Start this school year off right with green move-in tips.


The first week of September is notoriously busy in Boston. More than 150,000 students attend our city’s 35 colleges and universities, and it can feel like every single one of them is moving in at the same time. Moving requires heavy lifting, savvy packing, and a whole lot of energy. With all the packaging, transportation, and energy it requires, it can also be hard on the environment. But with these helpful tips, it doesn’t need to be. Take notes -- it will be good practice for class!


  1. Cut down on packaging. Pack your belongings in reusable bins instead of cardboard boxes. Better yet, consolidate your items so that they can fit inside one another! Use drawers, chests, and decorative containers to transport other items.

  2. If you need cardboard, use recycled boxes. Most grocery stores give used boxes away for free!
  3. Plan ahead. Make a ‘first night’ box with towels, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc. for your first night in your new place. That way you won’t  need to run to the store for essentials when you’re ready to pass out and don’t want to dig through your bags.

  4. Cut down on the distance you need to drive - and minimize idling! Know the traffic restrictions around Boston’s colleges and universities. (Also -- know the height of your moving vehicle to avoid getting #Storrowed).

  5. Mark your territory. Another way to avoid idling while circling the block: reserve a parking spot!

  6. First things first: responsible hydration. Before you do anything else, fill up a pitcher of water and put in in the fridge. That way, when you need water breaks, you won’t need to run the tap and wait for it to get cold!

  7. Realize you don’t have space for that third futon? Donate it, don’t toss it!

  8. Recycle from the get-go. All landlords and dorms are required to provide recycling. Know your pick-up day and what you can save from the landfill. Don’t have a recycling bin? You can request a City recycling cart here.

  9. Did your school-year residence get a little overgrown over this summer? Do some landscaping and then download the leaf and yardwaste calendar to dispose of organic materials responsibly.

  10. If you must toss, toss safe. Dispose of large items and hazardous materials responsibly at one of the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Days.


The beginning of the school year is an exciting time. There’s a chill in the air, you’ve got a clean slate, and new beginnings abound. It’s the perfect time to set some sustainability goals for yourself and try some new green actions at home, on campus, and in your community. We’ll keep you updated with ways to support our City’s Climate Action Plan and get involved with local green initiatives all year long. If you haven't already, sign up for our email list to get tips like these delivered straight to your inbox every Friday!

Good luck this school year!

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