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Four things to avoid when moving

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Many Quebecers will spend July 1st moving, and for most people it’s no walk in the park. Stress, exhaustion and a lack of time can sometimes cause us to forget some of our environmental convictions. However, with a bit of planning and foresight, it’s possible to reduce the environmental impact of moving.

The amount of things that we see on the curb at this time of year is insane. Considering current challenges with regards to the overexploitation of resources and the climate crisis, we can no longer be putting so many products and toxic substances out with the trash. In Montreal alone, we’re talking about 50,000 tonnes of items of all sorts that are carted away on moving day – and what’s especially sad is that many of them are nowhere near the end of their useful life.

The keywords here are reduction and reuse. Choosing to keep your furniture, devices and appliances when moving from one place to another rather than buying new is not only good for your wallet, it’s important for the planet. And when it’s not feasible to keep them, consider donating or selling the items that are still in working order. Think of how happy it will make someone else! For everything that cannot be sold or donated, make sure to dispose of it in the right locations.

Taking some time to plan ahead can have a big impact!

The following suggestions apply all year round of course, not just during the moving season or the spring cleaning period.

FOUR THINGS TO AVOID WHEN MOVING

WHAT CAN YOUR CITY DO?

Équiterre believes that our cities can benefit greatly by taking measures to incentivize reuse and by adopting waste management best practices all year round. But particularly, during the moving season, they should establish special collection initiatives to keep our streets from becoming dumping grounds.

Certain municipalities are already proposing some inspiring solutions:

Mobile eco-centres: Quebec City has set up a mobile eco-centre with collection events in the city’s most densely populated neighbourhoods. Residents can bring hazardous household waste as well as small electric and electronic appliances.

The “Je déménage, je valorise” awareness campaign: The Société pour l’action, l’éducation et la sensibilisation environnementale de Montréal (SAESEM) has been carrying out awareness campaigns during moving week every year since 2015, to encourage those who are moving to better value the items that they are disposing of. With their drop-off locations and awareness booths in various strategic locations in downtown Montreal, as well as curbside collection and on-request home pickup services, the initiative diverted 15 tonnes of items from landfill in 2015.

Grants to recycling depots: The MRC de Bellechasse and 10 municipalities from the MRC des Etchemins pay $125 per tonne to the Bellechasse recycling depot for the materials they recover. This depot offers a door-to-door collection service for furniture, mattresses and home appliances. Where possible, these items are refurbished and resold.

If you would like your city to take on these types of initiatives, write to your city council and insist on better waste management measures to help your city get to a waste-free future.

REDUCING OUR WASTE: IT’S EVERYONE’S BUSINESS

As both individuals and as communities, we need to rethink the way we plan the moving process. Dumping our old stuff on the side of the road before moving into our comfy new home is not the solution. We all have a role to play to reuse and value our existing possessions - to make our economy increasingly circular, fair and focused on our well-being.

HAPPY MOVING DAY!