end up in a landfill. Many small start-ups find much needed furniture at a price they can afford this way.


  • When you have completed your move, all paper and cardboard can be recycled. Most towns have recycling programs with conveniently located receptacles for large quantities of paper and cardboard. Contact the town’s public works department to find out the location of your local one. Additionally, there are companies that, for a modest fee, will come and take these materials to be recycled.
Sterling is dedicating to sustainability in the moving industry

At Sterling Corporation, we are committed making your move easy and as environmentally sustainable as possible. We have put these practices into our everyday operations and make them a seamless part of every move we do.

By replacing carboard boxes with plastic crates, we estimate over the last 25 years, we have used over 1 million plastic crates rather than 1.5 million cardboard boxes –  reducing our carbon footprint by 6.62 million lbs. and saving approximately 23,000 trees.

We often donate furniture that is in good, reusable condition to a wide variety of local charitable groups and organizations, such as schools, fire and police departments.  Sterling is proud to provide these groups with necessary furniture and equipment to help them free up resources needed to provide much needed services within the community.

Any furniture that is not reusable is recycled. Nothing goes to waste.

By following the simple, common sense sustainability methods and incorporating new technologies, we make sure that our moving services are as eco-friendly as possible.

Interesting Facts on Waste in the Residential Moving Industry

According to, this is the amount of residential moving waste created yearly in the United States:

  • 900 million cardboard boxes
  • 4 million tons of discarded possessions.
  • 345,000 tons of food
  • 353 million gallons of fuel
  • 90 million pounds of packing paper
  • 30 million rolls of tape