Top Tips for Sustainable Motorhoming

Jack Hellier

Written by Jack Hellier

RV travellers sometimes get a bad rap when it comes to looking after the environment. Yet, the truth is that most of us take great care of the big backyard we are so lucky to explore.

As a large community that spend a lot of time enjoying the great outdoors, the small things each of us does to help protect the environment can make a significant difference. Between our lifestyle and our actions, we can reduce our environmental impact and take personal pride in the positive effects while also inspiring those around us. Here are a few ideas to help get you started on a greener journey.

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Dump responsibly

It goes without saying that disposing of your grey water (from sinks and your shower) and toilet waste properly is top of the list for motorhomers when it comes to caring for the environment. Most campgrounds have dump stations, and you can find public dump stations on the online AA Map (just search ‘dump station’ to find the nearest one).

Embrace your inner minimalist

Just like the RV lifestyle, minimalism is all about embracing freedom – especially from the consumer culture we’ve become so accustomed to. It means thinking carefully before buying something. Do you really need it? How will you eventually dispose of it? Is there an eco-friendly alternative? Once you start asking yourself these questions, you might discover you don’t need as much ‘stuff’ as you thought you did. And the less stuff we all buy, the fewer resources we use to make them, and the less we must dispose of – and that’s got to be a good thing! You can find out more about the minimalist movement at theminimalists.com.

Free up some space

Freecycle is a worldwide online organisation with a mission to encourage waste reduction, save resources and help members save money. Membership is free, and once you’ve signed up you can log in to find free things you want or give away things you don’t want. With over 9.5 million members around the globe, this innovative resource is all about passing on the things you no longer need to someone who does, keeping countless tons of reusable items out of local landfills. Find out more at freecycle.org.

Recycle as you travel

Separate your recyclables from your other rubbish and dispose of it in bins provided at campsites and rubbish/recycling bins as you travel. To help reduce your waste, try to use minimal disposable items such as plastic bottles, plates, and cutlery in favour of the real thing.

Use eco-friendly shampoo

Instead of adding another plastic bottle to your bathroom shelves that will eventually have to be disposed of, consider using one of the new enviro-friendly shampoo ‘bars’ for your morning shower. There are lots of lovely varieties now available from supermarkets and pharmacies, or you could check in at a local farmers market and see if someone there is making them. To order one online, visit skincarenz.com.

Dry laundry in the fresh air

Sometimes, you have no choice but to get a load of drying done at the local laundromat or campsite. But dryers do have a heavy carbon footprint, so where possible, take advantage of the free solar power outside and hang your washing to dry in the sun. Many campgrounds provide washing lines, otherwise a small A-frame clothing rack is a cheap and easy-to-store option for wash day.

Support the locals

Buying local produce is not only a great way to help support small communities, but it’s also beneficial for the environment as it reduces the carbon footprint involved in transportation. After all, doesn’t it make sense to buy a bag of oranges grown in the orchard down the road than shipped over on a plane from another country? Often, local product is also cheaper and tastier too.

Take your own containers

Remember the days when we’d leave the supermarket with our shopping packed in multiple plastic bags? Thankfully those days are over, but there is still way too much single-use plastic coming out of shops and into our homes and motorhomes. Most supermarkets don’t mind if you take in your own clean containers for purchasing deli items, meats, and fish. You can also purchase reusable produce bags for packing your fruit and veggies. Imagine the impact over a single year if we all made that one small change. You might also like to try shopping at stores such as GoodFor or Bin Inn who sell a range of package-free foods and cleaning products.

Help out a local cause 

Volunteering with a local enviro-friendly organisation is a great way to make a real difference to the environment of the communities you travel through. Not only that, but you may also make some like-minded friends – many of whom are likely to be travellers just like you. A good start is conservationvolunteers.co.nz. This website lets you search by region, date, and for the type of project that suits you – and there are always plenty on offer. The Department of Conservation is another great cause always in need of volunteers. Visit doc.govt.nz/get-involved to find out more.

Leave it better

Finally, if we could each only manage one thing, it should be to leave every place we visit better than we found it. It can be as simple as picking up a piece (or more) of rubbish from the beach or park as you leave or donating a few extra dollars to the DOC site you stay in.

We hope our list of ideas has helped inspire you to try a few new ways to travel greener – and to share them with others you meet on your travels. We’d love to hear your tips and tricks for travelling more sustainably. Let us know what you’re doing to travel greener!

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Jack Hellier

Written by Jack Hellier