6 Tips for a Zero Waste Road Trip
Updated: Apr 16
Having a long trip on the road ahead of you can mean your trip will be pretty wasteful with all the stops for coffee and sandwiches along the way but it doesn’t have to be. With these tips and some planning, your road trip can be rather sustainable if you are willing to make a little effort.
Bring a cooler
Snacks at a gas station are tempting but ofter covered in plastic and full of sugar and other additives. A cooler is a great way to keep your stuff cool (duh) but keep in mind that it is not a refrigerator. Bringing fresh meat and dairy products along the way is not recommended. What is in my cooler you ask? Fresh fruit like banana’s apples and oranges (soft fruit is not recommended when the ride can get bumpy. Fresh vegetables like carrots, sweet pepper, and cherry tomatoes are also included. These are all great with some hummus for dipping.
For the meat-eaters among you. Dried meat is also great for on the road as it has a long shelf life.
I have a major sweet tooth so there is also a bar of dark chocolate in there.
Snacks are great but it is not a meal. When you are on the road, look for a ‘real’ restaurant instead of fast food. Fast food equals heaps of packaging and lots of junk. Not good for our planet, not good for you. So, look for a restaurant where you can sit and have a decent meal with real plates. No real restaurant nearby? Look for self-service areas and bring your own container. Food that can be wrapped in paper is also a great option if the paper can be composted.
Bring your own cloth napkins to avoid using disposable ones.
Bringing your own water bottle goes without saying but, if you also like warms drinks on the road like coffee, tea or maybe even hot chocolate, opt for an insulated bottle. These will keep your drink warm and you don’t burn your hands on the outside of the bottle.
Bring a small sealed container for your organic waste like the previously mentioned compostable paper, banana peels and apple cores. Compost everything at home.
My skin is very sensitive so when I stay somewhere I always make sure to bring my own toiletries. If you have to use to ones from the hotel, make sure to bring them with you and use it completely. You can also use the shampoo (it is soap after all) to clean your reusable containers and used cloth napkins (even clothes if that is necessary). Just make sure to properly rinse it to remove the scent from the shampoo.
Even though it is best to reduce the amount you travel, it is not always possible. Maybe you have family living farther away or your job demands it. Either way, I hope these tips will make your next journey on the road more sustainable.