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I have been travelling in the state of Oregon for the past 3 months. The longest period of time I have stayed in a particular park or campground is one week. I have experienced little to no recycling available, and have been hauling my recycleables with me until I do find a location that accepts such materials as plastic, cans, bottles, etc. If I stay at a facility does not have recycling as an option, I encourage them to start a program, and I have been started to recycle info in my reviews.

Have other RVers found this to be a problem through out the states? Thanks.
Florida Native
When you analysis the amount of fuel we burn and our “carbon footprint” for people who believe in that sort of thing, RVing is really out of the realm of making much difference in recycling. Think about the harm a plastic bottle in a landfill causes compared to hauling around 25,000 pounds getting 7 mpg and it puts it all in perspective.
Hi bumpkinsnana,

We found the same problems you encountered. With the exception of South Carolina State Parks, there seems to be very little recycling going on in campgrounds in the USA. In Canadian Provincial Parks and many privatly owned campgrounds recycling has become the norm. And Lindsay, the plastic bottle you mention is valuable raw material that does not have to be digged or pumped out of the ground. With a well designed recycling program people can actually earn good money! For example, with plastic bottles we can produce polar fleece. We send shiploads full of post-consumer paper to China where it is used in their paper mills, and they send it back to us making a profit. Now if they can make a profit on this even with the transport cost why can't we make a profit right here and employ our people?
I own a park, and from my perspective it is just about impossible for me to offer a recycling program. The nearest recepticles for recycling are 85 miles from my park. A round trip in my pickup truck costs over $50.00. On top of that, we tried recycling aluminum for a season and had to spend many a nasty hour sorting trash from cans (the recycling center allows zero contaminents, if the load has other waste it is rejected and you have to take it to the landfill anyway). If we were close to a recycling center it may be different, but it is not practical in my area. This is another good example of why a feedback area in the reviews would be beneficial. I could explain why we do not offer recycling and it may help another camper make their campground decisions. (this is another current discussion thread on this forum.)
Wow Lindsay,

I have to completely disagree with your viewpoint. Yes, Rvers do leave a much bigger "footprint" than some others, but that is the exact reason why we need to be even more conscientious about recycling. In other words we need to do what we can in other areas of conservation to make up for the fuel we burn. One plastic bottle may not make a big difference compared to getting 7mpg, but they do eventually add up, as do aluminum cans, plastic bags, paper, etc. Today alone we have emptied at least 4 plastic bottles. I don't know if that is our average daily use, but even if not you can see that would still be quite a few bottles over a year's time. Many people already think we shouldn't be driving these huge gas guzzlers around, and I would hate to add to this bad image by not doing our part to recycle.

Finally I can understand the problems a park faces about providing recycling (thanks to westernparkowner), but I would encourage all parks to do this if it is possible.

Hi all,

There is a simple way to find a recycling center. Go to google maps. In the search box enter:

recycling loc: <city>, <state> (type in your location instead of the diamond brackets and press enter).

Here is an example:

recycling loc: minot, nd
Florida Native
I knew when I wrote that it wouldn't be accepted. I have a nephew who works in recycling and understand that a huge percentage of it ends up in the normal landfill. In California, the recycling containers were lined up with so many types, I couldn't figure them out. As RV'ers, we have a huge carbon foot print. I personally think the human induced global warming scare is a big hoax done for money and control, but this isn't the place for that. I used to put my waste oil down the drain and used to not even consider the enviroment. I have made a big turn around as I have gotten older, but I do think there is a large amount of overkill out there. As a Florid Native, I used to catch 100's of fish as a young man and just wasted them. Now the fish are mainly gone. I realize we need to conserve, but I think we sometimes go to unnecessary extremes.
My home town has a recycling program, we aren't required to separate. We just throw all recyclables, plastic, paper, in one container. I love it! As for recycling while RV'ing, I note whether or not the park has a recycling program. If they do, I save and throw in recycle. If not, I don't. I don't like throwing recyclable stuff away, but I also don't like hauling it around.

I like the policy that a lot of state parks are taking..."The No Trace Left Behind" bring it into a park, you take it out. And, it's your responsibility to dispose and recycle what you use.

Hi all,

We recently began a can recylcling program at our park, and it has been successful beyond my expectations. I didn't do it to save the planet, which I do not think is in any danger from the global warming hoax; our air and water is cleaner now than it was in the 1950s and early 60s. I did it to save money. Our trash disposal bill for June and July was $6,830 in 2007 and $6,597 in 2008 with a large volume of our trash consisting of aluminum cans. This is a reduction in 2008 of $233 in spite of the facts that we were busier in 2008 and the trash company raised their rates and instituted a fuel surcharge of 7% of my total bill. Additionally, I was able to sell the cans for about $500, even though from our remote area I had to haul the cans 90 miles to a recycling center. I estimate that our real savings year over year to be about $2000 for the 2 month period. The biggest surprise to me was that our can collection cages scattered throughout the park were not contaminated with other trash as I had expected.

