10 Tips for Living Low-Waste on the Road
10 Tips for Living Low-Waste on the Road

10 Tips for Living Low-Waste on the Road

Whether you’re chasing send temps, crossing the country for a bucket-list expedition, or just heading out of town for a weekend, these tips can help keep your impact minimal while traveling.

 

Plan Travel-Day Meals Ahead Of Time

It’s no secret that food options off the highway aren’t the best for your body. And they’re usually not great for the environment, either. Skip the gas-station snacks by planning your travel-day meals before you hit the road. Keep fresh fruits and veggies nearby for easy snacking, pack hummus and other nutritious dips, and bring along a sandwich or grain-based salad for when you’re craving something bigger. Try packing your food in compact, reusable silicone bags. And if you’re flying, remember that you can typically bring along your own food, too. Just double check for any restrictions on fresh produce, and skip anything liquid.

 

Think In Bulk

If you’ve got a home base (or a “home car”) for your trip, consider packing your supplements and snacks in bulk. If you have the room, bring along a full can of the items you use daily. Or, use a small, spill-proof container to store the amount you need. Not only is this a great way to cut down on single-serving packaging, but it’s also nice to have some extra helpings of your favorite protein powder just in case your objectives or trip plans shift.

 

Tap Into The Local Food Network

Eating locally grown food is a fantastic way to cut down on the carbon footprint of your meals. And some studies suggest that local, in-season foods also contain more nutrients and even taste better than foods that are shipped great distances. Resources like Farm to Crag’s local food map can help you find farmers’ markets and restaurants that source local ingredients.

 

Pack Reusable Utensils

Whether you’re eating out or packing your own meals, bringing a set of reusable utensils is a quick way to cut down on waste from single-use plastic cutlery. Look for options made of steel or bamboo that are recyclable or biodegradable. For the ultralight traveler, consider a small travel utensil that fits easily into a daypack. Or, get in the habit of keeping this reusable set in the glovebox of your car, so it’s always there when you need it.

 

Sort Your Recycling

It is easy to toss all your trash from camping or road tripping in one bag for the sake of convenience. Instead, make an effort to keep a designated recycling bag for plastic, glass, and recyclable metals like steel. This extra step helps divert waste from landfills that would otherwise take thousands of years (or more) to decompose.

 

Fight Food Waste With Proper Storage

We’re used to hearing about landfills overflowing with plastic bottles and straws. But did you know that nearly 40% of food in America is wasted each year? Food waste is a big problem, which can be even harder to fight when you don’t have access to your usual refrigerator. But these tips can help! First, set yourself up for success by bringing along a few extra food storage containers. We like these because they’re compact, tightly sealable, and take up less space in small coolers. Speaking of which: Don’t forget your cooler. Even a small ice chest can help keep leftovers and perishable food from going bad. Finally, don’t forget to keep that cooler cold so your food stays fresh throughout your trip.

 

Refuse What You Don’t Need

Stopping in at a local coffee shop to grab a drink? Don’t be afraid to let the barista know that you don’t need a straw. Heading out to a weekend climbing festival? Be thoughtful when it comes to freebies like stickers, water bottles, and other small giveaway items. If you don’t have a need or use for something, politely decline it. Refusing things you don’t need can help prevent the overproduction of items that are hard to recycle.

 

Don’t Forget That Water Bottle

It’s been said before, but it’s well worth repeating. Carrying a reusable water bottle is one of the easiest ways to reduce waste when you’re on the road. Keeping your favorite close by during drives and flights will help you to stay hydrated, too.

 

Savor Your Time

Perhaps the number one reason that road trips and other forms of travel are more wasteful than our daily lives is due to the need for convenience. When you’re trying to move quickly from place to place, it’s easy to look for the most simple solution possible. Unfortunately, quick and easy often means disposable and single-use. So, when you can, try to savor your time. Rather than grabbing a quick bite to-go, stop for an hour to enjoy food at a local restaurant. Take the time to head into a coffee shop and refuel your thermos rather than snagging a disposable cup. A few extra minutes of your time can lower the footprint of your travel (and it’ll probably make your fueling experience more enjoyable, too).

 

Choose Eco-Friendly Products From The Start

Finally, before you hit the road, set yourself up for success by choosing products that are made with waste-reduction in mind. Look for items that come in containers that can be reused or easily recycled. When possible, avoid plastic and opt for glass, steel, or biodegradable packaging. By starting with products that are designed for a clean life cycle, you’re already contributing to a less wasteful world, at home and on the road!


Materials matter. Here’s why we swapped out our plastic tubs for steel packaging.

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