15 tips to keep your international move green from start to finish

15 tips to keep your international move green from start to finish

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Moving internationally can exert stress on people and the environment alike, but sometimes it's a necessary step. If your next home is in a new country, follow these 15 sustainability tips from international moving company AGS Netherlands to guarantee your move abroad stays eco-friendly at every step.

Here is what you can do to make your international move as sustainable as possible.

Six months before your move

When you are about six months away from moving, think about the following:

1. Minimise your travel carbon footprint

When it's time to book your journey to your new home, consider alternatives to flying. For instance, if you're relocating within Europe, train travel is a greener (and viable) option.

2. Think about the location of your future home

Is it conveniently located near public transportation? Can you walk or cycle to the grocery store? Are there local eateries or parks? The more amenities within proximity, the less your environmental impact.

3. Opt for energy-efficient housing

Look for homes with features like double or triple-glazed windows and well-insulated walls. They remain cool during summer and warm in winter, enhancing your indoor comfort while reducing energy consumption.

Three months before your move

Here is what you could consider three months before your big move:

4. Choose an environmentally conscious moving company

Consider hiring movers certified by FIDI (the International Federation of International Furniture Removers). They adhere to environmental standards, such as using energy-efficient vehicles, recycled packing materials, and carbon offsetting.

5. Select the most sustainable shipping method

Road shipping is the greenest method, but if that’s not viable, choose sea freight. Further minimise your carbon footprint by opting for groupage shipping, where you share a container with others moving to the same country. Reserve airfreight only for items you need immediately upon arrival.

6. Minimise your shipment volume

The less you ship, the more sustainable your move. Be mindful about what makes the cut for your international journey. Ask yourself, "Can I easily and affordably replace this item in my new home?" If yes, leave it behind. Having a shipping budget will help you determine what's essential.

One month to go

Just one more month to go and you’re off to your new adventure! Be sure to:

7. Use sustainable packaging

It's packing time! You'll need boxes, but they don't have to be brand new. Get second-hand boxes from the supermarket or someone who recently moved. If that's not possible, opt for boxes made from recycled materials. For packing fragile items, use your T-shirts instead of bubble wrap. Blankets and other bedding can serve the same purpose. If your moving company is doing the packing for you, make sure they’re FIDI accredited.

8. Recycle, donate or sell what you’re leaving behind

Your leftover household goods still have value. Consider hosting a garage sale to boost your moving budget, donate them to charity, or give them to friends and family as keepsakes. Whatever doesn't find a new home, recycle. Your aim should be to minimise waste from your move as much as possible.

In your new home

Adopting a sustainable lifestyle as an expat can be a bit daunting, especially if you're unfamiliar with the language and don't have much knowledge about sustainable practices in your new country. However, these tips can guide you on your journey to sustainability:

9. Use LED lightbulbs

They not only cut down your electricity costs over time but also reduce your household's environmental footprint.

10. Invest in energy-efficient appliances

Look for appliances with the Energy Star “Most Efficient” certification, which signifies that the device is among the most energy-efficient in its category.

11. Programme your thermostat

Even a slight increase in your air conditioner's temperature during summer can lead to significant energy and cost savings - up to 6 percent for each degree! You can also programme the thermostat to cool your home right before you return from work, rather than keeping it running all day.

In your new country

Also, don’t forget to:

12. Buy local

Whether you're shopping for groceries, clothing, or furnishings for your new home, choosing locally-made products benefits the environment. This is because the transportation distance - and thus the carbon emissions - from the production site to the store is significantly reduced.

13. Bring your own shopping bags

Rather than using single-use plastic bags, bring your own reusable bags. These can be made from a variety of materials, such as cloth or recycled plastic, and can be used repeatedly, reducing waste and environmental impact.

14. Buy organic produce

Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, making them a more environmentally friendly choice. In addition to being kinder to the planet, many people find that organic produce often has a superior taste.

15. Choose certified goods

Your first trip to the supermarket in a new country can be daunting, with unfamiliar brands and products. To ensure you're selecting eco-friendly items, look for products with recognised environmental certifications.

Certification Meaning
Fairtrade/ Max Havelaar Responsibly sourced food products such as chocolate or coffee by realising fair wages for producers.
Rainforest Alliance Products that are produced with the objective to keep forests intact.
FSC Sustainably produced wood for wooden-, cardboard- and paper products
MSC / ASC Sustainably produced / caught fish products
OEKO TEX Sustainably produced textiles and leather goods
Green Seal A wide range of lower-impact products such as cleaning and hygiene products

Every small step counts!

Every small step towards eco-friendliness counts, also when you’re relocating to a new country. With these tips, some thoughtful planning and conscious choices, you can minimise your carbon footprint, not only during your move but throughout your time in your new home.

For a sustainable moving company, look no further than AGS Netherlands. The company has been FIDI certified since 1998, and as part of the AGS Group, they offset their carbon emissions by contributing towards reforestation projects around the world. Through a partnership with the NGO Planète Urgence, the AGS Group has funded the planting of more than 24.000 trees in the past year and more than 315.000 trees since sponsoring its first tree in 2009.

By choosing AGS Netherlands for your international move, you can be assured that you are directly supporting their efforts to combat climate change!

Michiel Delmonte


Michiel Delmonte

Michiel Delmonte has been working in the field of Global Mobility since 1998. He has gained experience in multiple disciplines in the Moving and Relocation Industry such as Customer Service, Operational...

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PrestigeParkGrove3 06:31 | 24 July 2023

Great work