How to go “green” when camping

Camping season is now in full swing. Here on the west coast, we love our camping almost as much as we love NOT freezing throughout the winter. Camping is often a way for us to reconnect with nature and disconnect from the constant busyness of our daily lives. Unfortunately, camping can quickly become a way to do further harm to the environment instead. There are a definitely some great ways to mitigate this impact, a few of which we’ll look at below.

Reduce your waste:

The first step to living green is to reduce what you produce in the first place. For camping, this can mean steering away from too many pre-packaged food items. Instead, pre-make food at home and bring in reusable containers. Bringing reusable dishes and utensils is an easy way to reduce waste of disposable items. Compile a “camping kit” of dishes that you bring with you each time. Try to repair torn or damaged camping equipment before replacing items. Most tents come with a “repair kit” for a reason.

Make a recycling plan:

Some campsites have recycling bins, but many still don’t. Come with a plan to remove all of your recyclables yourself just in case. The simplest way is to organize your recyclables just as you would at home. Mixed materials can be collected together and added to your recycling at home. If any materials need to be recycled separately, just bring separate bags/containers for each (glass, styrofoam, etc). Make sure to wash out any food containers extra carefully so as not to attract unwanted wildlife, and consider storing the recyclables in your vehicle. Propane tanks can be recycled at many municipal depots, so don’t throw them in the landfill. Collect all beverage containers and bring for refund for next year’s camping fund (at your nearest Island Return It location, of course). Finally, when your flashlight inevitably reaches the end of it’s life, right when you’re stumbling to the outhouse in the middle of the night…bring it in to Island Return It to recycle responsibly for free.

Buy eco-friendly:

When buying gear, look at used items as an option, or explore the growing world of gear made from recycled materials. Use only eco-friendly, biodegradable detergents and bug repellent. LED lamps and flashlights are also a great way to reduce electricity use and invest in a product that will last for much longer. 

There are of course many other ways to go green while camping this summer, but even following these simple steps can help ensure that our wilderness stays pristine for people to enjoy for generations to come.