Trash is something we all have to deal with. Of course, you can do your best to cut back on the amount of garbage your family creates, and I truly encourage you to do so. Still, you’ll almost certainly have some sort of waste to get rid of at the end of each week, and for RVers this process can get a bit complicated.
Of course, those who are headed to a traditional home after their camping trip can just carry their waste home and dispose of it there. However, people who live in their RV fulltime—and especially those who are traveling—don’t have this luxury.
Obviously, for those who are staying in an RV park with dumpsters, trash is less of an issue. However, even those with quick access to a dumpster may be left wondering what to do with their recycling or how they can compost while living on the road. Meanwhile, people who do a lot of boondocking don’t even have the convenience of a dumpster, meaning they’ll need to get even more creative.
Luckily, there are solutions to these problems. Here are some of the best ways to keep the trash issue in check so you can go on with your camping without worrying about an ever-growing mound of waste.
If you’re hoping to recycle while RVing, it’s important to realize that many RV parks don’t provide recycling bins. This certainly complicates things and can be super discouraging to those who’ve always had quick and easy access to a recycle bin. However, it doesn’t have to mean you skip the recycling altogether. Instead, it means you have to think outside the box…err…bin and consider other options.
Perhaps the best way to solve this problem is by seeking out recycling facilities and delivering your boxes, jugs, and other recyclables to these facilities whenever you happen to be close by. Earth 911 is an excellent website for finding the centers that are closest to you.
In between drop-offs, I suggest storing these items in a covered plastic bin in order to keep everything dry, out of the way, and ready to be dropped off.
Composting may seem like something nobody could do while living staying in an RV park, and certainly not while traveling. Luckily, it is totally possible, and even simple.
The best way to go about this is to use a compost bin like this one. Unlike compost piles, bins are pretty self-contained and can be moved from one location to another. If you have a pickup truck, the truck bed is an excellent storage location, but those with motorhomes can usually find space in the storage underneath their home-on-wheels.
Once your compost bin is full and fully composted, you can donate the results to the garden of an individual or a community garden. Some campgrounds also have gardens, and those that do would likely be thrilled to receive the rich soil that results from composting.
Recycling and composting will actually cut way down on the amount of actual garbage you produce. Purchasing items with little or no packaging will also help with this. That said, you will still need to get rid of what trash you do have at the end of a week and if you’re camping in the boonies this is easier said than done.
Some people recommend burning garbage in your campfire. However, most items that can’t be recycled or composted shouldn’t be burned either. For this reason, we recommend storing waste in a covered bin until you can get to a trash can.
This bin can be stored in the storage under your rig or somewhere outside. If you choose to store outdoors, be sure it’s in a securely locked container that cannot be opened by local wildlife. Either way, you won’t want to put food scraps into the garbage.
Make sure to wash all food off your trash before throwing it out, and if you don’t compost food scraps, consider storing them in the freezer to keep them from smelling until you find a final resting place for your garbage.
Wondering where can you find a trash can at the end of a boondocking trip? Well, you definitely won’t find one in the wilderness. However, nearby campground and RV parks will have a dumpster available for camper use.
Booking one night at a campground after every boondocking session will allow you to get rid of trash while also giving you the opportunity to dump your tanks and fill up with fresh water once again. Besides, you have to admit that having full hookups is nice once in a while.
Not a fan of the campground idea? You might be able to find a kind restaurant or store that’ll let you use their garbage can, especially if you only have a small amount to dispose of. Just remember that you must always ask first. Additionally, purchasing something from their business in exchange is always a good idea.
Here are some more quick tips to help you keep your trash situation in check:
- Remove packaging before leaving the store. Throw the garbage in the nearest public trash can.
- Better yet, purchase food that is not in packaging.
- Upcycle as much as possible.
- Donate old items to thrift stores, rather than throwing them out.
- Avoid shopping for unneeded items. You don’t have much room in your tiny home as it is, and the packaging will only add to your garbage pile.
- If you’re staying in bear country, consider storing outside garbage in a lockbox to avoid bear encounters and giant trash messes.