Camping seems to be a lifestyle nowadays rather than a retreat into nature for a break from daily life and with the increase in campsite use, many popular parks are reporting more and more trash left behind. The goal of camping, and any venture into nature, is to leave no trace behind. While this can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to longer camp stays, it's not nearly impossible. The last thing anyone wants is to be the one annoying person who ruins it for the rest, especially when it comes to a rookie camping mistake such as this... or, even worse, laziness.
The rule of thumb is "carry in, carry out." While this saying has been repeated so many times on campsites, places such as Ontario are reporting a rapid increase in the sheer amount of trash that has been left behind at campsites. As reported by the Ontario Backcountry Camping group, the area is seeing an increase in a rather unsavory type of trash - one of which is toiler paper, which is being left behind at campsites along with other waste.
As with anything else when it comes to camping, there should always be a plan to take care of both this, as well as any other type of potential garbage. In order to make camping as trace-free and environmentally-friendly as possible, here are some hacks that will greatly reduce the stress of an eco-friendly trip. If nature is to be enjoyed by everyone, we need to keep it clean, healthy, and wholly untouched.
A $1 Pop-Up Garbage Can
DIYing a garbage can that's suitable for camping is as simple as stopping at the dollar (or any other home goods) store. The use of a mesh hamper can instantly be turned into a trash can with the use of a garbage bag, which can then either be carried out with campers or thrown into a campsite dumpster. These mesh bags can go so much further and function as a place to store recyclables and even compostable scraps in the event there are no bins nearby.
Pro tip: Use them to pack camping supplies and then when it's time to unload, voila - the hampers are instant garbage cans.
Swap Original Packing For Tupperware And Reusable Bags
A majority of campsite trash comes from plastic packaging and other wrappings that hold food, drinks, and utensils. It takes some effort to unwrap everything and replace the original wrapping with a reusable bag or Tupperware, but the effort is so minimal compared to the impact campers will have on the environment. Stainless steel containers are a big deal for something such as this since they won't be crushed during transport.
Wrappings such as beeswax and bee-free wrapping can also be used for things such as sandwiches and campers can't get much more eco-friendly than that. They can be used and reused, meaning there's nothing left behind when the food is gone.
Invest In Stainless Steel Glassware And Utensils
Speaking of stainless steel, if campers can get their hands on stainless steel glassware such as drinking glasses and wine glasses, this is another huge way to avoid excess trash. Plastic cubs do not break down and cardboard cups are not environmentally-friendly. The same applies to plastic utensils, which are often left behind as part of a camper's trash. Paper plates are great, but if a plate can be washed and stored, that's even better.
For campers who do use paper and/or plastic products, making sure that they have a portable trash bin is a necessity.
Wet Bags Come In Handy With Any Wet Trash Or Compostables
Wet bags exist and they're worth the cost of having one on hand. Whether it's baby nappies or wet bathing suits, not everything can be dried in time to go on a hike or head home. It might be tempting to leave behind wet towels, a wet diaper (which is gross), or wipes, but the urge should be resisted.
Just because it's easier to toss these things out of the tent doesn't mean they should be left behind. It might seem strange but wet bags can be cleaned easily and are a huge help when it comes to not leaving unnecessary trash.
Aluminum containers or even something such as a coffee bin can be used to contain compostables. Any potential food scraps can be stored in these and carried out which not only keeps animals away from the campsite but helps to keep the area clean for the next campers to enter.