Low Waste Camping
In 2016 we took the car and camping gear across to Tasmania on the Spirit. We had three of the best weeks, what a trip! Just because we were on holiday didn't mean we could get 'lax on our waste reduction challenges, so we tried our best to minimise our impact every day. It wasn't all that easy in the beginning and we had some fails to teach us better. Here are some Do's and Don'ts I came back with, they might help you on your next trip away!
DO: Use the principle of necessity if required - if you forgot a bag for those soy chips, do you really need to buy some today? The plastic bag you could put them in will last a good 100 years or more in the ground.
DON’T: Buy fruit and veg from supermarkets if you know you can get them at grocers or from local farms. The less food miles and the more dollars into farmer’s pockets, the better.
DO: Bring a 10L or larger water container with you, and reusable drink bottles. Bottled water is a huge waste of plastic, energy and fossil fuels and is unnecessary.
DON'T: Throw recycling in the rubbish bin if there's no recycling bin around. We found this a surprisingly common thing in Tasmania but neglected to hold onto things until we came across a recycling bin later in the trip. It's certainly worth the slight hassle.
DO: Bring bags or containers to the shops EVERY time you go, and bring more than you think you might need. You don’t want to be caught out!
DON’T: Forget a packed lunch! It’s so easy to go somewhere on a “two hour walk” only to find yourself lost, or find somewhere else cool to visit, and end up with no snacks or lunch to eat! Avoid the hangry stage by always keeping containers of leftovers, sandwiches and snacks (e.g. fruit, homemade muesli bars or popcorn) in your backpack for emergencies.
DO: Bring an esky to reduce food waste and allow you to buy items in bulk and keep them. Reuse your plastic ice bags as bin bags if you need to, or use an ice-free esky if you can access one.
DON’T: Leave home without bringing food with you and expect to buy what you want when you get there (unless you’ve been there before and know your options). Where allowed, bring food for the first few days so you know you have access to it and aren’t forced to buy limited (usually packaged) items from tiny expensive general stores on your way.
DO: Bring your own washing essentials in recycled, refillable containers (such as washing powder, detergent, shampoo and soap). Avoid travel-packs and using small plastic-wrapped items at caravan parks or hostels, as these use much more packaging than is necessary.
DON’T: Forget a bread bag (reused plastic or fabric) at the bakery! And order unsliced to avoid them slipping it into a plastic bag before you’ve realised - cut it up yourself.
Foraging three-cornered leek for dinner!
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