Get out of town! My family and I are taking this advice and heading to the Black Hills National Forest for a week of camping. It is possible to be environmentally conscious at home or on a trip with a little planning and effort.
First, I think of carbon footprint. We drive a mid-size sports utility vehicle and tent camp. Other family vacations range from flying to driving a large recreational vehicle or pulling a camper. The larger the vehicle and the farther traveled the more pollution. This year our choice of destination is relatively close though that has more to do with time available than being “green.”
I have always preferred tent camping and only spent the night in a camper two or three times. Tents do not use electrical hookups or fuel for generators.
Refuse and recycling are another major consideration on any camping trip. First, do a little research. Will the campground allow you to dump trash there or will it be a “pack it out” location? Either way, look at ways to reduce how much trash there will be. Do dishes instead of using disposable kitchenware. Keep trash in the vehicle or throw it in the dumpster at the end of the day to avoid critters in camp. Avoid dumping food or drink in the fire pit.
Will there be recycling bins at the campground? This service is becoming more common yet not something to count on. If so, check what you can recycle. Aluminum cans and plastic bottles are the most common materials accepted.
A few years ago my family went on what we called our “Colorado Loop Trip.” We started at Rocky Mountain National Park then traveled south from there. Three other national parks on the itinerary were among the stops in the southwest, south central and middle of the state. We did pack out a few recyclables though our stops were pretty green overall. This was when Keep Alliance Beautiful only accepted Nos. 1 and 2 plastics. So . . . I was excited when we stopped at the Great Sand Dunes where their recycling trailer/dropoff point accepted all seven numbers of plastic and everything else we currently do at our KAB recycling center. They even took the small propane tanks we had used. For a few weeks after we got back I joked we should take a trailer loaded with plastics No. 3-7 down there and recycle them. Nobody in my house took me up on it.
Even if the campground you choose does not take much or any recycling there is a good chance that service is available at a community nearby.
If neither campground or the closest town offers recycling, save what you can to bring home and recycle. Remember to bring reusable containers, like water bottles. This helps reduce excess materials, even if they are recyclable.
A couple other environmentally friendly tips:
>Police your campsite for trash when you arrive and when you leave. This makes for a cleaner and better experience for you and the next camper.
>Ride/walk rather than driving more. Bikes are handy to get around a campground or even to a nearby town. Cycling and hiking are both green ways to enjoy nature.
While planning where to go and what to do for your next vacation see if there are ways to be green.