Few things can ruin an otherwise wonderful vacation than a rig overflowing in garbage. You’re already dealing with an abbreviated living space that can easily feel cluttered; the last thing you want to add to that situation is a smelly mess!
That’s why it makes sense to take a few extra steps to help reduce garbage and waste in your RV — you’re already making the effort to plan your trips carefully, save extra cash with your Passport America membership, and even come up with clever storage solutions to make your rig’s cabin feel larger. Finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle doesn’t add that much more to your to-do list. And besides, with a few simple tips, tricks, and ideas, waste reduction can be easy!
Don’t believe us? Read on — we’re going to show you how.
Advantages of Waste Reduction
Before we dig into our best ideas for waste reduction, let’s talk a little bit about the benefits of getting trash savvy. There’s way more to it than keeping RV interior odors at bay and ensuring you have a nice, clean space to camp in.
For one thing, there are also many economic and environmental benefits of waste reduction. All that trash has to go somewhere, after all, and two of our main “solutions” to the problem — landfills and ocean dumping — can both seriously harm Mother Earth. You’ve probably heard about the endemic problem of plastic in our oceans, which environmentalists are becoming more and more concerned about.
But even on a personal level, waste reduction can change your life whether or not you’re on an RV trip. Obviously, having less garbage around while you’re camping ensures you have a comfortable vacation space (and can also increase the length of time you can stay on a boondocking stint) — but it’s also a nice way to keep your sticks-and-bricks home odor free and as green as possible.
Benefits of Food Waste Reduction
What with plastic and disposable everything, one of our biggest waste problems might surprise you. Because it’s not just all that inorganic junk we chuck in the trash that adds up fast — it’s actual edible food, too.
Especially here in America, our food waste numbers are insane and shameful. Back in 2010, we wasted an estimated 133 billion pounds of food with a monetary value of about $160 billion. (Yes, that’s “billion” with a “B” for both figures.)
Needless to say, that’s a system that costs us tons of money, not to mention one that’s ethically questionable when so many people across the world are literally starving. By following food and garbage waste reduction tips, you’ll be helping to balance the equation a little bit, and you’ll also save money for your own travel budget.
Food Waste Reduction Strategies
So, convinced that cleaning up can help revolutionize your life — and maybe even change the world?
Here are a few dead-simple ways to do your part and contribute to waste reduction efforts.
1. Eat what you buy.
Talk about easy, right? In fact, it sounds so simple it might not even seem like it should have a place on this list.
But it happens to all of us. We purchase ingredients for a yummy-looking recipe with the best intentions of making it, but it falls by the wayside in favor of simpler go-to dinners or last-minute meals out. Heck, a lot of food waste simply comes from scraping our leftovers into the garbage.
So commit to purchasing only what you know you’ll eat… and eating what you purchase. It helps to put the things that are expiring soon at the front of your cabinets and refrigerator, so you can’t forget about them!
2. Shop the bulk bin.
Whether it’s coffee, rice, nuts, candy, or daily needs like flour or sugar, one of the simplest waste reduction methods is to purchase semi- or non-perishables in bulk. Just purchase some airtight containers to keep your go-to goodies and ingredients, and then look for them on the scoop-it-yourself bulk aisle at the store. Think about how many fewer paper and plastic containers you’ll handle by using this method!
3. Go for glass.
The best waste reduction strategies create simple ways to recycle in your own home, even without tossing anything in the bin. For instance, by purchasing foods that come in glass containers, you’ll automatically have some extra dishes and vessels to use for eating and storage later.
You can find yogurt, drinks, pickles, olives, and lots of other foods in glass jars, and you can also purchase some mason jars on your own to reuse for all sorts of purposes.
4. Pass on the paper plates.
Paper plates might be convenient, but they pile up fast — both in your trash can and the landfill. By purchasing reusable dishes, you’ll avoid the problem and also have a nicer way to present and eat your meals. Food really does taste better when it’s carefully arranged and plated!
Psst — RVers love shatterproof dishware, which can stand up to the inevitable “oops” moments that come on the road. This 16-piece set will get you started with everything you need, from mugs and plates to bowls and dessert dishes!
5. Reuse grocery bags.
Buying and using the sturdy, canvas bags they sell specifically for grocery shopping is a great way to reduce waste — but even if you do leave with plastic, you can find lots of ways to keep those flimsy bags from clogging up your garbage can.
Use them as liners for your bathroom or kitchen sink garbage can or in your kitty litter box, or even as a cheap and easy way to pack shoes or other slightly dirty items into a larger suitcase. You’d be surprised how much use you can get out of those little slips of plastic!
Waste Reduction Examples
We hope these simple tips and examples of reuse and recycle efforts will help you feel empowered to create small changes in your RVing and day-to-day lives. When it comes to waste reduction, every little bit counts!
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