How to Recycle Stuff You're Not Moving & that's Hard to Recycle

How to Make Sure You're Not Disposing of Stuff the Wrong Way

Man putting empty wine bottle into recycling bin

Helena Wahlman / MediaBakery

Moving can not only be hard on you, it can also add a lot of waste to the environment. When you're planning your move, and sorting and deciding what to pack and what to leave behind, make sure you take into consideration the time and effort of properly disposing of items and try to choose packing products that can be recycled. Even though moving can be hard on the environment, taking a few extra steps can ensure that your move is green.

So whether it's plastics, computers or paint, use this list to help determine how to recycle the stuff that you can safely dispose of.

How to Recycle

Most cities and neighborhoods have recycling systems in place, whether it's curbside pick-up or recycling depots, sometimes referred to as "sort and drop", conveniently scattered across neighborhoods. But before you start to recycle, there are some things you need to do. First, find out if the products can be recycled and if so, rinse out all cans and bottles, remove lids from jars, sort paper by types and place in the appropriate bins for removal.

For people living in the US and Canada, you can find out how your city or town recycles by logging onto then type in your zip code or postal code. You'll see links to all the resources offered in your area, including how to recycle hazardous products and unwanted electronics, cell phones and other devices that would otherwise sit for centuries in our landfills.

For larger items that are still in working condition, always remember that many non-profit societies will gladly accept the donation. Find out how and where to donate your unwanted stuff.

Purchase Stuff That's Easy to Recycle

Try to be as earth-friendly as possible when purchasing or picking up free packing supplies. Although packing popcorn or peanuts provides a great cushion against bumps, they're made from Styrofoam which cannot be recycled and ends up in our landfill. Instead, use blankets, sheets, and towels to protect fragile items.

Use Used Moving Boxes (and Save Money)

While reusing cardboard boxes is not always a good idea, especially for extremely breakable objects, grocery stores, wine stores and other shops will gladly donate boxes to you for your move. You can also check on Craigslist or other online notice boards to see if anyone locally is looking to get rid of boxes they used for their move. If you use boxes from grocery stores, just make sure that they're strong enough and aren't damaged. Also, make sure they're strong and can withstand the weight you need them to hold. 

Find a New Home for Moving Boxes After You Move

Once you're finished with boxes after you've moved in and unpacked, find a new home for boxes so they don't end up in the garbage. Put up notices that you're looking for a new home for the boxes. You can post a free ad on Craigslist or other online notice board.

Rent Your Moving Boxes that Don't Need to be Recycled

Choose to rent your moving boxes. As a growing industry, the box rental company is becoming a lot more popular and provides a good alternative to using cardboard boxes. The company drops off and picks up afterward. Plus, there's no mess after you're done unpacking.

What to do With Computers, Electronics and Other Stuff that is Hard to Recycle

Computers, electronics and appliances that no longer work, can often be donated to organizations that will fix them and give them to families in need. This is particularly true for computers, cell phones and even eye-glasses. Find out before you toss it.