I am not alway “green” when I am RVing. Face it, when you are in the Badlands in summer; nothing beats the heat other than air conditioning especially on those 30 degree plus days. Not only the hubbie and kids enjoy the cooler than outside temp inside the rig after hiking, biking or just plain running around; my geriatric, old man dog thanks me too! It would be unfair and hypocritical of me to say don’t use air conditioning. Any common sense person would agree that limiting the use of air conditioning would decrease you energy usage thus reducing your impact on the environment. Well the best way to do this is like what they say in Real Estate – Location…Location…Location. Plan your camping trips to areas with extremely hot temperatures either in the spring or fall. That isn’t always feasible, especially if you have school-aged rug rats. Then I would look for sites with the most trees or cover that will minimize any direct sunlight. If trees are limited, look at the base of a hillside or cliff face that will allow you to begin to receive shade in afternoon. If that is impossible and you are camping in an open field, keep your night shades down and put up the covers over the front windows. If you do not have the snap heavy covers, use cardboard covered with tinfoil to keep the light out. Place RV in a location where you will benefit with the natural cross breeze. Setting the air conditioner temp even a few degrees higher than what you normally do can make a big difference, as well as, turning off the air conditioner in the evening can help cut down energy consumption.
Other energy and water saving devices that one may consider to install are a low flow shower head (we have); Exchanging burnt out light bulbs to LED (made committment but haven’t had a burnout bulb yet); a low flow toilet and solar panels.
It is easy to save on water consumption when RVing, especially when you know you are only limited to the water in the tank. We usually fill up the sink with warm water and have everyone use it to wash their face in morning and bed time. The boys love that we we down their tooth brushes and that they have to go outside to spit their toothpaste into the firepit. Another common sense thing to do is not to let the tap to run and let water run down the drain and to fix all tap leaks right away.
It is easy to go green with cleaning products. We all need cleaning products. Homemade cleaning products are easy to use. All you need is vinegar, salt, lemon juice, baking soda or borax. I usually just eyeball my mix of vinegar and water. Below are some simple recipes from The Daily Green websitethat will inspire you to make some yourself.
- Natural Disinfectant: Mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. Spray or rub on countertops and other kitchen surfaces.
- Baking Soda and Water: If you have stains, mix baking soda and water into a paste and let set for a while before you remove.
- White Vinegar, Water and Newspaper: Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on, then scrub with newspaper. Newspaper will not streak.
- Baking Soda and Boiling Water: To unclog those drains pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the problem drain, followed by 2 cups of boiling water. If that isn’t doing it for you, chase the baking soda with a 1/2 cup of vinegar and cover tightly, allowing the vigorous fizzing of the chemical reaction to break up the gunk. Then flush that with one gallon of boiling water.
Other green things to consider is using re-usable containers such as water bottles, coffee mugs and food storage containers instead of plastic sandwich or snack bags. When packing your food for motorhome, take off excess packaging and recycle at home rather than bring with you. When RVing have a container to hold plastics, glass and tins for recycling, paper products (excellent fire starter) and a bag for returnable cans. These can be placed in one of the underbelly storage compartments during your travels and can be taken to nearby recycling facilities. We do try to recycle, but sometimes with little kids it is hard to do, especially when they are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I try to get them to help me recycle.
You may not always be able to wash dishes – if need to use portable plates, try to use the paper rather than the foam. At least you can burn the paper plates in the fire.
I know in normal life, it ain’t alway easy being green, but every little step can help reduce our impact so we can continue to enjoy the environment around us. If you happen to have any suggestion or ideas of easy to do going green tips, please feel free to share. Happy Travels!