Five Simple Steps to Reduce Waste on Your Summer Road Trip

Summer is just around the corner, which means many people are again starting to gear up for their annual summer road trip. Whether you’re cruising with friends or family, there is nothing quite like the feeling of heading out on the open road. The freedom and adventure is more than worth the long hours in the car. Unfortunately, spending so many hours in the car often amounts to no small amount of garbage and general waste. However, it’s actually quite easy to cut down on waste and make your road trip more green by following these simple steps.

1. Minimize Your Fuel Consumption
Gas is often the biggest cost on any road trip, and unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to change this short of buying a hybrid or electric car. Of course, these generally don’t have enough power to tow small pop-up campers let alone Airstream trailers

Therefore, you should instead focus on attempting to limit your fuel consumption by making sure your tires are properly inflated, not driving too fast and using your cruise control whenever possible. Making sure to plan out your route and any stops should also help prevent you from wasting time and gas driving around aimlessly. 

2. Stay Away from Plastic Water Bottles
The world’s plastic problems continue to get worse and worse, and we now dump more than 8 million tons of trash in the oceans every year. This obviously makes it important that we all cut down on our plastic usage, but this isn’t always when you’re away from home for days on end. Plastic water and drink bottles are a huge source of this pollution, and they’re also something most of us turn to when traveling.

The amount of plastic water bottles a family of four could use over a week or two-week long road trip quickly adds up. Still, the fact that you’re driving means you can easily avoid using plastic bottles by bringing along your own water jugs and a few refillable (not plastic) bottles. 

3. Bring Plenty of Snacks
We all know the lure of heading into the convenience store for drinks and snacks whenever we stop to fill up the car with gas. However, this can quickly add up to a lot of trash. One of the easiest ways to avoid this is to bring a bunch of snacks with you from home in reusable containers. This way you’ll be less tempted to buy snacks, which will also help cut down on the total cost of your road trip.

4. Fast Food Is Not Your Friend
Fast food wrappers are one of the main sources of highway trash. Even if you’re not the type of person to ever throw any garbage out your window, all of those stops at fast food restaurants along your way will still end up generating quite a bit of garbage. Unfortunately, the majority of this trash is never recycled (when was the last time you saw a recycling bin at a McDonalds?). By bringing your own food and shopping in grocery stores whenever necessary, you can go a long way towards both reducing costs and minimizing trash.

5. Shop Smartly and Always Recycle
When you do stop to shop, it’s important that you make smart choices. Try to buy bulk items or anything that comes with as little packaging as possible. Of course, it will be impossible to completely avoid plastic and other sources of trash, which is why you should also try to save whatever trash you do create until you come across a recycling bin.

As you can see, a more environmentally friendly road trip doesn’t have to be all that difficult or time-consuming. As long as you take the think about your purchases and try to avoid common sources of trash, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your summer road trip with a more clear conscience.