RV travel isn't necessarily known as the most environmentally-friendly activity on the planet, but as many RV owners can attest to, living in an RV is a great way to experience our beautiful environment. Burning some fuel may be unavoidable, but there are many ways to lower your impact (and some that will save you money at the same time). Although you may find any number of approaches to greening your recreational ride, the biggest savings will be in your power and sewage systems and in your fuel consumption.
Composting toilets are available for RVs (and cabins or boats)ï¿½these are ideal for places that can't connect to sewer or septic or in areas prone to drought. Composting toilets use significantly less water than traditional systems; some even use none at all! Installing one in the RV means you won't have to worry about pump outs, and you will lower your pollution quotient significantly.
Properly installed, composting toilets have no odor and are already being used in public highway facilities in Sweden. The technology makes use of aerobic decomposition, using oxygen to speed up the process, microbes work at the solids while the 90% water content evaporates through a venting system. This eventually reduces solids to one to two percent of the initial volume, producing soil instead of sewage. Composting toilets come either as self contained units, which can be rather large, or as systems that flush to a separate composting unit.
Another green idea is to harness the power of the sun. You can choose a portable solar kit for your RV or mount a unit right on the vehicle, depending on your power needs. Since solar panels produce DC power, the same system used by RVs, there is no need for conversion. This makes RVs a particularly good application for solar technology. With the right system, you can keep your batteries fully charged and enjoy your electricity without plugging in.
If these changes feel like too much work, don't despair.ï¿½ There are smaller, simpler steps anyone in an RV can take to protect the environment. By parking your RV for the season, you can enjoy affordable living and make some new friends without burning much fuel. There are plenty of RV parks that will allow you to enjoy your vacation in a community setting. Alternative fuel sources, such as biodiesel, can also provide a lower impact vacation, but check with your engine manufacturer before use.
Use environmentally-friendly, non-toxic products in your RV. Cut down on disposable products, recycle your packaging (even if it means packing it home) and dispose of your garbage properly.
Combining the composting toilet, solar power system and alternate fuels with a little common sense will have you touring without a giant carbon footprint. EnviroCitizen.org knows that making a few small changes can lower your impact significantly and help contribute to a healthier environment for us all.