Thursday, September 21, 2023


Quick tip to keep recyclables and compostables organized in the RV

Most campgrounds have recycling containers where you are hopefully putting your recyclables! The county park we are at right now has an organic collection too. I have found simple and inexpensive ways to corral our recycling and organics and keep them organized. Here’s what I do…


I bought a collapsible laundry basket at the dollar store – yup, $1 – and it has lasted five years so far. It easily holds recyclable plastic bags supplied by the park or paper grocery bags. The recycling no longer tips over and the basket folds flat for storage and travel.

Plastic recyclable bags

Laundry basket folds flat


Some parks also encourage organic recycling. They gave us large organic bags when we came in and I found that if I fill them with organic recycling – food scraps, peels, bones, apple cores, watermelon rinds – not only did they start to smell but the bags started to break down. Neither are good, particularly when the week of odiferous leftovers break through the bag onto the floor. I bought a much smaller collapsible bucket and take the organics to the recycling bin sooner.

Collapsible fabric container

Organic recycle bags

Folds flat

I am so surprised how quickly our garbage can fills up and how many garbage bags we go through when recycling is not available. We recycle what we can and will hold it if possible until the next recycling stop on our way.


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Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


  1. We tried to recycle in our small RV, but there’s just no room for another waste container. We don’t even have pantry space in our rig, and the litter box takes up the shower. We had to bite the bullet and give up, knowing that a large percentage of recycled garbage ends up in the landfill anyway. Also, for many materials, recycling consumes more resources than the original manufacturing. My husband used to work in the environmental arena, so we know. We’ll continue recycling at home, but not on our little trips.

  2. Just the opposite, I have rarely stayed in a RV park that had recycling. If it is a 2 or 3 day trip, then I bring it back home and recycle at home. Longer than that, if there is no recycle center close by, then it goes in the trash.

  3. I, also, use a collapsible laundry basket for our recycles. The other problem was where to put it. We have it in the shower. Easily moved for the shower times.

  4. On wet and smelly stuff like used coffee filters, onion skins, etc we went old school and use a empty 2 pound coffee can with a snap lid. We put a plastic bag liner in it and as we fill it snap the lid on to keep the smell in as it can be 4 or 5 days before we empty it.

    • NPR had a similar article a few years back. Their summary was that paper and metal recycling was practical, plastic and glass was not, and that Americans (as a whole) are particularly bad at it. Every greasy pizza box in the cardboard or paper bin means the whole lot goes into the landfill. When I use the campground recycling bin, I see all the metal cans bundled in plastic bags right under the sign that says, “no plastic bags.” After over 100 years of recycling in America (first aluminum recycling plant opened in 1904), I don’t know what the answer is.


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