Today’s post comes from Jessie Robinson, a Discovery staff member at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park.
As we become a more environmentally conscious generation, we pay more attention to how our own lifestyle habits may be affecting the environment.
We strive to reduce our waste, use our reusable materials, and recycle our recyclables, but when it comes to the holidays, we may make mistakes in our eco-friendly habits. It’s easy to put these values on the back burner during a camping trip where you want everything to be as easy as possible so you can maximize your outdoor enjoyment.
Here are ten simple solutions on how to keep the green in Ontario parks while having fun in nature!
Low waste camping equipment
1. Carry your reusable water bottles with you
Most Ontario parks have drinking water taps in all car camping areas.
If not, you can bring a large jug of water to refill your bottles, or be more like a backcountry camper and invest in a water filter or water drinking tablets.
2. Keep single-use batteries at home
Get yourself a rechargeable flashlight. These come in many forms, such as crank lights or solar-powered lanterns, and can be left outside during the day to charge.
3. Buy in bulk
Camping essentials like sunscreen and bug spray are tricky when it comes to avoiding waste. However, there are options for products made from recyclable materials and even zero-waste products found online.
Do some online searching, but the easiest advice here is to go BIG. Purchasing these products in large bottles (preferably recyclable) will decrease the amount of waste material ending up in landfills.
4. Quality over quantity
At Ontario Parks, we see a lot of camping chairs, tents, cookware, and all kinds of camping equipment ending up in trash bins.
To avoid wasting what you’ve spent your hard-earned money on, invest in quality items that will last.
5. Buy second-hand, rent or borrow
Some other great options for purchasing any camping equipment are to buy it secondhand, borrow it from a friend, or rent it from an outdoor outfitter.
Low waste dining room
6. Meal preparation is key!
When it comes to packing food for your trip, the more prepared you are, the better. Preparing your food ahead of time in reusable containers will not only save you on single-use plastic wrap, but it will also save you time, so you can spend it enjoying the outdoors.
You can do this by preparing things like pancake mix in a jar or cutting up produce to put directly into containers. Nowadays, there are great options to buy bulk products like oats, grains, and trail mixes in their own reusable jars, so you can even eliminate plastic waste right from the store!
7. The best meals are prepared over a campfire.
Save money on propane cylinders and cook over the fire. You can buy a good set of camping cookware at most outdoor stores and use the over-the-fire grate that Ontario Parks campgrounds offer. Bonus points for those who use cast iron skillets!
I promise that a good cast iron skillet will last much longer than any propane cylinder, and you can even find cast iron skillets secondhand.
8. Don’t skip dishes; hug them
Avoid single-use plastics and disposable plates. Landfills are full of plastic cutlery, plates and cups, and we’ve all heard the staggering statistics about plastic straws and cups in our waterways. So let’s avoid this problem altogether!
Our solution: get yourself a set of camping dishes. These don’t have to be expensive; You can even use some sturdy plates that you may already have at home. Bring your cookware or get a set of sturdy camping utensils and you’ll be set.
Cleaning with little waste
9. Low-tech solutions
For all your great but now dirty camping dishes, you’ll need a good low-waste cleaning strategy.
This is where you can bring some of your old cloths and brushes from home to wash dishes. Fill a tub with soap and water to wash after meals, then dry it with a towel.
10. Separate your recycling, like at home!
Designate bins or bags to separate trash from recycling until you have a chance to properly dispose of it. Many provincial parks have recycling stations, but if the one you go to doesn’t, simply bag it up to recycle at home.
We all love nature; That’s why we camp!
You don’t have to abandon your eco-friendly lifestyle just to keep things simpler while camping.
Help keep Ontario parks green by trying some of these tips on your next camping trip. And no matter how long the camping trip is, remember to reduce, reuse and recycle!