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Go Green! How to be more environmentally conscious as a #vanlifer

Whether you’ve been part of vanlife for years, or just starting to experience it, here’s a few ways you can start living sustainably while on the road!

By Esteban Ramirez

May 28th, 2021


Being part of the vanlife community means you’re already accustomed to living minimally on the road, since you have to be able to pack everything into a van. This growing community of explorers are constantly outdoors. A goal all vanlifers should have is to reduce the impact they create on the environment. Others should be able to have the same experiences as you, but the areas need to be maintained so they can continue to happen! Let’s take care of our planet, and move consciously, and sustainably through our environment. 

Buy Local!

Shop Local

Shopping in the areas you’re exploring directly boosts the local economy, especially in regions that are full of Mom & Pop shops! You’re already more conscious about purchases, take the next and support the neighborhood. Supporting local businesses as a traveler also allows you to familiarize yourself with the community. Plus, vanlifers can’t really do any online shopping, so buying local reduces its’ product miles (the number of miles a product travels from manufacturer completion to its final destination).

Reusable Items & Upcycling

Reusable Jars

Getting rid of one-use items and replacing them with reusable ones is a giant step towards sustainable living. That alone reduces a huge amount of waste, and saves money! Keep the ball rolling through buying used items when convenient as well. Instead of throwing away empty containers, consider upcycling them. Repurpose empty containers, or just about anything that’s possible to be reused in another form.  

Waste Reduction & Disposal


Really minimizing the amount of waste you produce on the road is a goal all vanlifers should have in mind. Preparing and making plans about what you’re taking (especially food wise) will help significantly. By the way, just mentioning this again because we can not stress it enough, get rid of those one-use items!! Give your waste some breathing room by having reusable items instead. Gas & propane tanks for example that are easily refillable are way better than having to buy a bunch of brand new ones. Don’t forget to still separate your garbage as well! Have a recycling bin and garbage bin on hand, and if you’re able to a compost one. 

Live s l o w l y 

Orange Van

Transportation accounts for 28% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Vans typically produce more greenhouse gas emissions per mile compared to regular cars. Be conscious of how often you’re switching destinations. You’ll get the chance to really soak in the environment, and you won’t have a lingering feeling about being time constrained. Live in the moment, since the less you move, less emissions will pollute the air. Also, maximize fuel efficiency as often as possible even if it’s just simply driving a bit slower. 

Water Conservation

Washing fork

This is a super important one for longer trips, if you’re setup somewhere far from a water source, but mostly because we should be using our water supply wisely! The size of your tank is already a huge limitation as to how much water you’ll have. Be smart when it comes to how you use it: running the water only when necessary, shorter showers, and capturing unused water are just a starting point for what you can do. Ultimately, reducing the amount of times you have to fill up your tank is where you’ll see the difference. 

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