Manage the Mess with Camper Van Trash, Recycling & Compost Bins
Organization is crucial for being comfortable in a van, and any Vanlifer doing their own build typically spends a lot of time considering where they’ll put their belongings.
From clothing and gear storage to pantry organization, using your space effectively is the key to vanlife success.
Creative solutions for bikes and spices are commonly well-planned, but there aren’t a ton of Instagram-worthy posts about Campervan trash, recycling & compost bins.
We believe they’re very useful campervan gadgets, so here’s a whole post about them.
Dreaming up the perfect van layout for bikes and snowboards tends to be much more exciting than the thought of van garbage cans, recycling bins, and composting, but it is just as important.
This is one area of organization that is often overlooked during the planning stages.
Many campervan travelers are surprised that they generate as much trash on the road as they do at home, so having an organized system for waste is the best way to avoid hanging out with your stinky trash.
Campervan Garbage Bins
The first area to consider is your garbage bin. As long as your recycling and composting are organized, you can manage to keep just a small bin for garbage.
There are a few things you’ll want to consider though when choosing the perfect van garbage can.
The most important feature is an airtight seal. Garbage bins can generate foul odors and bacteria, especially in warm climates if your van isn’t temperature controlled.
There is nothing worse than returning to the campervan after an adventure and being welcomed home by the fumes from your garbage.
While a tiny garbage bin is ideal for taking up less space, keep in mind that it will require more frequent emptying.
There are hidden advantages here: Small garbage bags can easily be disposed of in any public garbage can (gas stations, rest stops, outside of the gym, etc.) so you won’t have to track down a dumpster.
Also, you’ll be more likely to empty it more often and that will help minimize odors and overflow.
This is one reason our Top Pick for Campervan Garbage Bins is only 2 gallons.
Recycling Bins for Campervans
When choosing a campervan recycle bin, it’s important to note that your recycling will tend to take up more space than your trash will.
It can also be more challenging to find a place to empty your recycling, so a larger size bin may be helpful.
In order to make the most of your recycling space, always be sure to mash, crush, or fold items when possible.
Getting rid of your recyclables isn’t as easy as dumping your trash, but many towns have free recycling centers which can typically be located with a quick google search.
Some parts of the country are better for this than others, and if you happen to be passing near a college or university, that’s often a good place to check.
Grocery stores sometimes have recycling bins, as do many National Parks.
Compost Bins for Camper Vans
Believe it or not, composting can be done on the road as well and will help cut down on the amount of trash you accumulate.
When picking a compost bin, be sure to choose one with an airtight seal or a good filter to control odors and bacteria.
A compost bag can help keep the pail clean but will add an expense. The size of your compost bin you need will depend on your eating habits.
The amount that you cook and how much fresh food you eat will affect how much compostable material you accumulate, but most people can manage with a small bin.
Similar to recycling, compost can be challenging to dump and may require some extra planning. A great resource for tracking down a composting location is Find a Composter.
Our Top Picks for Campervan Trash, Recycling & Compost Bins
Thanks for reading!
Campervan trash, recycling & compost bins are definitely not the most glamorous side to campervan dwelling.
But as campervan storage ideas go, it’s a crucial topic and necessary to think about in order to avoid snuggling up next to your trash at night or smelling your garbage from up on the trail.
A clean and well organized camper van is a happy van!
How do you keep trash, recycling and compost organized in your van? Please comment below.
From Vansage.com writer Jenny Leveille
Jenny has been traveling on the road full-time with her dog, Dakota, since September 2018.
She lives in her self-converted 2006 Dodge Sprinter and spends her days hiking, camping, mountain biking, and writing about her adventures.
She’s attempting to visit all 50 states and see all the National Parks.
You can read about her adventures on her site, here.