Eco-Tip of the Week: Summer Camping

Last week Caroline wrote about natural, chemical-free ways to avoid mosquitoes at home and in the wild. This got me thinking about other ways to avoid toxic chemicals while on outdoor adventures. Yes, toxic chemicals in the wild may seem like a contradiction. But campers introduce toxics into the natural environment all too often when they pack the chemical-laden, wasteful products of our urban lives with them—insect repellents, plastic bottles, disposable containers and more.

Since I’ve been planning more camping trips for this summer, I wanted to a strategy to keep toxic, wasteful products out of my trip—not only to protect my own health, but also the health of the natural landscapes I’ll be visiting.

So, we came up with a list of tips to ensure that our camping excursions don’t bring that city waste into the great outdoors.

Here are our suggestions:

Bring a set of reusable dishes and silverware: It might seem like an extra weight to carry around with you, but only one dish and set of utensils is needed for each person. It’s much better than lugging a bunch of paper plates with you that will accumulate in the trash bag.

Use biodegradable soap: When cleaning your dishes, showering, or washing clothing, use certified organic, biodegradable soaps to ensure that you aren’t causing toxic chemicals to pour out into the soil or bodies of water at your campsite.

Be aware of wildlife and keep your campsite clean: Leaving food out will encourage animal and insect visitors. Avoid mosquitoes and other insects by utilizing preventative measures-like wearing long sleeves and pants when mosquitoes are most active—and avoiding toxic chemical insect repellents.