Camping trips are a great way to enjoy inexpensive family fun. Fortunately, the USA is packed with campgrounds from border-to-border. Wherever your camping destination, these five tips can help you plan ahead to take good care of our beautiful environment:
1. Plan to leave no trace.
The goal of eco-friendly camping and backpacking is to leave the outdoor world as you find it. That way, the next family can enjoy their outdoor experience as much as yours did. Plan to take home everything that you bring with you: Pack it in, pack it out. If the previous campers left some trash lying around, be really considerate and pack their stuff out as well.
2. Plan to reduce.
Packing less stuff in will reduce the amount of trash you have to pack out. As you plan your trip, look closely at food and other supplies for ways to cut back on waste (and save money too!). Plan meals carefully and only bring what your family will actually eat. Switch from Styrofoam, plastic, and other disposable supplies to reusable containers, plates, and cups.
3. Plan to reuse.
A little creative planning can make every camp item do double or even triple duty. Before the trip, freeze water in plastic milk jugs. These free blocks of ice will keep your food fresh in the cooler - and then provide clean water for drinking or washing at your camp site. When you’re back home, a little soap and water will get them ready for the next outdoor adventure.
4. Plan to recycle.
Some campgrounds offer ways to recycle cans, plastic bottles, cardboard, and other items. If your campsite recycles, that’s great. If not, make recycling easy by setting up small boxes, bins, or bags (maybe the ones the products were purchased in) to take stuff home with you. Encourage everyone to pick up recyclables they find from other careless campers or hikers.
5. Plan to sweat the small stuff.
Small amounts of our garbage can pile up quickly to become eyesores for us, as well as life-and-death matters for wildlife. Be a green role model for children by picking up the smallest pieces of trash, such as gum wrappers and pieces of fishing line. Make certain that there is always a place to put trash and recyclables - in the car, in the boat, and in the campsite.