Small ways to make moving home from your year abroad more environmentally friendly

By Gemma Dignam, University of Hong Kong

I left Hong Kong earlier than planned, in March, as Covid restrictions became strict and University moved online for Semester 2. Therefore, I had to pack up my things at quite a short notice and significantly reduce my belongings as I am travelling for a few months before returning to the UK. Here are some tips to reduce your waste when moving back home or if you decide to travel before returning back to the UK:

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Donate items such as bedding, clothes and miscellaneous items you no longer need

  • In Hong Kong, I recommend the app Good City HK, as they take most bedding and items- I used this app to donate my duvet and pillows
  • There are also charity shops that will take clothing or any storage items you may have bought but can’t bring back

Sending items home

  • If you’re like me, then you will have accumulated a lot of things during your time abroad and I found that they would no longer fit in my luggage! As I was also travelling before returning home, I couldn’t carry all of my things with me so I had to send some items back to the UK
  • I did this through the Hong Kong Post Office and sent a box home by sea- this is more environmentally friendly than sending it back by plane and also a cheaper option, although it will take 1-2 months to return home from Hong Kong

Give items to friends

  • If you have any local friends, you could give them items you’re not able to bring back home instead of throwing them away
  • I was also able to leave some things in my halls of residence for future residents to use

Plan in advance!

  • To avoid waste, make sure you don’t buy new food or toiletries close to the time you are leaving and use up any old ones
  • The main issue for me was that I did not have a lot of time to prepare to move out and this meant I ended up having to throw away some food and toiletries

All in all, it can be quite difficult to be environmentally friendly when moving out, as there is always going to be waste you can’t avoid. But, taking the extra time and effort to donate your items and reduce your waste will be rewarding in the end!

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