Why a reuse strategy is essential for movers

Reusing resources will be central to making sure current and future businesses are economically and environmentally sustainable. But moving companies must have a clear, collaborative strategy, and act fast to succeed, says Paul Barnes from Inspire Mobility Consulting

Reuse is of extreme importance to any moving company that wants to be a viable long-term business. Anyone who doesn’t understand that this is a pivotal moment and just the start of a positive systemic change has their head in the sand.

Moving companies need to move at speed to reduce the extreme levels of single-use materials and waste if they want to remain in business. 

Collaboration and a clear strategy that includes considering the needs of affected stakeholders and potential barriers to progress are essential steps. To move at speed in an effective manner we need knowledge resources that can help shape our strategy and develop multiple reuse concepts into reality. 

Circularity, or the circular economy, is a valuable and insightful concept for the moving industry. It challenges the conventional linear model of take-make-use-dispose to which we are accustomed, and proposes a regenerative approach based on three principles of design: 

1. Eliminate waste and pollution

2. Circulate products, materials (at their highest value)

3. Regenerate nature.

Circularity is not a new idea, and it often benefits us in ways that we may not realise, as many producers of goods have adopted circular practices in their business models. 

It is a core element of the EU Green Deal, which supports circular processes in the economy, aims for better product design, promotes sustainable consumption, and seeks to avoid waste and keep materials at their highest value for as long as possible. 

Circularity emphasises the importance of the design phase and the creation of value for stakeholders. To illustrate this point, let us examine some of the high-level stakeholders involved in the production and use of a reusable packing box. We should also analyse the stakeholders, their interrelations, potential challenges, and actions that need to be considered to ensure value is created for all. For example: 

Moving company: Shares information with the manufacturer (continuous learning loop) on when and how the box breaks, so it can be improved. Also, identifies areas that do not break, so opportunities to reduce the amount of material used in the production are explored. 

Manufacturer: Shares information with moving company (continuous learning loop) on redesigned, improved box, cost implications (increased or decreased), and new ideas to improve performance, reduce costs, and so on.

Packing crew: Need to spend extra time to cut or remove the packing tape so they can flatten and store the boxes in the truck and warehouse. Also, handle the boxes with care to preserve their quality (highest value). 

Global mobility programme owner: Considers how the relocating employee will react when the crew arrive with used boxes (or other materials). Programme owners must communicate proactively with employees about the benefits of using reused materials and the value they bring to them, the company, and wider society. 

This is a simple, high-level overview, but hopefully it helps us understand the significance of circularity, the value it can generate, and the potential it has to inspire new solutions that demonstrate how sustainable household goods moving can be.  

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