Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend quality time with family and friends; but, being away from home doesn’t mean you should kick your green routine to the curb. Here are some eco-friendly camping tips to keep in mind the next time you pitch a tent or pack up the family camper and head outdoors:
- Think reusable, not disposable. Choose reusable cups, plates, napkins, flatware instead of disposable alternatives. You’ll be amazed at how much waste is saved!
- Recycle. Be sure to collect all bottles, cans, paper products, etc. and toss them in the appropriate bin. Check with the campground to make sure they offer recycling.
- Don’t pour fats, oils and grease down the camper sink. Most campers have holding tanks for grey water and you don’t want that grease clogging up the lines or solidifying in the tank. Pour greasy food residue into a container (like a soup can) to harden and properly dispose of it in the trash.
- Don’t clean or rinse grills or dishes outside. It may seem convenient if your camper has an outside wash station, but leftover fats, oils and grease can be washed into a nearby storm drain and carried to the nearest body of water.
- If your campsite has a water hookup available and it’s leaking at the spigot, be sure to report it to the campground management office as soon as possible. On one camping trip, I remember seeing a spigot leaking where campers were putting a couple of buckets underneath the slow drip to collect the water and were using it to wet their dishcloths, wash off dirty feet, etc. At least they were capturing the water and putting it to good use instead of letting it go to waste!
- When storing your sewer hookup lines, keep them in a container to prevent any accidental spillage onto the ground or in the camper.
- If the weather permits, turn the air off in the camper and open the windows to conserve on energy and enjoy the fresh air.
- If you take your pet(s) camping with you, always pick up after them. Scoop it, bag it, trash it! Pet waste belongs in the trash, not on the ground.
- Leave No Trace. I remember first hearing about this concept at a 4H Club summer camp that I was participating in as an instructor. Then I found out through family members that it was also promoted by the Boy Scouts. It includes being green and respecting the environment while camping using the following principles:
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Leave What You Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors
So go ahead, enjoy the great outdoors. Just remember these low-impact camping tips so your next adventure will be packed with fun and easy on the environment!