How U Can Make a Difference

More than 50 million people in North America move every year. The average U.S. resident moves 11 times in a lifetime. Moving can be stressful and expensive, and it can also create negative impacts on the environment.

  • Shipping and towing consume fossil fuel, thus releasing greenhouse gases.
  • Packing household items into cardboard boxes costs us trees.
  • Throwing away old stuff increases the amount of waste in landfills.

U-Haul sustainable moving practices make moving a satisfying experience and help save natural resources and energy. Here are 10 environmentally-friendly moving choices you can make that will save you money, and help your community!

  1. Share a truck
    The average annual cost to own a large-capacity vehicle (e.g., pickup trucks, SUVs, vans) is about $9,000.  Instead of buying a large-capacity vehicle (for occasional transport of large items), you can rent a U-Haul truck or trailer for those occasions, and move more items at one time. On average, a U-Haul truck rental saves 87% of driving for the purpose of moving large items (as compared to back-and-forth trips in a smaller vehicle).
  2. Drive less
    Always search for the closest location to rent a moving truck. Every mile closer eliminates 12 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions. With more than 15,000 convenient neighborhood locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, U-Haul is the sustainable choice.
  3. Drive smart
    Change your driving behavior. For example, adjusting driving speed by checking the U-Haul exclusive fuel economy gauge and reducing idling time can significantly improve fuel efficiency.
  4. Avoid “dirty” diesel
    Mile for mile, diesel trucks release more toxic air contaminants, cancer-causing soot, and smog-forming emissions than gasoline-powered trucks. Greenhouse gas emissions from a gallon of diesel are 15%  higher than those from a gallon of gasoline. That’s why all U-Haul rental trucks use cleaner-burning unleaded fuel.
  5. Compare efficiency
    To increase moving efficiency, select a truck that maximizes loading space. Rent a trailer to tow behind your truck rental if you have an even larger move. Plan your trip carefully so you don’t have to drive “unlimited miles.” Remember to consider taking a big truck when moving In-Town and help save the environment by making fewer trips.
  6. Donate unwanted household goods
    When you move, many no-longer needed items in your home can be reused either by your neighbors or someone else. U-Haul Re-Use Centers in many U-Haul storage facilities have been developed to provide a redistribution network for gently used household goods, materials, furniture, sporting equipment, bikes and clothing that formerly went to landfills.
  7. Reuse boxes
    Share your reusable moving boxes online at or through our Take a Box, Leave a Box Program in all U-Haul stores. Take advantage of FREE boxes that environmentally-aware customers no longer need. When you’re done, bring back the boxes you don’t need to help the next customer.
  8. Purchase environmentally-friendly packing supplies
    Choose moving supplies (moving pads and packing peanuts) that contain a high percentage of recycled and/or biodegradable content.
  9. Take advantage of self-storage space
    Use self-storage space conveniently located in your local community instead of your own home, which will enable you to live comfortably in a more compact, affordable locale. Shared use of self-storage facilities also helps reduce construction of oversized residential and commercial buildings, saving tons of concrete and building materials and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the generation of waste.
  10. Recycle waste
    Separate recyclables (e.g., plastic, glass, paper, aluminum) from waste and contact your local waste-collection agency for proper disposal. Many local grocery stores collect plastic grocery bags. Electronics stores and/or local non-profits can recycle used computers, cell phones and other electronics.
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