Rubbish is far more personal and in your face when you’re living in a motor home, especially when your doing a fair amount of free camping, you quickly find out exactly how much rubbish you produce when there are no large bins parked outside your door that get emptied every week.
Not much of a problem in caravan parks as there are generally plenty of bins which are emptied regularly. When free camping you need to take advantage of kerbside and park bins, or personal bins belonging to people where you’re camping. DON’T put your rubbish into other peoples personal bins at houses or businesses unless you’ve asked first.
Street and park bins? many shopping centres and councils try to make it difficult for you to put bags of rubbish in them, they are there for small items only. There’s a dual purpose to the restricted bin, to help keep vermin out as well as making it more difficult for people to drop in large bags full of rubbish. You have probably seen crows getting into rubbish bins in the past, when they get into it they will pull rubbish out of the bin and scatter it everywhere in their search for food.
I’m learning to cut right back on my food packaging as this is the big rubbish producer, one of the worst items I’ve found is clam shell packaging, and many food products are packaged this way, cherry tomatoes, bakery items, nuts, dried fruits, sprouts, strawberries, cherries and cold meats, these handy packaging items are everywhere and they take up a huge amount of space in your rubbish because they don’t crush down well. The best way to cut back on these things is to always keep it in mind when you’re shopping. Don’t buy the prepackaged versions. Most things packaged in the clam shells are also available without the packaging. Fruits and vegetables can be bought without packaging at all or with the standard thin plastic bags in the fruit and vegie section. These bags take up almost no space when you’re discarding them, or better still, reuse the bags, either use them for storing leftovers instead of cling wrap, or take them back with you next time you go to the shops, you can use the bags over and over again.
Buy your cold meats from the deli section of the supermarket, then they are wrapped in a thin sheet of plastic and paper, much less waste to deal with. Buy your meat from a butcher and you don’t have the foam trays and those horrible juicy absorbent pads to deal with. Cans and bottles can be a more difficult form of rubbish to deal with, often there are few alternate options. If you drink wine, try to find a wine you enjoy that comes in a cask, if you’re a beer drinker who normally drinks from glass bottles, find a beer you like that’s available in cans, cans crush down to almost nothing. This is one of my harder things to deal with, my favourite beer comes in glass bottles only. I would assume that living in a motorhome you already buy long life milk in boxes, and if you don’t you really should, these are great as they pack very flat when empty. If you drink juice try and buy juices in the boxes as well, they pack more efficiently in your pantry and have very little waste once empty.
With a little planning and thought while shopping it doesn’t take much to cut right back on your packaging, with less packaging you have less rubbish to deal with, which brings us full circle, back to how you deal with disposing of the rubbish. Most towns have a rubbish tip or transfer station, try there, they will often take your waste for free, or sometimes for a small cost. For them it’s better to have your rubbish dealt with in a responsible manner rather than having more litter in their local area. If they don’t want to take your rubbish at the tip suggest to them that it’s a far better option for you to bring it straight to them than you leaving it in some street bin somewhere where they will have to collect it.
Whenever I go for a trip somewhere in my car I tend to take any bags of rubbish with me, you never know when you might drive past an available bin.
Don’t leave your rubbish on the ground next to a full bin, if the bin is full keep going, you’ll find one further down the road somewhere. If you leave it on the ground animals can get into it ripping the bags open and your rubbish will end up everywhere.
Don’t dump large amounts of rubbish in bins far from town that obviously don’t get emptied regularly, save your rubbish till you next go into town. Though try to dispose of your waste regularly, it’s easier to get rid of a small shopping bag filled with rubbish every week rather than a large garbage bag now and then.
Don’t dump large amounts of rubbish into bins located in popular sightseeing places or national parks, these often fill very quickly with day trippers and sightseers.
Be careful of councils and shires who don’t like household rubbish in their public bins.
I’ve been putting my rubbish into these bins, and if I’m questioned I plan on arguing that my rubbish can’t possibly be classed as household rubbish as I don’t have a house and don’t live in a house.
Paper and cardboard items can be burnt in a fire if you’re in an area that allows camp fires, don’t light fires out of season of course though. If your camped in a suitable area, bury your compostable rubbish like vegetable, fruit scraps and fish guts, but be sure to bury them deeply so that animals won’t dig it up, and only do this if you’re camped in a suitable environment. Keep an empty tin in the kitchen to pour waste into like old cooking fat. It’s all common sense really, and many of these practices are possible things you did in your house in the past anyway.
Another tip for cutting back on waste is to ‘eat out’. If you’re in town and grabbing some lunch or dinner or visiting that bakery in town, don’t take it home eat where you are or go to a close scenic spot to eat and deposit your rubbish straight away rather than taking it home.
Soon it all becomes second nature and rubbish is easy to deal with in a motorhome.