6 Simple Tips for Eco Friendly Camping
Author – Julia Psaila
When planning your next camping trip, keep in mind these 6 simple tips which will reduce your overall footprint on the planet.
1 - Borrow, Rent or Repair
Before purchasing new camping equipment and gear, including tents, sleeping bags and mats, portable stoves, BBQ sets and coolers, ask around and look for alternative options, such as borrowing from a friend, renting from camping shops, swapping or shopping second-hand.
This way you are using items already in the waste stream as well as saving money. Take care of borrowed items and clean them before returning to the owner. Try repairing good condition camping equipment before disposing of them, prolonging their use. If you prefer buying new, invest in high quality and durable products that will hopefully last you a lifetime.
2 - Prepare Low-Waste Meals
Planning ahead and carefully packing and preparing your camping trip meals is key to ensuring minimising waste and lowering your impact on the environment. Bring exactly what you need, enough to last a few days, to reduce excess food.
Pack your own food in reusable containers. A lot of food comes individually pre-packaged which contribute to the single-use pollution problems, resulting in taking a huge toll on our environment. Shop for staples that are not pre-packaged such as fruit, nuts, bread and carry in reusable containers and bags. You can also dry fruit and vegetables, preserve meals and avoid perishable food items to decrease the chance of waste.
3 - Use Reusables
Ban disposable and single-use items by bringing your own reusable water bottles, dishes, utensils, dish cloths and containers for food and leftovers. The time spent washing dishes is a really short time in comparison to the amount of time that single-use items last in a landfill. Wash containers and plastic bags to use again. There is no need to buy brand new camping items, use items found at your home, while saving money and not owning excess stuff.
4 - Replace Harsh Chemicals
When camping make sure that the cleaning products and toiletries used are as nature friendly as possible. Harmful chemicals, preservatives and unnatural fragrances are found in most cleaning products. Look for eco-friendly, biodegradable and toxic-free products or make your own, to avoid harming the plants, wildlife and the surrounding nature.
Cleaning products and toiletries also come individually pre-packaged in single-use containers. Consider products which are not packed, such as tablets or a bar of soap, or else found in tins or jars, which can be reused.
When using cleaning products, ensure that you are away from natural water sources and dispose of water used for washing, in a sink or designated dumping stations to protect wildlife.
5 - Respect Nature
Know the basics of environmentally conscious camping ground and trail behaviour and abide with the restrictions and limitations. Sticking to where the camping ground and hiking trails are permitted is important, as they are built purposely to avoid ruining the vegetation. Plants, insects and animal homes are found around these areas, and driving, pitching tents and walking all over can damage them.
Do not cut trees or branches for your campfires or BBQs. Alternatively purchase firewood in a more responsible manner that does not involve damaging the environment surrounding the camping area. Before sleeping, ensure that your campfire is completely extinguished by putting water on the fire to put out the flame and mixing the ashes. Only light fires in designated areas to avoid accidental fires.
6- Leave No Waste and Trace Behind
Remember to pack up everything and leave no waste and trace behind. Some campsites have a proper waste disposal system, including recycling and organics collection, however, many others still do not. In that case, separate and collect waste and dispose accordingly at home, in particular plastic and glass for recycling and food for compost. Collect food by storing in a mason jar or separate plastic bag and compost later. Leaving garbage out and burying food waste is harmful to the environment and attracts animals and other creatures to the campsite.
Lastly, do a good deed. When you are done packing, inspect the place before you leave and spare 5 minutes and try to leave the place cleaner than you found it. That way your adventure would have had a positive impact on nature!