Lizzie Dragon
by Lizzie Dragon
Posted November 9, 2021

With solar panel installations in RVs and Volkswagen’s 2024 electric microbus set to hit the market in the coming years, it seems we’re headed for green pastures and greener travel. That said, these additions aren’t the only way one can head off on the eco-friendly ride of their life.

We’ve broken down 5 ways you can enhance the environmental friendliness of your trip:

  1. Research recycling centers
  2. Shop sustainably
  3. Prep meals
  4. Pack reusables
  5. Plan your route

Let’s dig in.

Recycling on the road

Recycling on the road can be a little trickier than recycling at home.

What can be recycled

Do some research on what can and can’t be recycled in the area or at the campground. Different states have different recycling regulations.

In general, you can recycle:

  • Plastic bottles and containers
  • Food and beverage cans
  • Paper
  • Flattened cardboard and paperboard
  • Food and beverage containers
  • Glass bottles and containers

Note: Make sure to rinse materials before you toss them in the recycle!

You cannot recycle:

  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic wrap and film
  • Flexible packaging
  • Cups with wax or plastic coatings
  • Polystyrene foam and plastic
  • Recylables in bags

Tip: If you don’t know something can be recycled, it’s better to leave it out. Take it home and recycle it there!

Where can you recycle

Drop your recyclables off at:

  • Campground recycling bins
  • Nearby recycling centers
  • Grocery stores

Tip: Find local recycling by searching earth911.com.

Shopping sustainably

Plenty of brands are upping their sustainability efforts.

Some outdoors brands offering eco-friendly products include:

  • Patagonia
  • Green Guru
  • Cotopaxi
  • Toad & Co.
  • Prana

Whenever possible, look to buy from brands that use ethically sourced, eco-friendly, and recycled materials.

Meal prepping

Minimize food waste by planning your meals in advance, so you know exactly what you need and how much of it you need. The simple and tasty camping recipes are endless.

eco-friendly road trip tips

Tip: Save money by buying in bulk at your local grocery store or farmers’ market. Buying from bulk sections also saves space as these foods have less packaging!

Reducing and reusing

One of the easiest ways to live sustainably on the road is to bring reusables. Refill water bottles and jugs at fill stations at supermarkets and gas stations. Some towns, like Hot Springs, may even offer free spring water fountains for refilling.

Reusable materials you should pack are:

Tip: Use sustainable sandwich wrap to pack your lunch for the trail.

Planning your route

The less you’re lost, the less gas you use. And, in turn, the less harmful emissions you will produce. Using a road trip planner app is the best way to plan your route before you hit the road. You can find your fastest and safest RV route, and also plan all the stops — from the fun stuff to the gas stations.

Tip: Minimize your footprint by driving on the slower side. Heck, turn off that RV AC, roll down the windows, and cruise!

Find eco-friendly RVs on Outdoorsy

As we wait a few years for the new Volkswagen bus to hit the market, here are a few eco-friendly rides to get you going:

Safe and sustainable travels!

Lizzie Dragon

Outdoorsy Author

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