When you’re ready to declutter your garage, basement or attic or a house packed with decades of collected junk from a deceased relative, you may want to hire a junk removal service to haul it all away. But where will all that stuff go?

You want everything out of your life, but you don’t want it all to end up in a landfill. And you definitely don’t want some fly-by-night guy dumping a truckload of furniture, Beanie Babies and old exercise equipment off a deserted road or another illegal dumping site.

There’s good news, though. You can still be mindful of the environment and your community by hiring an eco-friendly junk removal service. Keep in mind that anyone can claim to be “eco-friendly,” so before you choose a junk removal company, investigate further with these questions and steps.

How Does the Donation Process Work?

An eco-friendly junk removal company strives to keep as much as possible out of landfills by donating to charities and hauling to recycling facilities.For example, Junkluggers partners with nine charities, donating furniture and other items to Goodwill, Alliance Against Homelessness, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and local thrift stores.

What Percentage of Junk is Diverted From Landfills?

Don’t just assume a junk removal service will automatically do the right thing for the environment. Ask for specifics of not only where your stuff might go after they haul it away, and also ask what percentage of their loads stays out of landfills. For example,  Eco-Friendly Junk Removal in Detroit, MI, recycles or donates around 70% of materials it hauls away. Junk King, with franchises in the U.S. and Canada, recycles, reuses or donates up to 60% of what what the company hauls.

What Other Measures Does The Company Take to Be Eco-Friendly?

Eco-friendly can also extends beyond landfill use. Junk King schedules an average of five to eight pickups a day and unloads trucks at a central hub in each city with franchises for sorting and processing to reduce fuel waste and trips to the landfill for items that can’t be reused, donated or recycled.

How Are Rates Determined?

Residential junk removal costs average around $234, ranging between between $134 and $625, according to Home Advisor, a digital home services marketplace. Generally, the company determines the rate according to how much space your items take up on the truck, So, if you donate, reuse or recycle some of your stuff yourself, you can save money but the process takes up much more of your time.

Check Online Reviews

Don’t simply go by reviews posted on the company website. Perform searches on Yelp and the Better Business Bureau, too. You might find complaints that the company you’re considering isn’t as eco-friendly as it claims, has deceptive business practices or even hires questionable employees.

Consider Self-Storage

When a parent, relative or tenant dies, you could end up with the responsibility of removing all contents of their house or apartment. That’s where self-storage and a junk removal company can work hand-in-hand. For example, you may want to move some items temporarily to a storage unit while deciding which items you can donate, reuse or recycle yourself before hiring a junk removal company.

When you inherit a packed storage unit from someone and just want to get rid of it all, an eco-friendly junk removal company can clean out the unit fast, find new homes for unwanted items, and deliver recyclable materials to the proper facilities in an eco-friendly way.