Over the past 18 months, more people than ever have embraced the great outdoors, and one of the best ways to do this is via a road trip. At a time when the health of the planet is on everyone’s mind, finding ways to take a break and be eco-friendly takes some thought. For this guide, Indie Campers have provided us with some excellent ways to reduce your road trips carbon footprint.
Road trips are a brilliant way to become acquainted with the great outdoors and, in doing so, learn more about nature. The thrill of heading off and exploring will always be strong. However, consideration should always be given to the negative impact a trip might have on the planet.
There are some simple ways you can reduce the carbon footprint and be more environmentally friendly on a road trip, and the experts at Indie Campers have kindly shared nine of their best tips with us.
Travel light and tight
The heavier your van, the more petrol it will use. Choose the van that meets your needs in terms of space – don’t feel compelled to size up. Indie Campers have a range of vehicles to suit different group sizes, from the compact Rocky that sleeps 2 in a roof-top tent (currently available from Indie Campers new Los Angeles centre) to the ever-popular 4-berth Nomad and larger 5-bed Atlas.
Take the same approach to your packing – stick to the essentials and keep your luggage light to make it better for the environment and easier on your wallet.
Bring reusable containers
From water bottles to coffee cups, shopping bags and even takeaway containers, the amount of single-use plastics can stack up on a road trip. A great way of cutting down on plastic waste is to bring your own reusable containers and fill them up at water stations, grocery stores and restaurants (instead of the traditional doggy bag!).
Don’t leave the engine running
Every road trip is full of ‘wow’ moments that will make you want to pull over for a quick stop. Whilst it was previously thought to be more environmentally friendly to keep the engine running – rather than turning it off and on again – this is no longer the case for modern-day campervans. Thanks to improved technology it is more emission-friendly to cut the engine, so park up and enjoy the views without rushing.
Stay ON the beaten track (at least with your van)
While searching for hidden gems and undiscovered beauty spots is tempting, don’t go off-roading illegally or drive across fragile environments. The road less travelled is best explored on foot, and even then only with great care and respect for nature and wildlife. Don’t pick the wildflowers you might spot by the wayside, and try to be as quiet as possible so as not to frighten the animals. And always make sure you empty the wastewater tank and toilet unit at designated disposal facilities only.
Shop organic, support local artisans
Avoid a considerable amount of plastic waste when stopping at local farm shops, vineyards and other artisanal producers to stock up your van cupboards. Not only are you doing good for the environment, but you are also supporting independent local businesses. Plus, a tour around a beer brewery or an afternoon sampling cheeses is the perfect activity for food fans on the road!
Pick up after yourself
It might seem too obvious to even mention in this day and age, but there are still surprising amounts of litter to be found around parking spots and campsites. Whether you are stopping off for a quick break by the roadside or enjoying a picnic in a remote beauty spot, make sure to not leave behind any rubbish.
Take your goodwill one step further and spend some time picking up plastic waste left behind by others. Especially on beaches, it is sad to see how much waste washes up on the shore. More worryingly, it is also a huge threat to marine life and other animals. Take some thick gloves and a few bags, and have a clean-up session.
You could even turn it into a mini-workout. The Swedish coined the term ‘Plogging’, a hybrid of the words’ jogging’ and ‘picking up’ – good for your health and the environment.
Separating your waste might seem like a hassle when you’re on the road, but Mother Nature will appreciate your efforts. Separate plastic, paper, glass and organic matter and look up recycling points close to you online. It only takes a few extra minutes of your time, but you are playing an important part in avoiding clogging up landfills.
Offset your trip
Last but not least, if you genuinely want to go the extra mile in taking responsibility for your carbon footprint, several organisations allow you to calculate and offset your emissions, such as Carbon Footprint, Climate Care or Clear Eco.
“We all want to leave the special places we encounter on our travels as untouched as possible, so they can be enjoyed by others for generations to come,” says Francisco Pereira. “Of course, when your journey involves driving, there is going to be a certain level of environmental impact, but there are also a number of ways to minimise it that you might not have thought of.”
If you would like more tips on green camping, visit Indie Campers’ dedicated blog here.
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