Eco-Friendly RV Travel Tips

As more RVers flock to the roads every year, it is undoubted that individual carbon footprints are growing and environmental impacts are taking place. After all, RVs typically consume more fuel than average vehicles, and many RVs do not have the same eco-friendly accessories and modifications that modern homes do. If you’re interested in sustainable and eco-friendly RVing tips, then follow along as we give some suggestions. 

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Use Washable Plates and Silverware

It can be really tempting to use disposable plates and plasticware when RVing, but, as we all know, these create unnecessary waste. Single-use items should be eliminated whenever possible, even if that means a need for washing dishes more frequently. 

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Conserve Water Even When Not Boondocking

While this may seem to contradict the point above, conserving water is still important even if you have more dishes to do. Most RVs don’t have a dishwasher, but this gives you more control over how much water you’re using. Look online for additional tips and even videos on how to wash dishes while using the least amount of water possible. Old habits of using unlimited amounts of water while washing dishes, washing your hands, showering, and brushing your teeth can be hard to shake, but being conservative in this manner can make a big difference. Boondocking typically requires RVers to conserve water anyway, so try to conserve even when you have hookups. You can even try conserving water in your home while you aren’t RVing too. 

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Consider Using a Composting Toilet

It’s common knowledge that toilets use a lot of water per flush. If you’ve ever been curious about a composting toilet, then definitely conduct plenty of research to see if this is the right option for you. In our article about replacing your RV’s toilet, we briefly talked about composting toilets. These toilets don’t use any water and separate waste to reduce bacteria and smells. They aren’t as scary as they seem, and they are certainly more environmentally-friendly than their counterparts. 

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Install Solar

Utilizing solar energy is not only eco-friendly but also saves money and provides users with more boondocking opportunities. Imagine how long you could boondock with daily power, ways to store that power, a longer water supply, and less tank usage. It’s a win-win that requires significant upfront investment but provides plenty of additional value over time.

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Use Eco-Friendly Products

Using eco-friendly cleaning products and hygiene products can be something you do even in your non-RVing life. Depending on the product, the manufacturer may contribute less to pollution and conserve energy, while certain, non-toxic ingredients could be better for the environment and for wildlife. Check out the labels on your favorite products and on products you’ve wanted to try to see what kind of impact you can make. It definitely doesn’t hurt to put less chemicals onto your skin and into your body too!

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Recycle on the Road

If you recycle at home, then that’s a great start and you get a high five. Be sure to give recycling on the road a try too. Some campgrounds and parks have recycling bins, but if you travel and boondock a lot, it can be challenging. Designate a recycling bin for your RV, and look up places you can take it while traveling. It should never cost money to drop off recycling and many cities and counties have a place that processes it. This will reduce what gets put into the landfills. It also allows for less products to be manufactured, since many are being reused. 

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Convert to LED Light Bulbs

This small step can help reduce how much energy your bulbs use at home and in your RV. In addition to being more energy-efficient, LED bulbs tend to last longer as well. They can also typically be recycled when their lifespan has been completed, making this an extra eco-friendly choice. 

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Compost in a Stationary Campsite

Many avid gardeners compost at their homes in order to provide their plants with more nutrients. However, composting also serves its place in making a positive environmental impact. Food waste heading to the landfill is a big problem. Instead of throwing away expired produce or scraps, compost them in a bin to reduce methane emissions from landfills. It is best to try composting in a stationary campsite  to avoid traveling with a dirty bucket or disturbing the life in the compost bin. Most campsites don’t want you composting on the ground, so designate a bin of some sort to contain your compost, preferably in a shady spot. Alternatively, specialty indoor compost bins can be built or purchased. Keep doing research to ensure you’re composting appropriate items and to find uses for your compost as it is being created. 

