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Green Road Trip

My family and I just returned from our summer vacation.  It involved a thirteen hour car ride from Virginia to Indiana. We've taken road trips in the past, and as I work to green my routine, I realized my efforts should extend to what happens after we pile into our car. I'm happy with the adjustments I made, and feel we left less of a mark on nature as we made our trek!

We started off by scrutinizing our route. We settled on two options: One had a quicker arrival time and higher speeds, the other fewer miles and lower speeds.  The difference wasn't substantial, but it did make me think about what was more important: less time in the car or using less gas? My husband and I chose the route with the lower carbon footprint -- a major concession when you are traveling with a 3-year-old.

The second change I made is one that has stuck even after the road trip -- I added a container to collect the recyclables we used while we were in the car. I've always had a car trash can, but never thought to collect the recyclables separately. It's made disposal much easier.

Finally, I spent quite a bit of time at home preparing snacks and meals to enjoy along the way.  This change offered several advantages -- it mean we ate healthier on the trip, and it produced less trash. I packed everything in reusable containers, so the only waste produced were the napkins (I recommend using 100% recycled paper towels from Seventh Generation).  While the food preparation took longer than stopping for fast food, the effort was well worth it. 

What tips do you have for saving resources on car trips?

photo: lautsu