Today's guest blog post comes from our contest winners, Rene Agredano and Jim Nelson. In this post, the first in our series on green RVing, they share some unique ideas about how to save water while on the road. Did you know that eating more barbecue can help save water? Read on for that and more eco friendly RVing tips.
When we first entertained the thought of purchasing an RV to travel around the country, I was mortified by the thought of us moving around some of North America's most beautiful places in a gas-guzzling house on wheels. Until we actually started fulltime RVing, we were avid backpackers who assumed that RVs were terrible for the planet, and that the people who drove them were selfish souls who cared little about the environment.
How wrong I was!
While they're typically not the most fuel efficient vehicles, RVs are actually one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel and live. Even if you're just on a weekend getaway, when you travel by RV, you can practice environmentally-friendly ways that can help put less stress on the planet than flying from one destination to another. And if you're lucky enough to live in one fulltime, your tiny house can be more eco-friendly than a standard sticks-and-bricks home in suburbia. RVs use less water and energy, and we can go where the resources are, instead of trying to bring them to us.
Conserving water is one of the greatest things you can do to ease your carbon footprint while RVing. Some tips and tricks we've discovered during our time on the road include:
When you're dry camping without hookups, saving water is critical. But for those times you're hooked up to utilities in an RV park, it's still not very eco-friendly to let clean water go to waste. For example, when you run water to take a shower, instead of letting fresh water go down the drain while you get the temperature just right, grab a large container to catch that burst of cool water. Keep it in the sink for washing dishes, or put it in your dog's water bowl.
Use Skoy Cloths
Paper towels kill trees, plain and simple. And while sometimes you can't avoid using them, Skoy Cloths (http://skoycloth.com/) are one way you can reduce your dependency on paper products for simple clean up jobs. These mighty little towels act a cross between a paper towel and a rag. Using a SKOY cloth is equivalent to using 15 rolls of paper towels in an average home. They have an absorption factor of 15 times their own weight, and can be used many times before getting so skanky the need to be tossed. Even after going into the trash, Skoy Cloths will completely biodegrade within five weeks of being tossed.
Sure, they're not as eco-groovy as a rag that can be re-used hundreds of times, but unlike a rag, Skoy Cloths dry within minutes after use, and they don't get stinky or mildewy, which tends to happen when you attempt to dry rags in a small space like an RV.
Just as you take a quickie “shower” with pre-moistened body wipes, you can clean your rig inside and out with waterless cleaners. My favorite is Dri-Wash (http://www.dri-wash.com/), a waterless, biodegradeable cleaner that can be used for everything from washing a rig, to cleaning your greasy stovetop, to removing tough laundry stains. I wouldn't have believed that a waterless cleaner could work so well on so many surfaces, until we parked our rig in a place that didn't allow vehicle washing. The Dri-Wash not only cleaned the rig better than any RV cleaner, it took out the black streaks and stubborn marks that had been on our rig for three years, which I assumed we'd just have to live with.
Dri-Wash comes in a concentrated form that you just add water to, and although it's not cheap, it also lasts forever. So far we've washed our rig once, our truck twice, and cleaned the interiors of both, all on one bottle of concentrate, with more to spare.
Eat More Barbecue
Some may find it hard to believe that eating barbecued food can reduce your water consumption, but it's true. Think about it; unless you're one of those obsessive compulsive types, you don't clean your grill every time you use it, right? Well, barbecues can make an entire meal without a pot, and all you're left with is cleaning up the dining ware. Supplement your carnivore appetite with a side of grilled veggies, and you've done the planet a favor!
Re-use Your Gray Water
Doesn't it seem like a huge waste when you flush your toilet with drinking water? Don't let that resource go to waste; re-use it first! Many RVers have designed grey water systems with an inexpensive simple pump and filer that cycle grey water from the tank and back up through the toilet, so that none of that precious clean water gets wasted. Just Google a phrase like “RV recycle gray water systems” to see what these inventive RVers have done.
Drink More Beer and Take Fewer Showers
Be a water-conservation warrior; drink more beer, take fewer showers and save the planet! Ok, I'm kidding . . . sort of.
These are just a few of the real-life RVing conservation tips we've discovered during our years of living on the road. Share your own experiences, and follow along with us as we embark on more adventures across North America, by visiting us at LiveWorkDream.com.