Reducing Waste on Road Trips and Camping

My original hope for this post was that it would be titled "Waste-Free Camping". For today we'll have to settle for "Waste-Reduced".

As we've started to plan our summer camping trips, I was excited to see how much waste we could reduce with proper planning and preparation. On past road trips, we have tended to buy a lot of plastic-wrapped snacks at gas stations and fast-food meals; I was determined to improve this year.

We are heading out this weekend, so we headed to Superstore to tackle a big source of camping/road trip waste: snack foods.

By visiting the Superstore bulk bins and using my re-usable bulk bags, we are now well stocked in popcorn, cookies, gummy candies, chocolate-covered almonds, trail mix, and mints. Also pictured are a couple containers of granola for one of our breakfasts.

To further reduce waste on our trip, we have done the following.
  • Packed almost all food in re-usable containers that can just be stacked together when empty and put in the dishwasher when we get home. This way we reduce the number of dishes we need to wash while camping and don't need to deal with plastic bags of any kind. Also, any recycling or trash that would be generated is dealt with properly at home before we leave.
  • Purchased meat and cheese for sandwiches at the deli where they sell straight into my container.
  • Packed condiments in small containers to reduce the chance of a whole jar getting spoiled.
  • Purchased package-free vegetables (onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers).
  • Packed re-usable cutlery, dishes, and cloths.
  • Packed a container to bring home compostable waste.
  • Packed beer from our Kegerator in pop-top bottles (more on that later!)
What should be on the list as well is bread products; we should have purchased hamburger buns and bagels from the bakery bulk bins. Unfortunately we did our shopping trip at 22:00, so the bins were all empty. We will have to settle for recycling the plastic bags our bread products came in.

My hope is that we will have no need for trips to the garbage bin at the campsite, but we will see. Obviously this works for us because the parking lot is close to the site; if we were hiking and carrying our food it would be a different story. Maybe later in the summer!

How do you reduce waste while camping or on road trips? Leave a comment!


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