Any nature enthusiast has heard of the concept, “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints” when heading out into the wild. While you need to have certain supplies with you for a successful camping trip, you should have a plan to ensure that anything that you bring with you, also returns back home. Litter is a major problem, with items and trash left behind taking over many natural spaces and causing harm to plants, animals, and the environment. Before you head on your camping trip make a plan to pack it in and pack it out, so that people and animals can enjoy these spaces for years to come.


Food and drink related items are one of the most common causes of litter and waste when camping. When you are away from home, you’ll want to have a plan to keep fed while keeping it clean.


  • Meal plan for your camping trip so that you know what you’ll be having and when to cut down on food waste and be efficient with packing space.
  • Pack food in reusable containers made from glass, silicone, or stainless steel instead of plastic bags, bottles, and containers.
  • Prep food ahead of time and do your shopping in bulk when possible instead of buying lots of smaller, individually packaged items. Always be aware of food and drink safety when preparing and storing for and on your trip.
  • Disposable dishes and utensils made from plastic are often associated with camping because they are light and make for a relatively easy clean up, but these cause a lot of waste which adds to what you will need to pack back out. Having a set of reusable plates, cups, bowls, utensils, and more take a little extra effort to clean between uses, but are much more sustainable. Look for multi-use items like a large mug that works for drinking and as a bowl. Invest in a set that you can reuse for camping trips, especially those made from materials like wood, bamboo, or metal. If you must use disposable items, there are ones made from compostable materials.
  • Reusable water bottles are an easy way to prevent disposable plastic bottle waste. There are ones which already have water filters inside so you can have fresh water on the go.


Toiletries are helpful when you are away from home. Bring the things you already use at home, in small refillable containers if you’re short on space. There are many sustainable and travel-friendly toiletries like toothpaste drops, and soap, conditioner, and shampoo in bar form. Instead of paper towels, bring dishcloths, rags, reusable towels.


When shopping for camping equipment, invest in reusable items of good quality if you plan to camp often. If you are a casual camper or just starting out, some sports and outdoor companies have rental programs for basic equipment to cut down on initial investment and waste. You can also buy pre owned camping supplies.


If you are staying at a campground, it may have trash or recycling available, but it is not necessarily guaranteed and may not hold much volume. Bring containers like bags or bins in which to sort your recycling, trash, and even compost for easy transport and disposal when you return home. This also cuts down on overloading trash and recycling services in camping areas.


When you return home from your trip, dispose of your trash and recycling the responsible way with Brazos Valley Trash & Recycling Services. Contact us today for more information about our services.