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Recycling on the Road – Where to Find Recycling Centers While You Travel

When you are traveling by RV, you still may want to be earth-friendly and take responsibility for your environment. Each of us has a shared responsibility to make sure that we don’t put undue stresses on the environment. We have some suggestions from experienced RV campers about how to recycle on the road.



It’s not always easy to find places to recycle while living and traveling in an RV. Sometimes when you’re in a new area, Googling the name of the town and the word “Recycling” doesn’t provide any results. Here are some tips to help you find recycling centers and help you stay eco-conscious in any part of the country.


  1. As a first step, ask your campsite manager or the campground owners, as they will likely know where the closest recycling center is.

  2. If they don’t know, Google the name of your town/city to see what county it’s in.

  3. Then search for that county’s website.

  4. On the county’s website, look for any links about waste management if recycling doesn’t specifically show up.

  5. If you’re still not finding anything, look on the county’s website if there’s a phone number for a transfer station.

  6. Sometimes recycling isn’t handled by the county, but the municipality. In that case, look for recycling information on the city’s website instead of the county’s website.

  7. If that doesn’t work, you could call and ask the visitor center because they are usually a wealth of information.

  8. If the city doesn’t have a dedicated visitor center, try contacting the Chamber of Commerce.

  9. If you cannot reach the Chamber of Commerce, just ask some local establishments such as a local grocery store or the library. The landfill is also a good place to contact even though recycling isn’t always handled at the landfill. But they may be under the same management and able to provide a phone number.

  10.  And, because you want others to know this information too, it is a good idea to let the campsite manager know so they can post the information for other responsible campers.


Let’s say you are out boondocking or away from a municipality. One idea is to keep a blue bin or similar type of container in your RV for when you next are able to find a recycling center. 


Here are several other places where you can recycle: 

  • Grocery stores: They usually have a recycling bin for plastic bags.

  • Target: Most Target stores have a recycling bin for plastic bags and some have additional recycling bins for plastic, paper, and glass.

  • Lowes: There are always several recycling bins at the entrance accepting plastic bags, batteries, light bulbs, and cell phones.

  • National parks: A lot of national parks have recycling bins next to trash cans. Larger national parks seem to have a dedicated recycling area that accepts more types of recyclables.

  • Independent shipping stores: These stores are great places to recycle air pillows and bubble wrap that come in packages. FedEx and UPS stores are restricted to use certain types of air pillows and bubble wrap and generally won’t accept what you bring in.

  • Ikea: Ikea stores have a variety of recycling bins.


With these tips, you can keep recycling even though you’re traveling from town to town.


And, as long as you have access to the Internet, these websites can be helpful in finding recycling centers:


  1. Recycle Finder: Try this one if you’re near any major cities and urban areas.

  2. I Want To Be Recycled: This site is better for recycling in smaller towns.

  3. A Bag’s Life: This website lists places that recycle plastic bags.


Some tips for recycling on the road:


1: Plan It for the Planet 

Do some quick research on the venue to find out what plastics and other recycling is available on site.


2: Carry In, Carry Out

Implement the old Boy Scout adage: leave no trace. Bring only what you can properly recycle or dispose of on site (or see Bag it below).


3: Pick Your Bottles Carefully

Keep in mind that when recycling, a plastic bottle is any container with a neck or an opening that’s smaller than its base. That includes:

  • Milk jugs

  • Beverage bottles (e.g., water, soft drinks, juice)

  • Bottles from shampoo, toiletries, laundry detergent

  • Salad dressing, cooking oil, condiment bottles

  • Food jars such as peanut butter and mayonnaise (if they fit bottle description above)

4: Remember to Rinse

Make sure recyclables are fairly clean before tossing them in the bin—if not, rinse them out.


5: Keep Your Top On

This is sort of new—put plastic caps back on bottles and lids on containers because now recyclers want those, too. And maybe even squeeze out the air from the bottles to save space.


6: Just Bag It

Bring along several used plastic shopping bags (or store bought bags) for laundry, recycling and waste. And if they remain clean, RECYCLE THEM along with other plastic film/wraps at your participating local grocery store (check near the front entrance or checkout for recycling bins). 


And, have you ever wondered what recycling has to do with building roads? 


Highways are often a darkish-colored feature of our landscape, something not very “clean” when you first look at them, and have a history until not so long ago of being made of materials based exclusively on oil derivatives. So it‘s hardly surprising that popular culture doesn’t consider them something green and clean. But many newly-built, modern roads now use recycled materials from various sources, which means that not only can savings be made in the materials used, but also that the amount of waste in landfills is reduced. And in addition to this, recycled materials make for better roads.


We cannot imagine what the world would be like without a road network along which we can drive freely. However, the fact that we need roads for travelling should not come at the expense of the planet, and fortunately, recycling goes hand in hand with ways to minimize road building’s impact. 


It is becoming quite normal to find building regulations published in the State Gazette with specific requirements on the use of recycled materials and the conditions under which they must be used to meet quality and regulatory standards.


As a reminder, when you are getting ready to hit the road and treat our environment responsibly, first check with your nearest El Monte RV dealer, who can help you with any questions you may have. Please check out our one-way special offers at El Monte RV.

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