Written by: Adeline Yuboco
04/07/2013 11:30 AM
One of the most popular ways outdoor families enjoy the outdoors is through RVing. Up to 35 days are spent on average by RVers in RV parks and campgrounds across the country. Part of this is due to the comfort RVs provide to RV owners and their families.
Although RVing is a great and comfortable way to enjoy the outdoors, it is very unfriendly to the environment. Motor vehicles - including RVs - are among the primary contributors to air, water and land pollution. From the toxic air pollutants released into the air from consuming fuel while driving, to the waste disposed after an RV trip, RV owners and their families don't realize how much their different activities while camping are actually harming the same outdoors that they love and enjoy.
The good news is that there are eco-friendly ways you and your family can go RVing that will help you to protect the environment and even save money. Below are 11 different tips on how you and your family can enjoy the outdoors during your next RV trip that are very easy to do.
1. Use Non-Disposable Items
Many RV owners and their families choose to use disposable items when they go RVing because they make cleaning up easier. However, they can hurt the environment, especially if they are not disposed properly. Choosing to use non-disposable items like cloth napkins and real plates are more earth-friendly. They also help you save money because you don't have to keep replenishing them each time you go RVing.
If you do bring disposable items, make sure that you properly dispose of them so that they can be recycled. Recycling does take practice and discipline, but it is not impossible to do. The next time you go RVing, bring three boxes that you can use to sort your trash as you dispose of it. After your RV trip, you can dispose your trash at recycling drop-off points along the way in case there isn't any segregated trash bins within the park or campground you'll be staying at. You can also dump these at trash bins in front of supermarkets or restaurants along the way, too.
3. Make Composts
Composts made from food scraps make excellent fertilizer. Instead of dumping food scraps into the garbage on your next RV trip, turn these into fertilizer by burying them in the soil within the RV park or campground where you're staying. A hole at least 12 inches deep will be enough for the bacteria within the soil to aid in the food scraps' decomposition without releasing any foul odor that comes with the decomposition process. This is not only an eco-friendly way to get rid of waste, but also help keep the plants within the park or campground healthy. Before doing this, make sure that you first get the permission of the owners of the RV park or campground. After all, you wouldn't want them to think that you're destroying their campground.
4. Make Your RV More Eco-Friendly
A few adjustments on your RV can make it more eco-friendly. One adjustment is by converting your RV so that it can run on alternative forms of fuel like used vegetable oil or biodiesel. It may initially be a bit expensive, but it is definitely worth it since you don't need to pay for fuel. Many restaurants will be willing to give you their used vegetable oil free of charge.
Another adjustment is by attaching solar panels on your RV. Solar panels can power the different appliances inside your RV just as well as generators, allowing you to go RVing in parks and campgrounds that don't have any electric hookups. Since they don't emit fumes or make any noise, you don't have to worry about disturbing your neighbors, especially at night.
5. Regular RV Check-Up
Along with making adjustments to your RV so that it's more eco-friendly, it is important to make sure that you get your RV checked on a regular basis. In addition to minimizing problems and accidents during your RV trip, getting your RV checked on a regular basis will make sure that your RV remains fuel-efficient.
6. Opt for Alternate Ways to Get Around
Another eco-friendly tip when you go RVing is to use other means of getting around, whether inside the campground premises or to nearby attractions. Some large RV parks and campground offer free shuttle services to guests to bring them to different parts of the park or campground. Alternatively, you can also invest in a bike to help you get around during your RV trip. Bikes are not just eco-friendly ways to get from point A to point B, but they are also a way to keep fit and healthy.
7. Switch to Enzyme-Based Cleaners and Deodorizers
When cleaning your RV before or after your trip, it is best to use enzyme-based cleaners and deodorizers instead of chemical-based ones. Chemical-based cleaners and deodorizers contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde. These chemicals pollute the soil and water when it is drained away from your RV. On top of that, there have also been studies done that show that these chemicals can cause different kinds of cancers later on in your life.
8. Conserve Water
Just because you paid for the water hookup doesn't mean that you should go on wasting it. The more water we use, the more resources are needed by water sanitation plants to provide all of us clean water on a regular basis. So for example, when brushing your teeth don't leave the water running.
9. Use Eco-Friendly Materials in Your RV
Every now and then, you will need to repair and replace certain parts inside your RV, like your flooring. When that time comes, make sure that you choose eco-friendly materials made from renewable materials. Examples of this include bamboo, organic cotton, hemp or wool. The same thing holds true to your furniture and fixtures. For instance, opt to get an eco-friendly RV mattress, which is biodegradable, instead of the conventional mattresses made of synthetic materials. If you're buying a new RV then buy a green RV. Look for the logo. If an RV is certified by a third party, such as TRA, you know that it has passed rigorous green standards.
10. Adjust your Thermostat
Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree cooler in the winter. Each degree celsius less will save about 10% on your energy use! In addition, invest in a programmable thermostat which allows you to regulate temperature based on the times you are at home or away.
11. Leave No Trace
Follow the Leave No Trace 7 Principles and leave your campsite looking better than it did when you arrived. Leave nothing behind, pickup trash that others may have left behind, and avoid tampering with anything that is in a natural state.
12. Travel Less and Stay Longer in One Place
Look for a campground that's within a 100 miles from home and plan to stay there for as long as possible to avoid moving from campground to campground.
Of course, there are a lot more different ways on how you can go RVing the eco-friendly way. It's true that the effort of one RVer alone can barely make a difference, but if more RVers make their own contribution, it can only encourage others to also do the same and then these eco-friendly tips can definitely help the environment.
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