Green RV living might seem like a misnomer to some, but eco-conscious travelers know it’s entirely possible to help the planet while RVing. If you think putting the earth first is difficult when you’re driving a gas-guzzling box of stuff, think again. These surprisingly easy baby steps to green RV living will inspire you to give it a try.
You’ll be floored when you see how easy it is to be green on the road. Only one of these suggestions requires any kind of major investment.
Drive at or under the speed limit
You can’t save the planet if you’re driving at speeds that burn more fuel than necessary. Driving slower isn’t just safe, it consumes less fuel. For instance, every five miles over the speed limit that you drive over 55 mph will cost you an additional $0.16 per gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).
“While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph,” the DoE says.
Use waterless products
This tip is so easy it’s ridiculous. Waterless products are a camper’s best friend and consume less resources. From the many dry shampoos available to waterless RV wash products, you’ll find many opportunities to conserve water in the city or when dry camping in the country.
Carry a sturdy recycling container
Unfortunately, RV campgrounds with recycling are rare. Recycling is just too cost-prohibitive in many small, scenic rural towns with great camping but no way to recycle items.
But you can always find recycling somewhere. If you’re serious about making a difference for the planet, get a sturdy container to hang onto the most common recycled items—aluminum and #2 PET plastic bottles—and ditch them when you find a recycling bin.
Barbecue more, wash dishes less
Barbecued RV meals eliminate the need to dirty up pots and pans, as well as your stove top. Slap a few hunks of beef or tofu on the grill, slip a few veggies into a barbecue basket, and you’ve got the fixin’s of a fantastic RV meal.
You’ll use less water and avoid those dishpan hands. What could be better?
Don’t travel with full holding tanks
RV fuel economy drops considerably when your holding tanks are full. Not only does excess liquid burn fuel but it also puts more wear-and-tear on your rig. If you know you can dump waste or resupply your freshwater tanks at your next location, don’t carry more liquid pounds than necessary.
Switch to a waterless RV toilet
This is probably the hardest step for RVers to take and it’s definitely the most costly. But a waterless RV toilet cannot be ignored if you want to help the planet.
The average flush toilet consumes more water than any other home appliance, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. RVers can do better by investing in a waterless RV toilet like Dry Flush, Incinolets, or another traditional composting toilet. These simple appliances consume far less water whether you’re dry camping in the desert or hooked up to utilities in the city.
Changing our habits to help the planet isn’t always easy. But if you don’t even want to try green RV living, just remember what Benjamin Franklin once said: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
See also: Is RVing Green?
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.