Camping season is officially under way and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is asking us to keep some things in mind as we head out to our favorite camping spot. We are all guilty of it. We pack in a lot when we plan to spend a weekend in the woods but it is more important than ever that we pack it all out or better yet make a plan to use more environmentally friendly items.

After reading through the list that the NYSDEC created I am in agreement with a lot of the suggestions. I personally hate eating with plastic utensil so I am happy to swap them out of something more reusable. Next time I head out I am going to see how many more of these item I can actually do for my trip.

Checkout this list from the NYSDEC

  • Use Reusable Plates, Utensils, and Bottles: Cut down on waste, save money, and save space with reusable products. Single-use plates, utensils, and bottles take up extra space in your bags and our landfills. Most of our facilities now have sinks for washing dishes, as well as potable water for drinking.
  • Prepare Your Meals: Buy local foods and portion out into reusable containers ahead of your trip instead of buying smaller, single serving packages, to save space and cut down on both wasted food and unnecessary packaging.
  • Recycle: Check the campground's Recycling Center at the beginning of your trip to see what materials are recyclable and separate recyclables throughout your trip.
  • Bring Biodegradable: Use eco-friendly soaps, toothpaste, sunscreens, and pest repellants and be sure to use them at least 200 feet away from a water source to avoid harming aquatic life.
  • Carpool: Travel with as few cars as possible with your friends and family to decrease vehicle carbon emissions. Also, check out New York's expanding network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers, which are making camping with an EV more practical than ever before.
  • Save Water: Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth and washing dishes to do your part to save hundreds of gallons of water, facility wide.
  • Wind Powered Boating: Use a sail boat or other motor-free vessel instead of gas-powered boats this summer. These boats are fun to use, save carbon emissions and eliminates the risk of oil-water contamination.
  • Rent or Borrow: Find used gear instead of buying new. Done using your camping gear? If it's still usable, ask if the campground collects it, or drop if off at a donation center.
  • Buy Local Firewood: Help stop the spread of invasive pests, and save trees by following the New York State Firewood Regulation and buying local firewood.
  • Bring Solar Power: Using solar-powered lights, radios and chargers is an easy, renewable energy source that reduces your need for extra batteries.
  • Don't Burn Trash: Don't throw plastic cups, food wrappers, or other trash into the fire. Plastic releases toxic smoke and could pollute the ground and nearby waters.

One more thing - we all think we understand recycling but look at this graphic and see how many of these things you do.

Happy Camping fellow Campers!

Learn more on how to pack and camp sustainably and about DEC campgrounds.