How To Dispose Of RV Waste Responsibly

Quick Guide on Disposing Waste Water

How To Dispose Of RV Waste Responsibly

Travelling by motorhome is all about freedom, flexibility, and enjoying the beauty of Australia’s unique environment. But with great freedom comes great responsibility! That means taking care to properly dispose of all waste from your motorhome. This includes black water from your toilet, grey water from your sinks and shower, and general rubbish that goes in your bin.

Travelling by motorhome is all about freedom, flexibility, and enjoying the beauty of Australia’s unique environment. But with great freedom comes great responsibility! That means taking care to properly dispose of all waste from your motorhome. This includes black water from your toilet, grey water from your sinks and shower, and general rubbish that goes in your bin.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about disposing of your RV waste responsibly, including:

Let’s get stuck in!


Safety considerations when it comes to RV waste


At home, we tend to take it for granted that our waste is flushed or washed away. Once it’s gone down the drain, we really don’t think too much more about it! When you’re travelling in a motorhome or campervan, disposing of your waste is something you need to think about much more carefully.

Safety needs to be top of mind when dealing with RV waste, especially your black water. You can’t just ‘flush and forget’ your waste in an RV. You’ll need to remove it yourself. Waste can harbour nasty bacteria and bugs, so if you don’t handle it with care, you can put your health at risk.

It’s a good idea to consider gloves and a mask when emptying your wastewater tanks and general rubbish. Use a surface sanitiser and water treatment once you’ve finished emptying your tanks. And of course, the most basic of hygiene rules always apply – wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.


our duty to the environment


Australia is a beautiful country, let's keep it that way! Dumping your wastewater and general waste wherever you please not only leaves an unsightly mess, it can cause serious harm to our precious animals and plant life.

Carelessly dumped waste can also end up in waterways. This can make them unsafe to drink for wildlife, poison marine life, and damage the fragile eco-systems of rivers and streams.

We encourage all motorhome travellers, whether you’re in a self-contained vehicle or otherwise, to abide by the 7 Leave No Trace principles. These include:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on firm ground
  3. Dispose of waste correctly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimise the impact of campfires
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of hosts and other visitors


The different kinds of RV waste


There are a few different types of motorhome and campervan waste you need to consider when you’re out travelling. Each needs to be handled and disposed of in a different way.



Grey water 

Grey water is all of the wastewater that goes down your drains in sinks, basins, and your shower. This is contained in a separate grey water tank.



Black water 

Black water is the term used for all of the waste (sewerage) from your toilet.

Many modern self-contained vehicles come with built-in toilets. These toilets are generally made by one of two manufacturers, either Thetford or Dometic.

Motorhome and campervan toilets have a cassette-style holding tank, usually around 17-19L, which can be removed for emptying via an external door. The tanks often have an extendable handle and wheels for easy transportation to a dump point.

Larger RVs may come with their own black water tank fitted under the chassis, similar to a grey water tank. The size of your black water tank or cassette is generally the most limiting factor affecting your ability to travel off-grid.



Fresh water 

Fresh water is your general drinking water. You can usually dispose of this wherever you please if you need to. If you have a lot of fresh water that needs to be dumped, consider tipping it into a drain rather than creating puddles, slippery surfaces, or muddy patches that could be hazardous.



General rubbish 

Just like at home, as you travel, you’re likely to accumulate ‘household’ rubbish. This includes food waste, bottles and tins, and packaging materials.

The less rubbish you have on board, the less often you need to worry about disposing of it! Here are a few tips to help minimise the amount of general rubbish you need to dispose of:

  • Avoid using disposable products such as plastic cutlery and plates etc in favour of those that are reusable.
  • Consider using shampoo bars instead of shampoo in plastic bottles.
  • Buy a good quality reusable water bottle and top up with fresh water rather than purchasing water in plastic bottles.
  • Invest in reusable bags for buying fruit and vegetables rather than using plastic produce bags.
  • Take along your own reusable storage containers when you’re purchasing foods where possible.


Where to dispose of black water and grey water


It is essential that both grey and black water are disposed of in an appropriate manner. In some cases, the two are treated differently.

In Australia, there are many places grey water can be disposed of by simply draining it directly into the ground where your RV is parked. There are other places, such as sports ovals (often used for overflow camping) where a waste ‘sock’ is required to catch any solids while letting the water through.

There are also many locations, such as national parks or near waterways, where grey water needs to be treated in the same way as black water.

Black water from your RV needs to be disposed of at a dump point. Dump points to empty your RV waste tank include:

  • Most campervan parks
  • Selected truck stops
  • Some municipal parks

Access to dump points is usually free, although caravan parks may charge if you’re not a paying guest. Dump point etiquette is quite simple – leave it as you would like to find it.

To minimise odours, both grey and black water tanks should be cleaned (not just drained) regularly. Chemical treatment should be added to black water tanks after each time you empty it. There are also chemical treatments available for grey water tanks which can be used as required.

The key thing to remember is that disposing of grey and black water should always be done responsibly. As campervan and motorhome travellers, our job is to protect and care for the precious environment that we are privileged to enjoy.



Where to dispose of general rubbish

Most caravan parks have a dedicated space for disposing of general waste, and even recycling. You can also visit any local refuse centre or recycling station along your travels. However, you may be required to pay to drop off rubbish.

You may also prefer to hold on to your rubbish until you get home. Just ensure it is sanitised and doesn’t smell, that’s one way to ruin your trip!


How the thl Roadtrip app can help


To help you find dump points, refuse stations, recycling depots and more, it’s a great idea to download the thl Roadtrip app.

This handy, easy-to-use app is the perfect travel companion for motorhome and campervan travellers. It’s packed full of great information for your RV road trip, from planning and packing to parking up and making the most of your holiday.

  • Find everything you need including campsites, supermarkets, dump points, public toilets, laundromats, cafes and more.
  • Renting one of thl’s great campervan hires from Britz, Maui, or Mighty? Watch helpful videos such as a full show-through of your camper, plus how-to videos on things like emptying your toilet cassette or making the beds.
  • Access and download maps.
  • Read feedback from other users on places to stay and things to do.

Available for Apple and Android, the app is super easy to set up and use. Simply download the version you need and within minutes you’ll have access to everything you need to plan and enjoy your RV road trip.


Ready to hit the road? 


Now that you know all of the ins and outs of how and where to dispose of your RV waste, you’re all set to hit the road!

KEA Motorhomes designs and manufactures quality motorhomes to suit Australia’s unique environment. From compact two-berth campervans to spacious six-berth motorhomes, we’ve got an RV to suit every traveller.

Take a look at our range of motorhomes for sale and KEA ex-rental campervans for sale. Not sure which one is for you? Chat with one of our KEA-certified dealers today.

Already own a campervan but keen to upgrade to something new? KEA has you covered! With more than 25 years in the motorhome industry, KEA are your motorhome experts. We can help you with trade-in options, take care of your motorhome servicing needs, or just provide some expert advice when you need it.

Chat with one of our KEA team today in-store or online to see how you can enjoy the KEA difference.