I Love Green

Repurpose Everyday Items on the Road to Be More Green

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter September Outdoor Living Newsletter

These days, there are two distinct realities to accept when it comes to the environment. One is the fact that the planet's resources are on the decline, and the other is the fact that world's landfills are running out of space to accommodate all of the garbage. We all need to find ways to extend our world's limited resources and minimize the amount of trash we put in our landfills. One way we can do that is by repurposing some everyday items, whether we are at home or on the road.

Repurposing an item is the act of finding alternative use for an object rather than discarding it altogether and is certainly an environment-friendly practice. It can also be an especially valuable habit for campers and RVers due to the limited space in a car or RV. When on the road, packing multi-purposed items helps to maximize storage space.

There are a lot of ways by which to repurpose everyday items to cut the cost of living while on the road. Here are a few examples to try out the next time you go on a road trip.

Empty Liquid Detergent Bottles

Discarded bottles of liquid detergent that we throw out are often not really as empty as we think. They still have a lot of soap sticking to their sides, so why waste the soap in these bottles when we can use them to set up a washing station when camping?

All you need to do is to fill these empty bottles with water and you'll have diluted liquid detergent. When you set up camp, just take these bottles out and place them at one spot with a roll of tissue, a garbage bag, and a basin for collecting water. You can then use the water for washing hands or cleaning dishes.

A series of everyday items that we can repurpose
It is easy to repurpose everyday items while on the road

Mesh Produce Bags

Sometimes, the fruits and vegetables that we buy at the market are packaged in mesh bags. More often than not, we just throw these mesh bags away because we don't have any other use for them. You can actually use these mesh bags for scrubbing the pots and pans that you brought for cooking. Fold these mesh bags into clumps that you can hold comfortably and keep them in place with a rubber band.

Newspaper Sleeves

Do you still have your newspaper delivered every morning when you're home? Is your daily paper wrapped in a plastic sleeve to protect it? Instead of throwing away these newspaper sleeves, you can collect them and use them as disposable work gloves or handy travel bags for wrapping items such as kitchen utensils, toothbrushes, and lotion bottles.

Old Shower Curtains

If you need tarp for covering luggage stowed on the roof of your RV or for spreading on the ground on picnics, you can use old shower curtains instead of buying tarp. Your old shower curtains may seem faded and don't look pristine anymore, but they're waterproof and are probably still durable. They can protect your things as effectively as tarp can.

Orange Peels

After eating your oranges, don't throw your orange peels just yet. The natural oil on orange peels is an excellent bug repellant. Rub the inside of the peel against your exposed skin and place the orange peels you have collected near your sleeping spot before retiring for the night. You're sure to have a good night's sleep free from mosquito and other bug bites.

Used Aluminum Foil

Grilling and barbecuing are commonplace when camping. It's also common practice to wrap freshly grilled or barbecued meat in aluminum foil to let the meat rest and to seal in the juices. Afterwards, most people throw away the aluminum foil. Instead of throwing the foil out, you can wash it and wrap it around your water bottles and canteens. By doing this, you can enjoy cool water for drinking when you go for a hike.

You can also use these used sheets of aluminum foil to line your tackle box. The aluminum foil will keep moisture out of your tackle box and the rust off your hooks and other fishing gear.

Empty Prescription Bottles

In case of emergency, people often bring small items such as nails, thumbtacks, and string with them when camping. Storing them in compartmentalized utility boxes is sometimes not enough. If you drop the box, you risk spilling these small items all over your RV and put your travel companions in danger. You can prevent this by storing your small items in empty prescription bottles before chucking them in your utility box.

Zip Lock Bags

You can use and reuse zip lock bags as many times as you want. One interesting use you can have of them is as pillows. If you have an air pump with you, you can blow air into zip lock bags, zip them, and sleep on them. So, don't worry if you forgot to pack pillows with you for your camping outing.

Repurposing is not just an environment-friendly practice. It is also a utilitarian means of maximizing the storage space in our RVs and minimizing the number of things we have to take when camping or on the road. Try repurposing on your next camping excursion to see just how useful it really is.

You can read more about repurposing and reusing everyday items at the US Environmental Protection Agency and at Reduce.org.

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