Full time ‘Vanlife’ (truck life in our case!) can be an exceptionally Eco-Friendly Lifestyle, if done mindfully.
Before we start, it’s worth saying that the carbon emissions of living on the road should be assessed case by case. While some people travel with others, use solar power, compost their 💩 and never litter, others will engage in far fewer sustainable practices.
Like most activities, this lifestyle can be sustainable if done with consideration of our natural environment.
Here are a few ways we personally reduce our environmental impact.
We run on solar! Meaning that the sun powers our lights, fridge freezer and charges laptops and phones etc. We have 24v system, 230ah AGM deep cell batteries, with 900w of solar panels and a 3000w inverter.
Heating wise we generally travel in warmer countries but on those chilly evenings we put more layers on, snuggle under blankets, use a hot water bottle and if needed, pop the diesel heater on for 5 minutes by which point we’re thoroughly roasted, only needed to do this twice in 6 months.
Back up power we do have a petrol generator, used once so far before we upgraded our electrical system to a more efficient set up. If there is no solar for a few days we will take a drive and complete some errands which gives us the boost we need via a DC to DC charger.
According to Water UK, 46% of people believe their household only uses under 20 litres of water a day when, in reality, the average person uses around 142 litres. That means a family of four will use around 500 litres of water every single day!
Here are a few ways we reduce our water usage:
No flushing required! We have the airhead and we LOVE it.
Efficient showering (on, off, suds up, on again, off again)
We did an experiment and we actually don’t fill our 20L waste water tank when we both shower, which, is about every third day, unless we go for a run or something, which we line up with shower day!
Being mindful of where our next laundrette or dry cleaner might be means we wear our clothes a little longer, we do a LOT less laundry than we used to in our house, which was every day.
We reuse our water when we cook, we might boil some broccoli then scoop out the good green stuff and do our pasta in the same water, as an example, or when we make rice we double the quantity and have leftovers in some soup the next day. No waste!
Mileage / diesel
We’re aware that we drive what a lot of people consider a big old ‘gas guzzler’ however, if you ever got stuck behind us in traffic you’ll know just how slowly we go, and not just up hill!!
We’re currently getting 19 MPG (yes, that’s correct, we have a spreadsheet!) which many modern cars don’t get!
We don’t commute to and from work any more and we park for a couple or a few days at a time, we live more slowly in every way.
We don’t fly anywhere on holiday.
We also adopt the usual fuel saving ‘hacks’ such as keeping our truck maintained and healthy, appropriate tyre pressure and planning our routes ahead of time etc etc.
Minimalism & zero waste
It is well documented that rising levels of consumption, alongside population growth have also been linked to deforestation, biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and pollution etc etc.
By living as we do, we don’t have any space for stuff! We don’t have a storage unit back in the UK or anything like that, we literally sold what we could and gave away the rest.
If we need something, we discuss it and we have a ‘one in one out’ rule, we need a new coat it’s because we need to throw another one out. We don’t want to part with a pair of trainers? We don’t need a new pair.
We have a plant based diet, which for us means absolutely no meat and very rarely any dairy either.
‘Every step of the production process for animal products like beef and dairy generates greenhouse gases: from the clearing of forests to make way for animal pasture, to the production of millions of tons of animal feed, to the immense waste generated by cows, pigs, chickens, and other farm animals and then there’s getting it from wherever it was ‘processed’ to your plate.’ – the human league
Leave only footprints
Wherever we go we have a policy of leaving a place better than you found it and if there is litter, we pick some up! As much of it as we can carry in fact. See our buymeacoffee page for all of our beach cleans.
As we said at the start, the carbon emissions of living on the road should be assessed case by case. Also it should be stated that we aren’t throwing shade in anyone’s direction – you do you!
We just want to have our defense ready before we start shouting about the environment…
With love, always
Kerry & Craig