Send your question to Umbra!

Q. Dear Umbra,

Hi. I love your column. I just wanted to see if you were aware of the company Mean Green Trucking and Transport … We run our fleet of moving trucks on recycled veggie oil and biodiesel. Our NYC warehouse is solar powered. And we plant a tree with every move.

Chris K.
Tarzana, Calif.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

A. Dearest Chris,

My fingers are exhausted from waving tiny flags all weekend, and I can barely click through my email for questions about green moving companies. So we round out our moving revue with your letter. The hopefully only time I have used a product endorsement to introduce a topic.

moving vanmanley099Once upon a time in 2006, I responded to a question about green transcontinental moving companies, finding none. As you later pointed out, I overlooked yours. When you wrote, you said it was the only one of its type, which seems plausible. But today, for those who have the money and loads of stuff required to hire movers, there is more than one biodiesel-spewing, tree-planting, cross-country moving service.

I have not used such a moving service, so the use of this letter is as I said only a device to introduce the topic. I have not vetted any of these moving services, nor do I wish to pack up my things here in the stacks and try any of them out.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

But I can mention the emissions factor for diesel fuel: 22.3 pounds of CO2 emitted per gallon burned. Biodiesel is considered by the EPA to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions over 50 percent from this sad baseline. Logically, then, if you must drive a diesel truck any distance, biodiesel makes the carbon footprint better.

“Green” moving companies not only run biodiesel in their trucks. They also run energy-efficient offices, recycle cardboard, and lend out reusable boxes. Some plant trees and offset their emissions, which are steps with questionable effect but certainly good intent. These are all improvements over the status quo. To start you movees off on your hunt for green moving companies, I offer Chris’s Mean Green Trucking, another lead in California, one in New York, and a somewhat faceless national affiliation of green movers.

Now let’s wrap up the moving revue and allow another three years to pass quietly by before revisiting the topic. Before I move along, I will quickly mention the other major aspects of green moving to consider. We can avoid solid waste problems by planning ahead and averting last-minute jettisoning of possessions that could be reused or recycled. Advance planning will also help us properly dispose of household hazardous chemicals. It’s just too tempting to use a time crunch as an excuse to throw toxic stuff into the trash.


Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.