Waste on the beach

kotangens/Getty Images

Six Ways To Be a Responsible Outdoor Enthusiast

May 8, 2019

By Lori Melton

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. Warmer weather means it’s time for outdoor lovers to get out and start exploring nature. Whether you’re hitting some hiking trails, going camping, rock climbing, or spending a day at the beach -- it’s important to remember to enjoy these activities responsibly.

Follow these easy tips to help make your next outdoor adventure more eco-friendly.

Practice Leave No Trace Camping

There may be no better way to experience nature’s magnificence than taking a camping trip. There are simple things you can do to respect your surroundings and ensure you leave the wilderness just the way you would like to find it. Some “leave no trace” camping principles include:

  • Don’t dispose of trash at the site. Take it back out with you.
  • Walk and camp on durable surfaces (existing campsites, established trails), instead of disturbing natural settings.
  • Respect wildlife (Watch creatures, but don’t feed, harm or bother them).
  • Protect the natural habit by camping at least 200 feet from streams and lakes.
  • Use biodegradable soap for washing dishes or yourself.
  • Don’t remove any natural item ( e.g. flowers, branches, or berries) from the campsite.

Borrow, Rent, or Repair Equipment

Manufacturing new recreational equipment uses energy, fuel and may produce chemicals. So, borrowing or swapping existing gear from friends and family members helps reduce environmental impacts. Repairing older gear or renting items from a local shop are also eco-friendly options.

Sort Recyclables and Compost Items

Some campsites and public parks have designated compost and recycling areas. Be sure to sort and deposit your waste into any appropriate bins. If you don’t see marked areas, separate your waste items and take them with you when you leave to preserve and protect the natural space.

Burn Responsibly

Roasting marshmallows at a bonfire is a popular camping activity. However, it’s important to burn responsibly. Avoid burning things which could release harmful air pollutants like trash and aluminum cans. Also, if the area you’re visiting has had a recent drought, a local fire ban may exist. Furthermore, when building a fire follow these Campfire Safety Rules from the National Park Service to help prevent wildfires.

Keep Bodies of Water Clean

If you’re hiking, biking, camping, or swimming at a stream, river, or lake, be careful not to pollute the water with chemicals from suntan oil and lotions, or insect repellant. Instead, use natural varieties of these products to protect aquatic creatures and keep the water clean. For instance, lemon eucalyptus oil is a good natural alternative to DEET-infused insect spray.

Support Eco-Conscious Product Suppliers

If you are going to buy any gear, supplies, or food for an outdoor activity or trip, support eco-conscious suppliers. A quick Google search for “eco-friendly camping gear,” “eco-friendly outdoor equipment,” or “eco-friendly grocers” should return a comprehensive listing of eco-friendly products and environmentally-conscious companies who produce or supply them.

From jackets to backpacks to sleeping bags and more, Popular Mechanics gives several great suggestions. Amazon also has a wide array of eco-friendly items including firestarter cubes, a DEET-free insect repellent LED camping lantern and more.

More #1Thing Sustainability from Entercom NY >