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Tips for Green International Living

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If you are moving internationally, you have your work cut out for you. One thing you may be concerned with while travelling is how your international living will affect the environment. How can you limit your carbon footprint when moving and living internationally?

Find a green international moving company

Finding an international moving company is hard. Finding an international moving company that is also green may be extremely difficult. Luckily, here at, we have an extensive database of movers for you to compare. Check out company websites for details about their services, and contact them to ask about their environmental policies.

Here are a few things to look for in a green moving company:
  • They use alternative fuel for their trucks
  • They plant a tree to compensate for the carbon used in the move
  • They use environmentally-friendly packing materials
International moving complicates the process because the moving company contracts a freight forwarder to transport your shipment overseas, meaning they aren't the only company shipping your goods. However, they still will take your belongings to and from the ports, so there is an opportunity for them to be green and use low emission alternatives in their moving trucks.

Packing green

There are a few strategies for packing that you can always employ to stay green whether you are moving domestically or internationally.
  • Pack lightly. This is a good idea for any international move since heavier loads will usually cost you more and your shipment will not be immediately available to you. If you sell or donate your unnecessary items, you are effectively recycling and helping the environment. It is wasteful to haul useless items overseas with you when they could be recycled in some way and not burdening a cargo ship.
  • Use green/recyclable packing materials. Limit your use of Styrofoam, which is not biodegradable. Instead, use recycled packing paper. There are also many types of recycled and reusable moving boxes. A quick internet search will find several sellers of green packing materials.

Keep the method of your move green

  • Ship your items by sea rather than by air. Planes burn much more fuel and produce much more C02 than ships. Even though the shipment will be much faster by air, it will be more environmentally responsible to wait for a nautical shipment.
  • Travel together. If you are with friends and family, travel together and share rooms in hotels. Anything that can save you money usually has the bonus of being green. If you are backpacking and constantly travelling rather than actually relocating to any particular area, try to room up with some like-minded people as often as possible.
  • Avoid using cars. If you are trying to go green, it may be good to invest in bikes in your new country. Taxis are OK, carpooling is good, public transportation is better, but using bikes is the greenest option available. In many countries with traffic and pollution problems, it is the only logical option. It is important to realize that some countries do not have the regulations on emissions that Canada does, so using cars there could be worse for the environment than you think.

If you are moving to a home overseas, make it green

Most countries will let you set up some form of a green utility package. Even if none are available, it will never hurt to ask. The utility provider can change even if the actual cables to your home cannot. Some power providers that are greener than typical fossil fueled electricity are:
  • Nuclear: Not totally green since it creates harmful radioactive waste and in the case of a meltdown, plants can create an ecological disaster
  • Hydroelectric: Also not entirely green because river damming wreaks havoc on the local ecosystem
  • Solar: Very green but not usually sufficient alone
  • Wind: Probably the best green power option available
Renovate your home and do everything you can to make it green. Make sure it is well insulated and optimized for maximum comfort while using minimal power. You could even supplement your power with solar panels if it is allowed in your new home's area.

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on August 18, 2014 - Moving Expert
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