Patrick Wilkinson lived every high school student’s nightmare: he moved during his senior year. Wilkinson grew up and went to school in Bend, Oregon, but in his last year of high school he moved with his parents to Cayucos.

However, life has a funny way of circling back on you. Wilkinson was out in downtown Santa Barbara and randomly met up with an old Oregon classmate – Erik Haney, who had relocated to Santa Barbara and was attending City College.

As the friends reconnected, they also formed Movegreen, an ecologically friendly moving company based locally.

“Erik had a company called Student Movers and I had always wanted to run a green business,” said Wilkinson, who noted that he had difficulty implementing ecological changes within the two Pita Pit franchises he owned in Isla Vista and San Luis Obispo. Besides, “I was sick of late nights,” said Wilkinson, “and kids showing up to work drunk, high, or not at all”.

Starting a green moving business takes a lot of research, but Movegreen is going strong, and they have linked up with some great organizations, including Trees for the Future. Wilkinson said Movegreen plants 10 trees for every move they help out with, no matter the distance. “Every month we tally up all the moves we’ve done,” said Wilkinson, “we’ve done 300 moves since we started the program in January; that’s 3,000 trees.”

The company also promotes carbon-free moving; it buys carbon credits from to offset carbon emissions from the trucks, which are run on bio-diesel fuel.

“We also re-use and recycle all our boxes,” said Wilkinson, many moving companies recycle, “but most companies will try to push new boxes on you when cardboard boxes will last three to four moves.”

At a time when many businesses are closing down stores and laying off employees, Movegreen is working on expanding into Los Angeles County. Wilkinson believes this is mostly a result of being an ecologically conscious business. “People feel good about using us,” he said. “A lot of our business is referral and our booking rate is at 85 percent, which is unheard of.”

It also doesn’t hurt that in an old business full of what Wilkinson refers to as “lifers,” or, “burnt out guys wearing back braces,” Movegreen brings in “guys who are clean cut, professional, and athletic.” When asked if the female customers appreciate this, Wilkinson casually replies, “We’ve received a few compliments.”

Check out Movegreen’s Web site for information about the company, as well as tips for how to run a greener household.


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