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Vanlife- 5 simple methods to cope with waste & water on the street


One of many hardest issues about wild parking or staying off-grid with a motorhome or campervan is understanding how you can discover recent, secure ingesting water and applicable gray and black waste disposal factors while you’re on the street, particularly within the UK which is so much more durable than motorhoming in Europe.

Nonetheless, don’t let the confusion put you off. There are many choices for motorhomes and campervans to securely eliminate waste and get water- which we’re going to share with you right here.

Don’t neglect to seize your free motorhome wild tenting guidelines right here that can assist you arrange your van to remain in a single day with out electrical energy or services.

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Motorhome waste and discovering water – what’s the massive deal?

If you happen to do all of your motorhoming on campsites, this would possibly look like a silly query. In any case- it’s simple… you simply join your hose to the faucet on the campsite, and empty your gray tank and bathroom cassette into the suitable areas.

And also you’re not incorrect. However…

My guess is most individuals involved about discovering water and waste disposal while in a motorhome or campervan aren’t planning on staying on campsites- or a minimum of not ones with services. Actually, there’s a superb probability that you just’re planning on staying off-grid together with your van, having fun with a spot of motorhome wild tenting and usually wish to be as far-off from campsites as potential.

With that in thoughts, let’s get began.

Motorhome wild tenting guides for the UK & Europe

Motorhome wild parking guide

Motorhome Waste Disposal

Earlier than we get began, let’s discuss concerning the several types of waste. Gray waste is bathe and sink soiled water and black waste is rest room waste.

In most locations, you’ll be able to’t eliminate them in the identical place. Gray water goes down a drain and black waste goes right into a chemical rest room disposal level. It’s essential to know that distinction earlier than we go on to the several types of waste disposal factors.

Watch the video

Choose to look at as a substitute of learn? Right here’s the video concerning the data on this put up. Nonetheless, since filming now we have added in additional particulars and information that can assist you, so that you would possibly wish to give this put up a skim too.

Coping with Motorhome waste and water whereas touring

We hope you discovered the video helpful. If you happen to did, we’d find it irresistible if you adopted us on Youtube. New movies with ideas for motorhoming and campervanning within the UK and Europe are launched weekly.


The place to search out Motorhome waste disposal factors

Let’s begin with the apparent one- in case you want recent ingesting water and a secure place to eliminate gray and black waste, the most effective place to go is a correct motorhome campsite.

I do know, I do know- we’ve already talked about that you just’re attempting to keep away from these- however they are surely the most effective place to go to for motorhome services.

Often, we begin our motorhoming holidays with an empty van, because the van is saved in storage and we’re unable to replenish with recent water there. For that purpose, we attempt to guide our first night time of any journey right into a campsite. We additionally do the identical on the final night- so we are able to empty the gray and black waste correctly and drain any remaining recent water which could nonetheless be within the tanks.

In fact, in the summertime you principally possible must guide up upfront with the intention to get an area, but when you understand when your journey will begin, it’s simpler to know the place you’ll be able to keep.

And, in case you’re planning to remain on campsites with waste disposal services and water to your whole journey, then it’s easy- you simply use these.

However what if you wish to keep away from campsites?

How do you discover water and waste disposal for the remainder of your time on the street in case you don’t wish to keep in a single day on a campsite?? Nicely, there are a number of choices. You might be both:

  • Go to a campsite and pay to make use of their companies
  • Area people factors – like neighborhood facilities and automobile parks (some are beginning to present motorhome service factors for a small payment)
  • In Europe, use a motorhome aire or service level
  • Use public services (not really useful however helpful in a pinch)

Paying for campsite services

Within the UK, the place there isn’t a big community of aires and motorhomers aren’t as nicely catered for, we nonetheless suggest utilizing campsite services as typically as potential.

Many campsites will assist you to pay a small payment (someplace between £5-£10) with the intention to refill your recent water tank, empty gray waste and your rest room cassette.

We’ve discovered higher success with this by both utilizing campsites which brazenly say they permit this (look on their web sites) or utilizing smaller, impartial campsites. Anybody operating a website from a farm or discipline as an impartial enterprise are more likely to permit a ‘pit cease’.

You’ll be able to cellphone upfront (really useful in case you’re a bigger automobile or tow a trailer together with your motorhome like we do) however we’ve had higher success by simply turning up and asking politely to pay for utilizing their companies.

TOP TIP: Do NOT flip up at a motorhome membership campsite (like a CMC or CCC website) on a Friday or Sunday throughout summer season or faculty holidays. They are going to be WAY too busy to cope with you and are more likely to say no.


Europe aires & service factors

In case you are motorhoming in Europe, life is so much simpler! In addition to aires (be taught how you can discover aires and in a single day parking in Europe), there are additionally a system of motorhome service factors, typically at service areas on motorways.

To make use of these, you simply want to tug up, pay the payment (often 1 or 2€) and empty waste/ get recent water. Simple peezy.

So, when all of the above fails, let’s talk about public companies.


Gray Waste Water Disposal within the UK

For gray wastewater, there are methods to eliminate it correctly with no campsite. The UK, like most of Europe, has separate methods in place for rain water and gray water. Subsequently, most roadside drains are for rainwater solely.

