Recycling On The Road: How, Where, And Upcycling

While most places are making great changes to become more eco-friendly, doing your part can make an important difference to the environment! However, if you’re full-time RVing, chances are it might not be very easy to properly take care of your recycling. Luckily, there are a lot of great options to make recycling easier! This guide to recycling on the road will help you to figure out how and where to recycle, as well as provide great ideas for upcycling!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

In hopes to reduce the need for recycling altogether, environmentalists urge everyone to employ the reduce, reuse, recycle motto. By simply reducing the amount of unnecessary waste created, there is less that you will have to figure out what to do with later! Anything that you do have left over, you can find a way to reuse or repurpose to avoid sending it to the trash, or using valuable resources to have it recycled. As a last resort, recycling is a great way to ensure that otherwise harmful materials are kept from doing damage to the environment by going on to serve a better purpose!


Recycling is a great way to ensure that your waste doesn’t unnecessarily end up in a landfill or dump, where it could take years to decompose, or not decompose at all and take up space. By bringing in your recyclable materials into a recycling facility or depositing them into an appropriate recycling receptacle, you’re allowing these materials to be safely broken down, and then used to create other items.

Finding Recycling On The Road

If you’re lucky, you may be staying at a campground that offers recycling services, or at the very least, has a recycling bin where you can deposit your recyclable materials. Unfortunately, most campgrounds do not offer recycling, as it costs valuable resources and money to maintain. If you’re dedicated to recycling, you can still find local recycling centers where you can bring your recycling while on the road!

Finding a recycling center could be as easy as asking! Ask your campground host where local recycling centers are, or get in touch with local trash pickup services. There is also a great app called iReycle that is perfect for locating recycling locations for any type of item you’d like to recycle! Some retail stores, such as Target, have small-scale, in-store recycling stations so you can bring many materials in for recycling! If anything, a quick inquiry with a search engine could give you accurate results on where to find recycling centers as well!

What About Upcycling?

Going back to the ‘reuse’ part of the motto mentioned earlier, reusing items is a great way to keep them from going to the trash or recycling unnecessarily! Upcycling is the process in which everyday used items are transformed into useful, even decorative, creations!

When considering upcycling, keep the whole picture of environmental impact in mind. A lot of upcycling ideas may seem handy, but many projects end up ruining once-recyclable materials. Glues or adhesives sometimes create dangerous fusion, or cutting up bottles or other materials prevents them from being eligible for recycling. Although some upcycling can seem like a good fix for keeping materials out of landfills, it’s just a short-term fix, and instead of eventually recycling, these unusable materials will end up in the trash anyway.

With that being said, there are plenty of great and safe ideas you can use for upcycling while on the road!

  • Use tin cans to make a great silverware caddy
  • Save toilet paper rolls and use to keep cords and cables organized
  • Use old lightbulbs as oil lamps
  • Use old packaging bubble wrap to insulate your RV windows
  • Use condiment or juice bottles for transporting ingredients and mixes for your trip
  • Use large condiment jugs to create a waterproof first aid kit
  • Use coffee cans for waterproof storage of matches and toilet paper, or as a flower pot, or as a bread maker!
  • Transform a six pack cardboard holder into a condiment caddy
  • Use cardboard egg cartons as a fire starter by putting charcoal in the cups

Tips To Remember

Recycling while on the road won’t always be easy. It is a great thing to do for the environment, but you’ll have to be dedicated to taking care of recyclable materials and possibly holding onto them until you reach your next destination. Here are some good tips for dealing with recycling while RVing:

  • Leave packaging at the store whenever possible, especially with big purchases, but anything helps
  • Don’t burn your garbage! It creates dangerous fumes and leaves a mess for other people to clean up
  • Use large plastic bins to store recycling so that you can easily store it or transport it until you can find a recycling center.
  • Reuse items as much as possible, from anything such as shopping bags, food storage bags, tissue boxes, and more!

Recycling and upcycling are great for the environment, and with a little dedication and hard work, you can help to make the world a better place! Even if you don’t always recycle, RVing is already better for the environment than traditional living. You are living more sustainably in a smaller space, driving less than you normally would, you probably own substantially less personal possessions, are sharing bathrooms and using less water, and potentially using solar power. Just remember, even a small change can make a huge difference!

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