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4 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: Road Trip Edition

It’s easy to think green while you’re at home. But when you’re on the road and on vacation, it’s an entirely different story. If you’re planning a summer road trip use these four simple tips to reduce your carbon footprint.

Packed for road trip
Photo courtesy Deposit Photos.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We’ve all heard the phrase reduce, reuse, recycle, but how many of us actually practice this eco-conscious motto? According to The Water Project, the bottles that are used to package water take more than 100,000 years to naturally biodegrade and , if incinerated they release toxic fumes. Valley Water estimates that more than 80 percent of the bottles used in the U.S. become litter. Shockingly, it takes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil to satisfy the demand for bottle manufacturing in the United States, according to the Sun Times. The truth is…bottled water is wasteful.

On your next road trip, instead of buying a case of bottled water, bring along a reusable bottle instead. From insulated metal styles and plastic varieties to compact bottles and sippy-cup styles for kids, there’s a water bottle available to fit your lifestyle. REI offers a selection of water bottles both online and in store. Make it a habit to carry your bottle to work, school and on errands, not just on your road trip.

Drive on Eco-Friendly Tires

Tires aren’t known as the most eco-friendly product on the market today, but one tire manufacturer is trying to change that. Continental Tires has launched a new type of tire, called ProContact ECOPlus, that are more eco-friendly than other traditional tires. Additionally, Continental Tires support a zero landfill policy, meaning that 100 percent of the company's waste is either recycled or reused in some way. If you’re in need of a new set of tires, or if you’d simply like to support a company that supports the environment, check out TireBuyer.com and browse their selection of Continental Tires to find the right tires for your next road trip and beyond.

Store Your Gear in the Right Place

Roadtrippers setting off on an adventure with bikes and lots of camping gear in tow can consider storing their items on a hitch-mounted cargo rack rather than a roof rack. According to Carbon Offsets to Alleviate Poverty (COTAP), hitch cargo racks are more efficient than rooftop styles that create drag. Additionally, storing your gear on the back of your vehicle increases your fuel economy and doesn’t create a drag while driving. The Swedish cargo manufacturer, Thule, offers hitch-mounted bike carriers that are easy to install and use. The durable racks mount to your vehicle’s receiver hitch, so there’s no base rack required for transport. Thule offers multiple options to carry from just one or up to five bikes.

Plan Ahead & Skip Traffic

Planning your road trip ahead of time with an app like Roadtrippers can help you avoid wasting time in traffic. COTAP reports that sitting in traffic creates CO2 and wastes gas. If you live in a populated city with a lot of traffic, try not to leave during peak travel times, that way you can avoid traffic chaos. The Roadtrippers app also lets users plan stops along the way while calculating fuel costs and time spent in the car. The Roadtrippers app is currently available via Apple’s App Store and it’s also available for Android devices from Google Play.


Lauren Topor is a lifestyle writer based in the Southwest who spends her days writing about food and health, fashion, fitness and entertainment.