Skip to main content

Suitcases packed? Check!

Hotel reservations confirmed? Check!

Family super excited about going on a road trip? Check and check!

Car and home prepped and ready to go? Umm…

With a lot of overseas destinations still off-limits and so many beautiful cities, towns and parks to explore here at home, the classic road trip seems to be the vacation of choice for many Angelenos this summer. And whether you’re planning a quick weekend camping trip or a cross-country journey to visit our national parks, these tips can make your time off both memorable and eco-friendly:  

Ready Your Ride

You definitely want to make sure that your car is ready for the trip ahead, so whether you’re preparing your vehicle by taking it into the shop or doing it yourself at home, keep these tips in mind to make your trip as eco-friendly as possible:

  • If you’re changing your own oil, drop off used motor oil at any of the 650-plus gas stations, auto parts stores and repair shops that collect and recycle used motor oil in L.A. County. Make sure to store your used motor oil in a sealed container completely free of leaks, and check CalRecycle or visit LA Sanitation’s SAFE Centers webpage to find a used oil recycling collection center closest to you. 
  • Don’t forget to recycle that oil filter! Filters store more than 10 ounces of hazardous oil—even after they’re drained—so they should never be tossed in the trash. Place filters in a sealed plastic bag and call your collection center before you go to make sure they accept them.
  • Check your car for leaks and fix them before your road trip. Remember! Leaking automotive fluids drip onto streets and once it rains, those pollutants are picked up by the rainwater and carried straight to the ocean. Automotive fluids reaching the oceans can have negative effects on local wildlife, so stop the spill before it happens.


Stash (or Bash) Your Trash


We’ve all been on a road trip where we arrive at our destination only to spend the next 30 minutes cleaning trash out of our car. Not exactly how anyone wants to start their summer vacation, right? Read on for some eco tips on how to stash (or bash) your trash:


  • Put a trash bag in your car to stash the trash that is inevitably generated when you’re on the road. This will keep your car clean and also give you the chance to do the right thing and pick up trash anywhere you go (especially in our beautiful national parks).
  • Plan ahead and bring snacks and meals in reusable containers. Not only will this bash the trash that comes with gas station snacks and fast food meals but it may reduce your stops along the road and help get you to relaxing by the pool sooner. 
  • Take a few reusable canvas bags with you. You’ll be glad you tucked these into your suitcase when you’re shopping for groceries or souvenirs.
  • Don’t forget about your furry family member! If your four-legged friend is joining you on your road trip, be sure and pack dog waste bags along with their leash and portable water/food bowl.


Your Home Deserves a Vacay, Too!


There’s no reason why your home can’t enjoy its own eco-friendly vacation. Follow these tips to give your home some time off as well:


  • Place lights on timers. There’s no need to have lights on 24/7 when you’re away. By placing a few lights on timers, you’ll create the illusion of having someone at home and save money on your electrical bill.
  • Slay your home power vampires while you’re away. The term “vampire power” comes from electrical devices that continue to use power even after they’re turned off (think coffee makers, phone chargers and video game consoles). By unplugging them completely when you’re on vacation, you’ll stop the slow leak of power, conserve energy and save money. 
  • Check for water leaks. Before hopping into the car, make one last check of your home indoor faucets and outside spigots to make sure none of them are dripping. A fast-dripping faucet can waste up to 11 gallons of water a day, and with California facing another drought, we need to conserve every drop. 


So, pack your bags and set your car’s GPS to “explore” and on your eco-friendly road trip. You’ll cruise our country’s open roads with the confidence and assurance that by following these tips and creating an eco-friendly vacation, you’re making memories and doing your part to build a sustainable future for your family. 

Any questions about getting ready for a summer road trip? Any eco-tips or tricks that you’d like to share? Feel free to contact us at lastormwater@lacity.org.

Comments has been closed for this post.