Most of us are acutely aware of the damage to the environment caused by our actions. Not so long ago, global warming was thought of as a problem for another time. Recent climatic patterns have shown that climate change is happening right now.
With an increasing awareness of the impact of our carbon footprint, every aspect of the way we live is under the microscope. Self-storage units included. Is self-storage harmful or beneficial for the environment?
This blog looks at this very question and also provides some pointers as to how to reduce waste when placing items in storage.
Protecting Against Wastefulness – How self-storage protects natural resources
We live in a “throw-away” world, and this is one of the major aspects that need to be addressed to help protect the environment. Take textiles, for instance; the textile industry is one of the most wasteful on the planet.
The cycle of cheap goods that are discarded after one season of use is incredibly wasteful. But the fact remains that many of us buy clothing that is used a few times before being discarded. This might not seem like a big deal, but facts and figures supplied by the United Nations highlight the scale of the problem:
- 20% of all freshwater pollution is caused by textile dyeing and treatment
- 5% of total landfill space is discarded textiles
- 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the textile industry
Another industry that has a similar track record is the furniture industry. The wood used in making furniture is often sourced from unsustainable sources and at the cost of deforestation in many cases.
Furniture manufactured from composite materials also has a heavy environmental impact. The chemicals and by-products used and produced by the manufacturing process are intensely polluting.
Moving to a Circular Economy – How Self-Storage Can Help
The two examples described above demonstrate the wastefulness of a throw-away economy. We have gotten used to simply discarding unwanted belongings without as much as a thought. Industries are working to improve their practices to reduce the environmental impacts of their processes.
But people and businesses also need to play a part.
This is where self-storage can play a part and, in a small but important way, help protect the environment and reduce their own carbon footprint. An often-cited buzzword is the “circular economy.”
In essence, this means reducing waste to virtually zero. It aims to recycle, reuse and maximise the use of resources. This model utilises the concepts of leasing, repairing, reusing, lending, refurbishing, and recycling to achieve a close-to-zero-waste society. Basically, the less stuff we waste, the less we have to manufacture.
In practice, this sounds all well and good. But the practicalities make this difficult to achieve. Hanging onto stuff for long periods is often not practical where storage space is at a premium.
This is where self-storage comes into its own. Self-storage offers a cost-effective way to store excess belongings and greatly reduces the amount of stuff we unnecessarily discard. This might not sound like a great deal, but it is an accumulation of small actions by everyone that is needed if we are to avoid an environmental calamity.
Storing goods to extend their lifespan also makes sound financial sense, especially in the current financial climate. Self-storage is a cost-effective storage method that will protect and extend the lifespan of goods and belongings whilst freeing up storage space in homes and business premises.
How to minimise your environmental impact when using self-storage
Self-storage can play a big part in the move to a circular economy. But a few simple considerations when storing your belongings can also help to reduce your environmental impact:
- Reduce the amount of plastic you use when storing (e.g. use newspaper, cardboard boxes, or other biodegradable materials when wrapping your belongings)
- Recycle your packing materials
- Select the right size of storage unit (see our home and business size guides for help)
- Avoid polystyrene beads and styrofoam when packing your goods
At U Store It, we are proud to be doing our bit to help protect the environment. Self-storage will play an increasingly important part in the move to a less wasteful society. Why not contact us today and have a chat about how a cost-effective storage solution can give you the space to breathe and help protect the environment at the same time?