The Eco Friendly Camping Guide
Summer is almost here and the weather is starting to heat up. As you pack the car up for a family camping trip there are several environmental protocols to keep in mind. Since you will essentially be living amongst nature for a short period of time, there are things you can do to minimize your impact on the natural environment around you. You want to leave the place as pristine and beautiful as it was when you arrived. Follow this very simple guide on your next camp out!
Polypropylene Reusable dishes- The obvious thing to bring is reusable plates, cups, and utensils. The last thing we want to do is contribute black garbage bags full of paper and plastic products to the landfills during our stay. As convenient as it may seem too just whip out a paper plate for those beans and kabobs, it is a pretty big environmental no-no. Glass dishes are subject to break but camping dishes made of Polypropylene is a good way to go because they are durable, lightweight, and BPA-free. They also don’t absorb food odors and they are easy to pack and carry.
Use Biodegradable Soaps- Since you will be arriving eco-friendly dishware in tow; you will want to wash them with a soap that is sensitive to the earth. Many soaps are laced with smelly fragrances, harmful detergents, and toxic surfactants and can hurt nearby plants, wildlife, and streams. Choose a green friendly soap to take care of those dishes- and the same goes for bathing and hand soaps.
Minimize packaging- If you buy two cases of water bottles, a 40 pack of personal-sized chips from Costco, and 10 Hershey’s for those smore’s than you may have to deal with a small mountain of trash at the end of your trip. Instead bring water in those gallon sized plastic containers with a spout; purchase maybe 5 extra large bag of chips instead of 40 individual ones or better yet buy loose snacks in bulk. Many of the snacks available in bulk are healthier for you anyways- like nuts, dried fruits, etc- and that will really help out with minimizing your garbage output.
Second Hand Gear- Rather than buy all new stuff for your trip try to take advantage of some great deals they have on craigslist or the goodwill store. This is an especially smart idea if you aren’t an avid camper. Take one look at a price tag on a tent or sleeping bag at R.E.I or Camping World and you will know what I mean. Not only is used stuff so much cheaper but it’s just as good and might I add effective to use.
DEET-free bug repellent- Bug repellents usually contain a toxic insesticide called N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) that can range from 4-100% in strength. One third of Americans use bug spray every year but studies have revealed that it can have some pretty harmful effects after frequent use. DEET in my opinion is quite unhealthy and interestingly the EPA hasn’t outlawed it (along with many other pesticides they should that are used in the U.S. today.) This is an army-made insecticide that was developed in the 1940’s to protect soldiers from serious illnesses like West Nile, Malaria, Yellow Fever and equine encephalitis. While extremely effective there happens to be natural healthy alternatives. For instance, the Center for Disease Control acknowledges that lemon eucalyptus oil is an effective product to keep those annoying bugs off of you. In addition, cinnamon oil is another great option. They can repel bug 6 hours after generously sprayed. You can find these items at any health food store.
There’s no greater reminder of why we why should love and protect the earth than being outdoors in a woodsy environment. I hope that this guide gave you a few earth friendly pointers for your next outdoor excursion.
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