5 Ways to Limit Waste While Full-Time RVing

Melanie & Jeremy Scroggins Melanie & Jeremy Scroggins  |  04.06.2018

One aspect of RV living I noticed pretty quickly is how easy it is to accumulate waste. Whether it’s the packaging from an Amazon order or excess food products from dinner, there are a lot of ways to create waste. So, here are a few strategies to limit waste while full-time RVing.

1. Compost

One of the most effective ways to limit waste while full-time RVing is to compost. Yes, this seems absurd. How do you compost in an RV? Well, I assure you it is much easier than you think.

Two months into RVing, I bought a 1.3-gallon composting bin. I couldn’t stand how much food waste I was throwing into the trashcan. So, when the bin arrived, I simply placed it under the sink. Whether you live in a home or an RV, a composting bin will fit pretty much everywhere.

How can I do this? The most difficult part of composting is the question of where to dump the compost once your bin is full. We have always been lucky enough to have friends or resources nearby that allowed us to dump our compost. If you have a hard time finding a location to compost, check out the resources in your local area for a facility near you.

What can be composted? Check out this link for 100 things that can be composted. I bet you’ll be surprised!

compost bin - limit waste

2. Limit the purchase of body products

We live in a time where there are 1,000+ types of shampoos, deodorants, soaps, lotions, etc. While some products may be useful to our daily regiments, limiting the amount we buy can help us reduce waste and save money.

When we moved into our RV, my husband and I started sharing most of our body products. Some people may find this unsatisfactory, and it was our choice, but it has saved us a lot of money.

We currently share shampoo, body soap and deodorant. This helps us to limit how much excess stuff we bring into our home, how much waste we produce once the products are finished, and the money it would cost to each have our own products.

3. Use your own stuff

Another effective way to limit waste while full-time RVing is to use your own products to the best of your ability.

This includes bringing a thermos for coffee at your favorite coffee house, using your own water bottle, and bringing your own bags whenever you buy items where you are given paper or plastic bags at checkout.

This is by far the easiest way to reduce waste as a full-timer. No more thin plastic bags overflowing out of your cabinet. No more plastic water bottles when you’re out and about. Using your own stuff not only helps you to limit waste in your personal life, but it reduces litter out in the world as well. It’s a win-win!

4. Reuse & recycle

There are lots of ways to reuse everyday items. Even things like boxes and bags have a few lives in them! For example, grocery bags are great for picking up after your dog at the park or as trash bags in the bathroom. And Amazon boxes can be used for storage or pet toys.

Plus, no matter where you are, there’s most likely recycling in your area. So, start sorting your recyclable goods from your trash. Here’s a simple guide for what can be recycled and what can’t be.

cat in box

5. Try going paperless

This is a big step for most people. But when you live in an RV, you can’t afford to have important documents floating around the rig willy-nilly.

A few months before we set out on the road, we bought a small, portable scanner and scanned pretty much every picture and piece of paper we had. We filed away some of the important documents and pictures and tossed the rest.

Beyond freeing up physical space, having digital copies of important documents and pictures is a good idea anyway.


Because living in an RV limits the amount of space we have to store extra items in our homes, it makes sense to limit what comes in so we can help reduce what goes out.

Check out the resources available to you in your area. I bet it’s easier than you think to reduce waste in your RV!


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