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Low to Zero Waste Camping Tips

Camping is a great way to spend time with your family or friends and reconnect with nature. However, these trips often have a negative impact on the environment. The Washington Post’s report on trash in national parks found more than 100 million pounds of trash are accumulated every year from just three major US parks. Not only do these clutter campgrounds, defile fishing streams, and sicken animals, but leftover food waste may also attract bears that may end badly for both bears and humans.

Rather than avoiding trips altogether, you can cut down the amount of trash produced by choosing to go zero or even low-waste while camping. Here are some ways you can significantly reduce your waste on a camping trip:

Skip takeaway meals

Food after a long day of setting up camp can be very satisfying, especially when all you have to do is open a package. While the convenience is tempting, meal planning before your trip can ensure a zero-waste experience. You can make shared food like chili or soup days ahead by freezing your meals, with the bonus of them acting as ice blocks for your cooler.

It’s also good to store instant oatmeal, sliced fruits, and trail mix by placing them in reusable containers or bags, to make for easy-to-reach snacks. By prepping ahead, you can have enjoyable meals and snacks for the whole group, without needing to throw away disposable materials.

Pack nicotine alternatives

There may be some campers who want to smoke while they’re outdoors, but cigarettes are banned from a number of campsites across the US. Although cigarette alternatives like the disposable e-cigarettes by Esco Bars are viable options, they still remain a big environmental concern when disposing of batteries and plastic.

Enter nicotine pouches, which don’t damage the environment as they are smoke-free, can easily be put away for later disposal, and aren’t fire hazards. The On! nicotine pouches sold on Prilla illustrate how nicotine pouches are small, clean, and discreet; you just need to tuck one under your upper lip and let the flavor seep out. You can then opt keep used pouches in nicotine pouch cans before properly disposing of these after your camping trip.

Have water purification tablets

Staying hydrated is one of the main necessities of a camping trip, so having drinking water is extremely important to have. However, there can only be so many reusable water containers you can carry and disposable plastic bottles are not a zero-waste solution. For a longer trip, our post on “Best Water Purification Tablets 2022 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide” shares the best water purification tablets, which come in handy if you find water sources on your trip.

After getting water from a clear spring or pond and purifying according to the instructions, make sure to pour a bit of purified water to treat the mouth of the bottle. This will wash out any remaining contaminated water and make it safer to drink.

Borrow or buy second-hand gear

If you don’t usually camp often, borrowing is the best option for those wanting to experience living outdoors. Bloomberg’s report on the camping market found that the consumer demand for camping gear and materials will fuel the sector’s growth, with expectations for the industry to hit $46.7 billion globally by 2031. However, this means that prices are high and at the same time, more people are using up materials for camping supplies — which they may not utilize as much.

The savvier choice is to borrow or buy pre-loved things, which are great for low-waste camping. Often, a lot of second-hand camping gear are still in fairly good condition as these products are made with durability in mind. Just make sure to double-check the quality of your purchases before taking them home.

Last Updated on September 12, 2022

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