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Consider How Much Gas You’re Using

As stated earlier, RVs typically consume more gas than passenger vehicles. While there are electric RVs coming onto the market, you aren’t going to find a forty-foot electric motorhome anytime soon. Conserving gas and making your trips count not only reduces emissions, but can help your wallet out too. Small changes such as mapping out your travels, planning stops, and knowing the terrain you’re traveling can make a huge difference. Even if your diesel pusher can handle it, you don’t need to maintain the same speed as cars when going up a steep incline. When you get to your destination, consider biking or using a fun urban method of transportation, like electric scooters or public transportation, to cut down on using your car. This is another eco-friendly tip that can be adapted to your everyday life to reduce your overall carbon footprint.

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Try to Reduce Your Plastic and Styrofoam Usage

This is related to avoiding the usage of disposable plates and plasticware, but it can also be applied in other areas of your life as well. If you have time, consider dining in a restaurant instead of taking your food to-go. Some restaurants are great about using eco-friendly or recyclable packaging, but many rely on cheap styrofoam containers to cut costs. Even choices you make in your RV or home can make a difference. Instead of a Ziploc bag, opt for a reusable Tupperware instead. Instead of cling wrap, use a reusable alternative such as beeswax food wraps. They look cool, are washable, and can be used again and again. You can also bring reusable bags to the grocery store to reduce how many plastic bags are floating around, sometimes literally. 

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If everyone made a few small changes to their daily lives, while RVing or at home, huge changes could be made to the ongoing environmental changes being experienced here on earth. There would even be less trash heading to landfills, less water waste, and less emissions. Tackling all of these changes at once would be difficult, so even if you can only manage a few, Mother Earth thanks you.

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What do you do while RVing to reduce your carbon footprint? Do you have any ideas that we missed? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

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  1. John R Davidowski
    24th June, 2022

    I’ve been RV’n since 1976. Over the years I’m still learning new ways of doing things to help the environment, save money and enjoy the outdoors. Here are a few recommendations for the newcomers whether you’re hooked up to full service or boondocking : 1) Dishwashing-fill a pot or large bowl in lieu of the sink with your wash water. This will save water and not fill up your tank so quickly. Attach a sprayer with a shut off to the faucet to rinse the dishes in lieu of letting the water run constantly; 2) Toilet-before doing #2 place a sheet or two of TP over the drain. Press down on the foot pedal half way to allow about a quart of water to enter the bowl. Do your thing. Then flush. The water will pull all waste & paper directly down the hole in a quick manner to eliminate waste from clinging to the toilet; Showering-Take a “sea shower”! Wet down quickly, turn off water, soap down, and rinse quickly. This saves water and allot of water entering your tank.

    1. Sam Leash
      24th June, 2022

      Hi John
      These are great tips! I can definitely tell that you’ve got plenty of experience under your belt with conserving water in an RV. Thank you!

  2. Nancy Sarro
    23rd June, 2022

    It is great to see these Eco-Friendly tips. However, it is inconsistent to mention reducing plastic usage and yet to separately show “eco-friendly” products which are all packaged in plastic. Can you include something in the next issue to promote products that do not use a lot of plastic in packaging? Examples that come to mind are bite toothpaste bits (www.bitetoothpastebits.com) and cleaning products from http://www.blueland.com. Blueland products involve initial purchase of reusable receptacles, and the cleaning solutions/soaps are made with tablets that get mixed with water.

    1. Sam Leash
      24th June, 2022

      Hi Nancy

      What a great tip. Thank you so much for adding this!

  3. Faith Legendre
    23rd June, 2022

    The other thing we did to conserve resources was to put in a bidet on our toilet in our trailer. It saves on forests that are being cut down and paper trees planted that are not regenerative and deplete soil. Also, added bonus it keeps our tank really clean and makes dumping faster. But wait, there’s more… we also save on space not having to store TP. Here’s a video on how to install the bidet on the existing toilet in a trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rc3QxxGrm8

    1. Sam Leash
      24th June, 2022

      Hi Faith

      What a wonderful idea! Thank you so much for the suggestion and resource.