As with most zero waste activities, pre-planning is essential for success and zero waste camping is no exception. By planning your adventures before you go you can significantly reduce the amount of waste you create. Here are some top tips for perfecting your zero waste camping trips.
Pack your reusables
Before you leave, remember to pack all of your reusable products so you can avoid single-use items as much as possible. These can include:
• reusable cups
• reusable cutlery
• reusable water bottles
• reusable bowls
• reusable straws
• reusable containers
• reusable food wrap such as beeswax or soy wraps
Don’t buy miniature toiletries
Miniature toiletries almost always come in plastic packing. A better, zero waste, alternative is to invest in some reusable containers so you can put the beauty products you normally use in them. This travel set is nice.
Pack your zero waste beauty products
If you’re already into zero waste it’s likely you already have a collection of zero waste beauty products at home. Take these with you instead of buying new products. Some examples of things to consider are a safety razor, zero waste deodorant, a bamboo toothbrush, compostable floss in a glass container, refillable makeup, reusable makeup wipes and reusable washcloths. Avoid disposable wipes wherever possible. They are really bad for the environment. If it’s unavoidable then opt for compostable wipes. Some of our favorite companies are Rplanet, Kokua Sun Care, Lush, and Protea Zero Waste.
Take a water filter
It can be tempting to buy purified bottled water when camping but there are zero waste alternatives. You can still enjoy filtered water on the go thanks to advances in technology including water purifying straws and bottles. If you’re unable to purchase a portable water filter then activated charcoal is a great alternative. It works by absorbing the impurities onto its surface. The Berkey system is awesome and comes in different sizes depending on how many people will be using it in your family! There are also awesome filter straws that you can get like Lifestraw to take with you on hikes, but this is more a survival type necessity for primitive camping or long hiking and camping trips where you need access to fresh water when it's not available.
Avoid disposable gas canisters
Instead opt for refillable LP gas fueled stoves. If you need to travel light, opt for an alcohol stove or an alternative stove that is compatible with liquid fuel. Use a portable camping stove that uses wood or just cook on the provided camping grills that most state parks and recreational areas provide. Cooking on the fire will reduce waste of fuel canisters and charcoal grills. Try making your own herbal fire starters to bring with you as well and leave the lighter fuel behind.
Create a meal plan
One of the biggest sources of waste when you're on vacation is food waste. To limit the amount of food you waste, try to plan meals ahead of time. Organization is the key to success with this. Remember, your to go containers to take your meals on the go or to pack in the cooler for later. We like these stainless steel to go containers, because they stack or unstack to save space.
Batch cook snacks before you go
Snacks tend to come in plastic packaging, to avoid this consider batch cooking snacks before you leave. Some easy options include energy balls, traybakes or cookies. Remember to take your reusable storage containers, such as Stasher bags, to carry your snacks with you. We like Meli wraps and Stasher bags, you can find similar products locally or on Amazon too.
If you can try to shop at local farmers markets or farm shops in the area. Not only will you be supporting a local business it’s also more likely you’ll get package-free food items. Remember to take your reusable produce bags with you to avoid any single-use plastic bags.
Invest in a large water container
Buy a large water container which you can refill on site. You can then use that bottle to refill your reusable water bottles. We use Bubba stainless steal 1 gal tumblers.
Ditch the disposable BBQ
Disposable BBQ’s cannot be recycled and end up in landfill. If you can invest in a portable grill and take care of it so it will last you for many years to come. Alternatively, you can buy an eco-friendly disposable grill like Casus Grill if you can't invest in a portable grill you can reuse.
We hope you enjoyed these zero waste camping tips. The goal is leave no trace.. if you take it in, you bring it out...including trash waste! Let's enjoy reconnecting to nature responsibly. Leave us a comment on your favorite zero waste camping tips or any products you tried that you like. Sustainability doesn't have to be hard, just takes a few changes that make a big impact. Happy Camping!