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Road Trips Minus the Waste

By Kim Robson:

We at Green Mom are already extra conscious about recycling, reusing and upcycling instead of throwing trash away and into the landfill. We’ve arranged our lives so that recycling is simple and easy in our homes and offices. But on a road trip, especially with kids, our resolve to follow zero waste lifestyles becomes a real challenge. Below are a few ideas for less waste or zero waste road trips that are useful for you while also being kind to the environment.

Plan the Food Ahead

Prepare healthy snacks that can sit at room temperature. Trail mix, apples or Cuties, granola bars, fruit skin, nuts, turkey jerky, string cheese, baby carrots or dried fruit are all good options. Stow it all in washable, reusable Tupperware or my favorite go-to, classy looking tiffins. Finally, don’t buy bottled water or get coffee in disposable paper cups — bring along a stainless steel water bottle instead. They come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, colors and designs, as do reusable coffee cups; in  fact, they make great gifts!

Traveling with infants or tots? Washable, reusable baby food pouches can be washed, disinfected and reused multiple times. The plastic pouches can be filled with pureed food or juice repeatedly and washed by hand with running water or in the dishwasher.

Want to bring along something other than finger food? Try this recipe for a delicious, hearty and healthy salad that keeps beautifully for hours at room temperature: Barley and Kale Salad with Golden Beets and Feta. It also makes an excellent alternative airplane meal. Make it the night before and the flavors will improve overnight, plus the sturdy kale won’t wilt. Keep it chilled until you depart

A Place for Everything, and Everything in Its Place

Keep two bags in the back seat: one for garbage, and one for recyclable cans or bottles. A canvas tote bag, which can be hung from the back of a headrest, is good for corralling food containers that are either full or that are ready to be washed.

These hanging toiletry bags are designed for travel, but there’s no reason why you can’t use them to stow toys, games, and snacks.

Look for Recycling Bins

Recycling collection bins are just about everywhere. Most major grocery stores have full service recycling programs on-site in their parking lots. Most gas stations also provide side by side trash and recycling bins. And finally, Starbucks has bins for recycling any paper cup.

Going camping? Most state and national park campgrounds offer recycling bins for the use of their overnight guests and the day-tripping public alike. You can also use a smart phone to Google “public recycling bin locations [city or area name]” to find options literally anywhere you might be traveling.

About Kim Robson

Kim Robson lives and works with her husband in the Cuyamaca Mountains an hour east of San Diego. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, cooking, and animals. She has written a blog since 2006 at kimkiminy.wordpress.com. Her interests include the environment, dark skies, astronomy and physics, geology and rock collecting, living simply and cleanly, wilderness and wildlife conservation, and eating locally.

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