If you happen to’re fortunate sufficient to discover a gray water drain, you’ll be able to simply pull your motorhome up excessive and open the waste (gray, NOT BLACK.) Most aires and accepted motorhome parking locations have gray water drains (though they don’t all the time say.)

Alternatively, in case you’re parked up someplace, you should utilize a plastic container just like the beneath ones, which may then be carried to the suitable disposal level or drain. 

The place to search out gray waste and bathroom disposal factors within the UK

Right here’s a unbelievable map from Campra (Marketing campaign for Actual Aires within the UK) which reveals aires and disposal factors across the UK.

There are a number of locations within the Lake District which have been arrange for waste disposal- right here’s the place to search out them (thanks Paul for the hyperlink)

Gray water and bathroom waste disposal factors in Scotland

Right here’s an important map from CAMPA (NOT the identical as Campra above) exhibiting waste disposal factors and campsites in Scotland which let you use their companies for a payment.

Can you place gray waste down a ‘regular’ street drain?

This can be a difficult one. My politically right reply is not any, as a result of then it doesn’t return into the proper system for remedy. Having stated that, it’s not unlawful to scrub your automobile within the street- and that’s cleaning soap and grime too.

My trustworthy reply is, in a pinch, it’s higher to empty right into a drain than all around the street. Clearly, utilizing correct campsite services is the most suitable choice. Attempt to use washing up liquid which is sort to the surroundings (like those beneath) in case you suppose you would possibly do that in some unspecified time in the future.

Additionally, attempt to wipe down plates/ cooking pans to take away fats and meals earlier than you wash up (that is good follow anyway so your tank doesn’t odor/ pipes don’t get clogged.) And PLEASE don’t simply open the outlet as you’re driving alongside, even when it’s raining.

Additionally, some smaller campsites ask motorhomers to make use of their gray water on the hedgerows, particularly in summer season. Solely do that if requested/ clear indicators.


Emptying motorhome campervan toilet cassette in the UK
Emptying motorhome campervan rest room cassette within the UK

Black waste/ rest room cassette disposal for vanlife

Public toilets- don’t use busy ones just like the M6 companies or beachfront ones. Discover a quiet village or distant bathroom. There’s an internet site and app referred to as Rest room Map which will help you discover locations.

Additionally, don’t tip all of it out at once- you’ll block the bathroom. Little then flush. Clear up

VERY IMPORTANT: Be certain the bathroom you might be emptying into isn’t on a septic tank/ fosse. Whether it is, and you utilize ‘regular’ rest room fluids, you’ll kill all of the micro organism.

Once more, if that is possible (in case you’re motorhoming in France for instance), use fosse-friendly fluid in your rest room cassette. We use a product referred to as Solbio natural rest room fluid, which is pure and doesn’t include dangerous chemical substances. It’s additionally secure to be disposed of in septic tanks or fosse, which means now we have extra choices to eliminate our rest room responsibly.

Find out how to make your motorhome rest room last more between emptying

To make rest room go for longer between discharges, some folks use a pee bottle, however you want a bit of liquid in there in any other case it’s going to all stick as a giant lump.

What we choose to do as a substitute is to not put rest room paper into the bathroom. As an alternative, we use a plastic bag, like a nappy bag for all used paper, which may then be disposed of safely in a bin. 

Some folks discover this bizarre, however we needed to do it for years on the boat so it’s fairly. Kemal for us and does cease the bathroom getting so full, so quick.

Additionally, you do NOT must pay for costly motorhome rest room paper. Significantly, simply get a budget stuff from any grocery store so it dissolves simply. However in case you’re going to place it right into a bag, you should purchase no matter model you want! However in case you’re wanting an ecofriendly choice, now we have really useful some beneath.

An alternative choice for ‘sticky’ rest room paper is to not use a number of water to flush the paper down- that simply fills up the cassette. As an alternative, you should utilize a twig bottle (or previous Domestos bottle with the jet spout) for focused strain to flush it down and clear marks on the bowl with little or no water use. (Thanks Bob for the tip.)

While we’re on the topic, please, fairly please, don’t empty the cassette along side the street, or right into a hedge, or the forest. It’s inflicting chaos in well-liked areas and locations like Portugal have been destroyed by this, so please do assist defend our nation by disposing of waste hygenically. 


Discovering recent ingesting water whereas travelling

As for getting water, you used to have the ability to get water from garages and repair stations, however lots of these have gone now. Some folks counsel utilizing graveyards however personally that doesn’t sit nicely for us.

If you happen to’re a canal boat proprietor, you might need a key which supplies you entry to services- some locations have these close to sufficient to a parking lot for hoses to succeed in. Once more, we use campsites and solely drink water from the lifesaver jerrycan we supply onboard (HIGHLY suggest this in case you journey so much.)


I hope that helped reply your questions. I’d love to listen to what you do- be happy to share your options. And if you understand of any campsites which is able to allow you to use their services for a payment, please do drop the small print beneath so others can profit.

Need extra ideas for motorhoming?

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Vanlife- 5 easy ways to deal with waste & water on the road
5 easy ways to deal with water and waste disposal while campervanning

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