A Camper’s Guide to Being Greener

By Andrea Davis on June 14, 2019

One activity many of us enjoy in the summer months (or spring, fall or even winter) is camping. Whether you’re tenting it or glamping, chances are you’ll be making meals and generating some waste. You might be tempted to just chuck everything in the trash, but you can be environmentally responsible while camping. It just takes a little additional effort. Here are some tips:

Reduce/Reuse

  • Resist the impulse to purchase individually wrapped and heavily packaged containers. Instead, invest in some quality reusable containers and purchase in bulk. For example, fill a water jug or cooler with water before leaving the house instead of bringing along single-serving water bottles.
  • If you’re camping with a large group, coordinate ahead of time to see which food and other items you can share. That will not only save you on space, it will also mean less packaging waste.
  • Bring food items that travel well and last a long time. You don’t want to end up throwing half your food away because you couldn’t keep it cold or eat it before it spoiled.
  • Use reusable plastic dishes, cups and bowls, as well as silverware, rather than using disposable items for meals. It means you’ll spend a bit of time washing dishes, but it’s always a good activity for your kids.
  • You need to get your fire going with something anyway, so chuck any of your paper, cardboard or boxboard waste in the fire pit instead of in the trash. Just be careful not to burn any plastic-coated materials or other materials that might create harmful fumes.

Recycle

  • Consider your choices. Purchase and bring items that are universally (or almost universally) recyclable so you’ll be able to recycle them no matter where you are.
  • Designate a special container (separate from your trash) for recyclables and don’t forget to bring it. You can save space by purchasing a collapsible or pop-up container. There are many different options available in local hardware, DIY, outdoor gear stores, RV stores and online. (Check out this one.*)
  • Check out your recycling options as soon as you arrive. Many campgrounds and state parks feature recycling bins as well as trash cans. If you’re going to use the containers at the park, you’ll want to review what is accepted. You should be able to find guidelines listed on signage on the container or in the park office. If recycling is not available where you’re camped, you can always check out other nearby recycling options. Visit https://search.earth911.com to search for local recycling. If all else fails, you can always take the recycling back home with you to put in your curbside collection or your usual drop-off. (And this is where those zippered, collapsible recycling bins come in handy for transporting your recyclables without a mess.)
  • Don’t trash your empty camping fuel containers. Many can go in special recycling collections or be refilled.

As long as you’re enjoying the great outdoors, you might as well be protecting it at the same time. With just a little extra effort you can make responsible choices out there. Happy Camping!

*Products referred to in this blog are used as examples and do not constitute an endorsement by Granger.

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