Plastic pollution is a major problem across the world right now. Shows like Blue Planet II highlighted the issues within our oceans. However, there is a serious epidemic of plastic related litter in all kinds of environments. It is in our rivers, hedgerows, fields and almost anywhere that we look. When campers head out into the wilderness to get back to nature, they need to honor and respect that landscape. This means leaving the place as they found it. A plastic-free campsite may not be completely practical, but every little step helps.
Watch out for single-use plastic in your tent and camping area
Single use plastic is a nightmare material. At the very best, it might end up in a recycling plant to become another plastic item. At the worst, it is left to litter the land after providing very little worth to users. Single use plastic items are more common than we might think. We use them almost without thinking. Avoid plastic cutlery and straws when catering for the kids on a camping trip. There will be some plastic storage containers that are ideal for food supplies. If they are long-life, reusable options then they have some merit.
Where possible, replace plastic items with green materials
Some campers won’t like the idea of ditching their plastic plates, cutlery and storage wear. They are durable, light and easy to transport. They are therefore great to chuck in the back of a car and give to a child in a tent. There are alternatives out there. Aluminum straws are durable and safe, bamboo cutlery and other tools are strong and hygienic. Metal plates are strong and easy to clean. There are alternatives out there when camping. Sometimes they even come from green, charitable sources, so you could end up saving the world in two ways with one purchase.
A reusable water canister is the best starting point
There are too many campers that bring multi-packs of water bottles to a campsite for a safe drinking supply. This is a complete waste when most sites have clean, free drinking water. A reusable water bottle eliminate the need for all those single use bottles. Where possible, try and find one made from bamboo or metal to exclude plastic even further.
Watch out for plastics in cleaning products and toiletries as well
Lots of government agencies and brands are starting to take action against microbeads and other small plastic particles. However, some bans only cover certain components. There is still a risk that your toiletries at the campsite could pollute the landscape with plastic. Many campers will take a small toiletries bag of products and wash in the local facilities or a stream. Facial scrubs, some soaps and even toothpastes can contain these beads. Rinse yourself off in the stream and you could wash those beads into the water.
Every small step to eliminating plastic while camping helps
Small changes and substitutions can go a long way here. It is a lot to ask to insist that campers go 100% plastic free straight away. That isn’t always practical. Those that do use plastic simply need to do the following. If it is single use, try and recycle it. If it is reusable, take care of it. Otherwise, replace those water bottles, check for microplastics in your toiletries and look into alternative materials for a natural camping experience.