Recycling on the Road

Recycling on the Road

WARNING: This post is mostly a rant.. and a cry for help.

I’ve claimed before that I’m less needy now that we live tiny, which I still believe is true. I’m also more stubborn. I refuse to be irresponsible with my trash on the road. I WANT to recycle. I have a second trash bin in my kitchen, which takes up valuable real-estate, just so that I can separate my recycling. And don’t get me started on composting… that’s another rant.

My second trash bin, the one specifically for recycling, fills up twice as quick as my landfill trash can. Once it’s full, I have to find a recycling center or a recycling bin to toss it in, which has been a challenge. I was flabbergasted to learn that the majority of campgrounds do NOT recycle. You’re a campground, aren’t you supposed to care about the environment?? Since I refuse to throw my recycling in the landfill dumpster, I’m forced to travel with my recycling, until I can dispose of it responsibly. Sometimes, it can be weeks before I find a convenient place to recycle. And in some areas, I’m unable to store the bags in the back of the truck because birds and bears will tear the bags apart! In these areas, I’m left with a choice: 1). Keep my bags of recycling inside the cab of the truck, which is a bit smelly, or 2). Store them inside the tiny house… which is a bit smelly and uninviting. Who wants to share their space with bags of recycling??

I often find myself scanning for blue bins. Scouring like a hawk for prey.

When I finally spy a target, I’m almost always disappointed to learn that they only accept SOME forms of recycling. I sigh, and begin the unsavory task of ripping open my recycling bags and sorting. This creates a huge mess! Perhaps I should have more bins? One for glass; one for plastic; one for aluminum; one for paper. My kitchen would be half kitchen / half recycling center! What’s a traveling gal to do??

I now refill my water bottle instead of purchasing a new one each time. I reuse glass jars for organizing my pantry. I use Yerdle to recycle my clothes and electronics. I’ve also tried to purchase items without plastic wrapping, but that’s not always easy. When you live on the road, you’re at the mercy of the local practices. If Wal-Mart is the only grocery store for fifty miles, you have to shop there, or starve.

I am stubborn. I carry my recycling with me. I sort through it. I get dirty and angry dealing with it. And, I’ll swim in it, if need be.

If we were all so stubborn, would things change?

Does anyone have a suggestion to ease my pain? I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts and stories of recycling on the road.

All the best,

– Smelly & Stubborn 




  1. April 10, 2015 / 12:42 pm

    My problem is similar. I moved into an apartment complex 18 months ago only to learn there is no recycling, even though the town would be pleased to pick up the complex’s recycling if only the complex would agree to take delivery of free collection bins. The problem? The complex owners say there is no place to put these bins. Not that they had trouble making room for all those large dumpsters. Anyway, with absolutely no drop-off recycling services (what’s that about, New York state?) I’ve had to impose on my friends and coworkers, asking permission to drop my recycling in their residential bins in the dark hours on trash night, like some kind of reverse garbage-scavenger. I had about 8 easy months when I was in a relationship with a homeowner, but you cannot stay with a person for the sake of recycling convenience. Lobbying the complex owners didn’t work, nor did talking to local politicians, although it gained me some small notoriety. I’ve solved the problem by purchasing a home in a progressive small city in another state and am looking forward to my move in a few months. But it remains difficult to find places to recycle. I never knew I could be this stubborn but I get where you’re coming from.

  2. Louise Catherine
    April 10, 2015 / 11:54 am

    Hi, Love hearing about your adventures. Can you try to locate health food stores in every state (there is a web-site) and buy in bulk as much as you like reusing your jars and bags?Not always do you need to buy 50#s of something, or a case. When you know what place you’ll be heading into next, find out where the towns transfer station is.AKA town dump. Most likely there will be bins.Hopefully.
    Also, my biggest thing is to refuse to buy something that has something you need to get rid of. It’s a decision one has to make.
    It’s all about choices.

  3. April 10, 2015 / 5:53 am

    first and foremost do not buy anything with packaging…eating whole foods such as fruits and veggies can be purchased without packaging. If you need to buy something that requires packaging such as meat, take a container with you and buy from the meat case. If you have access to the internet you can probably find recycling centers near you. If you have a blender, you can take veggie and fruit scraps and blend them with water and dig a hole (recover) and nourish the earth

    You’re right about campgrounds not recycling…they are few, but I’ll bet someone in the office will know where you can take your items.

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