I hope to expand this program in the future, especially if I can find an affordable and speedier way to crush the cans to make the 90 mile trip more worthwhile. Hauling uncrushed cans 90 miles one way will not pay for the gasoline to haul them. I currently crush them by hand, but that is time consuming, hard work, and very inefficient use of labor.

Recycling programs can only work if there is an economic benifit to the businesses involved. Businesses must make a profit to stay in business and keep their employees on the payroll and paying taxes.

As always, thanks for letting me give my 2 cents worth.



Hi Parkview,

Your report really shows what the basis of a successful recycling system is. Many people thinks it's a lot of hassle with no or little gain, but the matter of fact is that you not only save money, you can actually earn money! The small family enterprise in our area that collects garbage for the city was in danger of being pushed out by a big multy-national company, so they had to do something. They devised a process of garbage collection were there are two carbage cans for every household, one standardised big blue of about 300 litres on wheels that could be picked up mechanically and one regular. Anything that can be recycled goes in the big blue box on wheels and is picked up every second week. It is then brought to a sorting facility where they hire people to manually sort the stuff. As this is a very unskilled job it's a perfect place for people with limited potential, and they can still pay above minimum wage. There are multiple advantages. The landfill will last a lot longer before it's full, the company makes money not only from collecting the garbage but also the selling of the recyclables, and the city is happy because it's a lot less expensive.

In essence, make it easy and financially worthwhile and it will work!

The only parks I have seen recycling going on were ones in Nova Scotia Canada. Now this summer where we workamped in MI. the owner had an area set up for people to put in cans and bottles to get refund from them. I was amazed how much other stuff was thrown into this area that wasn't bottles and cans.
We own a park on the Oregon coast and we do recycle. We have tubs in front of the dumpster or for longer stays available tub for your site. We require recycling. It keeps our garbage rates down and we can keep our rates down. We also have a area for returnable cans and bottles that we return to the store to buy ice cream for our monthly ice cream socials. The recycle guy says we recycle at the park (47 sites) more than the whole town. Not sure if that is true. Also I am sure the state parks in Oregon recycle.
QUOTE(pog @ Oct 2 2008, 12:29 PM) *

We own a park on the Oregon coast and we do recycle... Also I am sure the state parks in Oregon recycle.

Speaking of Oregon coast RV parks...we've seen/used recycling collection bins at Winchester Bay, Newport, Tillamook and Astoria this summer.
The large (1000 site) RV park we overwintered last year in California was also great with recycling.
If you don't see a container at a park, ask at the office...helps reinforce that "Joe sixpack" is interested in doing the right thing. rolleyes.gif
Some Ohio State Parks have trash cans labled for recyclables, and Cherry Hill Park in College Park, MD has recycle bins by the garbage cans.

In the case of Cherry Hill Park, which is huge, it probably isn't much extra cost to them to get recycling service with their regular garbage collection.

The point of my response being that recycling in RV parks does exist. It just isn't wide spread.

QUOTE(bumpkinsnana @ Sep 14 2008, 05:27 PM) *

I have been travelling in the state of Oregon for the past 3 months. The longest period of time I have stayed in a particular park or campground is one week. I have experienced little to no recycling available, and have been hauling my recycleables with me until I do find a location that accepts such materials as plastic, cans, bottles, etc. If I stay at a facility does not have recycling as an option, I encourage them to start a program, and I have been started to recycle info in my reviews.

Have other RVers found this to be a problem through out the states? Thanks.

I'm REALLY surprised your statement about Oregon. I hosted in the state parks there for three years and ALL of them had recycling bins. I know as one of my duties in one of the parks was to separate the glass and plastic bottles by brand. They had separate containers for paper and aluminum cans. You don't mention whether you stayed at a private park or state park so that may make a difference.
I work camped in a U.S. public park that didn't have seperate trash cans for recycled aluminum cans. When I made a suggestion about converting a few of the existing trash bins for that purpose - which would have cost them nothing - I was told that they didn't want to seperate the cans from trash that was occasionally dumped in with them. Now if the government wants to get serious about "Green" then they can start in their own back yard.

Since it was part of my job to empty trash cans each day, I recycled the alumimum cans and kept the money.

The old cliche about throwing away money certainly applies when one doesn't recycle.
I was surprised about the ORegon comment, too. Practically all ORegon parks I have stayed in have recycling.

