How to Recycle on a Road Trip


Prioritizing recycling can be a simple way to embrace sustainability in your travels, especially on a road trip. But even as more and more places make recycling easy, recycling bins still aren’t as plentiful as trash cans. Depending on the availability of recycling services in places you pass through, there might be some challenges to overcome. Here are a few ideas to help you recycle on your next road trip.

Reduce Your Use to Begin With

One of the most significant changes you can make is to avoid generating waste that needs to be recycled in the first place. Pack your reusable water bottle and coffee mug, and bring along utensils too. Having a container for restaurant leftovers can let you skip plastic and styrofoam take-out containers, and a reusable tote bag serves as a swap for plastic grocery sacks.

Hotels switching to refillable soap and shampoo dispensers, instead of using mini single-use toiletries, can help cut down on waste too. Look for accommodations that prioritize reducing waste, and support them with your business.

Keep Recyclables Separate

Resist the temptation to chuck everything into one garbage bag in the car. If you keep your recycling organized in its own bag—even separating out metal from plastic and paper—you can keep the car tidy and make it easier on yourself. That way, when you spot a recycling spot, all you have to do is dump that bag and go. You don’t have to take the time to separate it out, or worse, dig around on the car floor and under seats to snag runaway recyclables.

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Seek Out Local Resources

Not all recycling programs are created equal, and so you may notice differences as you move from one community to the next. Just a little bit of Googling can give you an idea of where to find a convenient recycling center or drop-off that’s on the way. In Montana, Recycle Montana has a statewide list of recycling locations for different items. But there are some rules of thumb that you can go by in other parts of the country too. Here are a few good go-tos to check out.

Container Sites

Many communities have green box sites with recycling services, at least for cardboard and maybe plastics or metal. It’s easy enough to pull in as you pass by, and ditch your cans and plastics before you move on down the road.

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National Parks

National Parks tend to have robust recycling programs, so pulling into a campground or picnic area while you’re exploring could grant you access to glass, paper, plastic and can recycling spots.


At certain supermarkets, you might find recycling services. Some Albertson locations in Montana even offer plastic bag recycling, too.

Hotel Recycling Programs

When you pick your accommodation, you vote with your dollar for increased access to sustainable options. All Highline Adventures properties have an in-house recycling program, making it easy to cut down on your landfill waste while you travel. In hotels, 50-60% of the total waste produced is recyclable, including food, office paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles. Highline Adventures strives to cut back on waste and increase recycling efforts across the board.

Make your sustainable road trip a little greener when you book your stay at a Highline Adventures property!