Green Moving or “Greenwashing”?

Going “green”?

Over the last few centuries, pollutants, such as greenhouse gases have made a tremendous negative impact on our environment. The devastating effects and growing awareness have prompted us to become more mindful of the way we lead our day-to-day lives and the carbon footprints we leave behind. Today more people around the world are beginning to take effective steps. For  healthier and more sustainable future. The green movement initiatives have emerged across nearly all consumer sectors. More companies appear to be making efforts towards reducing their carbon footprint on the planet. Going green is slowly dominating businesses. The demand for environmentally friendly services and products continues to grow. Inadvertently resulting in “greenwashing”. Marketing campaigns perpetuate this practice to help their company. Increasing product sales by appealing to ecologically conscious buyers. Moving companies are one of the many who are increasingly adapting to the growing concept. Being more sensitive towards the environment. The vastly expanding industry of eco-friendly movers are offering services to meet the consumer’s desire. Options they see as both convenient and environmentally responsible. Converting their trucks to biodiesel fuel. Using reusable plastic container bins instead of cardboard boxes. Offering biodegradable replacements to conventional moving supplies, such as tape and bubble wrap. These are some of the revised approaches the greener moving companies are taking to service environmentally-conscious consumers. Is it Green Moving or “Greenwashing”? It certainly appears that the “green” moving industry strive to have a more positive impact on the environment and our communities. Perhaps their incentives is for the kind of green with dollar signs on them? Lets unpack the truth! Is it Green Moving or “Greenwashing”?

Green Moving or “Greenwashing”?

Plastic has undoubtedly become an essential compound to modern life. Its versatility has reached the masses and is continuing to grow. Plastic bins first made it onto the scene aiding warehouse and commercial moves. They were invented and designed for optimal warehouse to store distribution or office relocation. Servicing customers with reusable plastic bins has now become a staple at most moving companies that are going “green”. It is perceived to be a new age eco-friendly alternative to using cardboard boxes. Their longer lifespan and durability as compared to that of its counterpart, appeals to most. Expect to be charged a premium for this equipment, which can be dropped off and picked up by the company. The time constraint on renting them is usually two weeks. This doesn’t allow for long-term storage or unpacking at your own convenience. Exceeding that timeframe will result in additional charges. Packing difficulty can be expected with the one-size-fits all approach of plastic containers. Often times deem unpractical for irregular shapes. Consumers should also be weary of failed proper sterilization. It can greatly put them at risk. Contracting bed bugs, cockroach eggs and germs from previous users. If you are like the rest of the people on the planet, you will have tables, couches, and other furniture. It will need to be properly wrapped in the moving blankets to avoid damage. Moving blankets will then need to be secured in place via plastic tape. Most companies do not even use biodegradable tape. It is almost ten times the price of a regular one. Be that as it may, an eco-conscious consumer is perpetually concerned with the environment above all else. Undoubtedly, plastic is responsible for more than a booming industry. It is also at the heart of an environmental crisis.

Plastic is the result of a complex process called polymerization. Plastic molecules are made up of atom chains of carbon and hydrogen. Repeating units that don’t break down easily over time. Therefore, plastic does not corrode or biodegrade. Its counterpart, cardboard box, has a lifespan of less than four weeks. Plastic takes almost twice as much energy to create than cardboard. If it is not recycled it is more than likely it will end up at an incinerator. In the event that plastic bins are recycled, the product is then broken down and remodeled. Greatly reducing it’s unity. Most importantly, prompting “green” movers to supply plastic bins made from raw materials rather than recycled. Numerous studies have also shown the actual process of recycling to burn more energy and produce more pollution than it saves. However, out of all the waste generated in the U.S. in a single year, only 35% is being recovered. Thirty million tons of that waste is plastic. Only two million tons recovered annually. The rest fills our landfills, incinerators and pollutes our oceans. Killing more than 100,000 marine wildlife annually. Burning plastic in incinerators releases toxic heavy metals and chemicals. Like cadmium, lead and dioxins harming human health and the environment. Incinerators are one of the largest sources of dioxin identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dioxins are a class of 75 most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested. Causing cancer and harming our immune system at even the lowest concentration. Once emitted into the environment, toxins don’t stay local. They can travel vast distances via air, which makes them a global contaminant. Even the most technologically advanced incinerators that have air pollution control filters capture some of the pollutants but they do not eliminate them. These pollutants are transferred to other by- products. Such as ash and wastewater that are then released into the environment.

In the moving business, being eco-friendly means running their vehicles on biodiesel fuel or at least portraying to do so. Biodiesel is tested to be a cleaner burning, alternative fuel made from organic sources. But it doesn’t always come out as the most sustainable option. Several studies have shown that biofuels may be cleaner to burn. However, there are srong indications that the process to produce the fuel, results in immense carbon emission. It takes anywhere from 27 to 118 percent more energy to produce a gallon of biodiesel than the energy it contains. Biofuels such as biodiesel from soybeans can create up to four times more climate-warming emissions than standard diesel or petrol. Other potential risks include, land and water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and nitrogen pollution through the use of excess fertilizer. Nothing is without penalty and biofuels certainly have its drawbacks. Green Moving or “Greenwashing”?

Lastly, to avoid further greenwashing (green moving or “greenwashing”?), look for companies that are certified. These are certification systems that strive to standardize the principles of social and environmental responsibility. Such organizations include, Green Business Bureau, B Corporation and Green America Certified Business. In addition, there are an immense number of non-profit organizations like Green City Force, that have come together for the sole purpose of helping the environment. Insure the company of your choice is an avid member.

Green Moving or “Greenwashing”? Decide for yourself.