John Blue
Here in Tampa we recycle everything County wide. Each week truck rolls up and takes everything, we have very little trash in our can due to this. We have a large burn plant that burns all the stuff that can not be recycled. They remove anything that can be used before burning. Only item to come out of plant is AC power to sell back to power company, heat, no smoke, and small amounts of ash that goes to land fill. Been on this system for years now and it works.

County also takes all lawn and tree stuff. They sell this as a fuel to heat up other steam plants and make more AC power. They take anything that can be used in some way like steel, wood, old junk that will burn, cement, engine oil, coolant, batteries, old ranges, LP gas tanks, tires, paints, and on and on. It works very well here and saved everyone money.

We find only small number of parks in USA that recycle anything.
Most Missouri state parks recycle
Jerry S
This is one of those topics that, when it started last summer during my traveling season, I decided to hold off on posting my thoughts until winter. I had hoped to see more posts and opinions before I chimed in with my views.

Although I have covered all areas of the country over the years, I have limited my trips to the middle and northwestern parts of the country the past 3 years and the northeast the 2 years before that. I only mention this to let you know that my most recent experience with park recycling is only about half the country. It is possible that areas I have not been to in more than a few years have improved their recycling. That said, the vast majority of RV parks I have stayed at have little or no recycling. By "little", I mean the park may have one bin for one certain type of recyclable material. The most common single item is aluminum cans. I only occasionally see bins for paper, glass, or plastic. I can remember only one park (Eagle Nest(?) in Polson, ID last summer) had bins for paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum cans. It was recycle heaven! Even though the bins were conveniently located at the park's entrance, I still wonder how many park customers took advantage of the fine service.

While I appreciate and accept Westernpark's economic reason for not recycling, I think his situation is the exception in today's world. As for the other "anti" recycling views, they seem to fall into two general categories: (1) It's a waste (pun intended) of time and (2) What's in it for me?

1. I shouldn't be surprised that there are still people who think global warming is a hoax - the Flat Earth Society still exists. Why should we believe 90+% of the world's scientists are concerned when most of the opposing "scientists" are funded by the likes of the fossil fuel industry? On the bright side, there are a surprising number of opponents (including many of your leaders) who have recently become much less diametrically against recycling and the idea that there is a global warming problem. By the way, I do question the statement that global temperatures have not risen in the past 10 years. Every study I have seen would seem to disagree. As for the statement that most of the stuff we attempt to recycle still ends up in landfills, I had also heard that years ago. The problem back then was twofold: intitial programs were not well thought out and, as mentioned in other posts, there was a lot of contamination. Both these problems still exist to some extent, but there has been vaste improvement through better planning and education of the public. The average 8 year old in my neighborhood can figure out what goes in those different bins at the recycling center. It is almost sad that an adult won't make the effort to learn how to recycle.

2. What is even sadder it that any individual (not a business like an RV park) would not recycle unless they have something to gain (usually money). I guess my parents raised me wrong - I thought you were supposed to do something because it was the right thing to do - not for a reward (money). I guess if your mindset is that the people concerned about global warming are after "money and power", you must believe that the only possible incentive anyone can have is "what do I get out of it?". Evidently, I am the real "schmuck" in this instance. I not only put some time and effort into recycling but even spend money to do so - we have to buy special "blue" bags for our recyclables.

What I do may not make a difference, but I am at least trying.
QUOTE(Jerry S. @ Feb 16 2009, 11:57 PM) *

What I do may not make a difference, but I am at least trying.

A story that warms my heart.


It Made a Difference to That One
By Richard J. Bauman

Last edited: Sunday, January 25, 2004
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2002

Think the little things you do don't make a difference? This article will help change your mind.

Two men were walking toward each other on an otherwise deserted beach. One man was in his early 20s, the other obviously much older. The smooth damp sand was littered with starfish, washed onto the land during high tide. They were stranded there when the tide ebbed. Thousands of starfish were doomed to die in the warm morning sun. The younger man watched the older man pick up starfish one at a time and toss them back into the ocean, giving them a chance to survive. The young man thought, “Why is he doing that? How foolish. He can’t save them all.” As they came near one another, the younger one felt compelled to point out to the older man the futility in his action. “You know,” he said, “you can’t save them all. Most of them will die here on the sand. What you are doing really won’t make any difference.” The older man studied the young man for a moment. Then he bent down, picked up a starfish and tossed it into the water. He smiled at the young man and said, “It made a difference to that one.” Then he walked on, picking up starfish and tossing them back into the sea.
That was cool JJ ! Thanks !
Cheers cool.gif
sunbelt cupcake
Yes, sadly we have run across this probably in many parks in the state of Florida at KOA's and a escambia county run park. I wish all parks recycled
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