Top tips for being an eco-friendly camper in the UK, from foraging to reducing waste
Heading out for a camping trip this year, but still want to do your bit for the planet? Here are some tips to make a trip greener
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Camping, glamping and RVing were the staycation hits of 2021 as overseas travel remained a Covid challenge of form filling, crazy rule changes and expensive testing.
We fell in love with the British wilderness and it will be a popular choice again this year.
There are always things we can try when it comes to doing our bit for the planet, so as we start booking stays for 2022, it’s a chance to think about how we can make a camping holiday more respectful of the environment.
The changes don’t have to be big or expensive, they often just involve a little more thought before your vacation.
Aim to minimize your impact on the environment and stick to the ‘leave no trace’ principle and you’ll be doing your part to help protect nature.
We asked the experts at private motorhome rental platform PaulCamper for their top tips for a greener getaway…
Don’t be a fuel jerk
Let’s start with a simple solution: make the most of it by lightening your load, packing only the essentials, and removing unnecessary weight from your motorhome or motorhome.
Also, be sure to check tire pressure regularly and follow your manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule. When a tire is not inflated properly, the vehicle works harder to move, which means it uses more fuel. More mpg is kinder to the planet…and your wallet!
Save your energy
Just as we try to reduce energy consumption at home by checking smart meters, there are ways to improve things in a motorhome.
Replace normal bulbs and light strips with LEDs as they produce less heat and more light, all at a lower cost.
If you can, install the most energy-efficient models of appliances, such as microwave ovens and stoves. When not in use, turn off the device at the switch.
Reduce the use of air conditioning in hot weather by parking in the shade. On colder days, look for a spot with direct sunlight so you don’t have to use your heater as much. And consider an RV heater that uses solar energy.
Other solar-powered equipment you can use include small-scale torches and built-in roof panels or mobile panels / roll-up solar covers that you can place where needed to absorb as much light as possible.
Watch your waste
It can be difficult to keep track of all your trash on the go and in a small space. Always follow the “leave no trace” principle when moving from place to place.
Inspect your surroundings, check that you have all your belongings and make sure that all your waste has been kept or disposed of.
Here are ways to make it easier.
- Bring reusable containers to store leftovers to ensure no food goes to waste.
- Buy less packaged supermarket and grocery products, so you have less packaging to throw away.
- Don’t forget a refillable water bottle – many campsites end up littered with plastic water bottles or, worse, end up in the ocean if not recycled properly.
- Try to eliminate single-use disposable items such as cutlery and plastic cups. If you have no choice, recycle these items properly.
Waste also includes human waste – and the most efficient way to dispose of it is to use a proper toilet, whether that’s a motorhome or campground facility.
If you don’t have access to it, it’s important to familiarize yourself with ways to properly and carefully dispose of human waste in nature.
It should always be thrown away from water (at least 30 meters) and placed in a hole in the ground, away from campsites and trails.
With a garden trowel, dig a hole 6 to 8 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches in diameter, then cover and disguise it with natural materials when you’re done.
If you are camping in a group or in the same place for more than one night, scatter the holes over a wide area.
The same goes for dog droppings. Campsites may have dog trash cans.
If you’re going off the beaten path on a hike, don’t leave it bagged by the side of the road or hanging from a tree. Invest in a hard dog poop container that attaches to your backpack, or if your dog wears a backpack when you’re hiking, you can stow the bag in one of the side pockets.
Finally, canine waste can be buried like human waste, following the same rules.
Bring separate clear bags for trash and recyclables so you can keep them separate as you go.
It also allows easy sorting at recycling centers.
Pay attention to the regulations in the areas you pass through so you know what you can and cannot recycle, as each campsite may have different rules. And be prepared to take your recycling home, as not all sites have the proper facilities.
Do your best to respect wildlife and their environment – do not interfere and always observe from a safe distance.
Don’t give them human food, even if you have leftovers and think it will be wasted. This will lead animals to depend on their food, which interferes with their natural foraging behaviors.
It could also cause animals to steal food from campsites and, more seriously, have consequences for animal health.
Staying in designated areas is important when being an eco-friendly camper.
Resist the temptation to go off the beaten path and stick to designated campsites and approved walking trails.
Not only does this avoid disturbing the area and causing damage to nature, but you also protect yourself from potential danger from any animals.
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Whether you are looking for berries or mushrooms, there are several rules and regulations you need to follow.
- Don’t strip an entire location of all its produce – don’t take more than you plan to consume.
- You may not be the only one looking for food, so make sure there is enough for wildlife to survive and plants to regenerate and reproduce as well.
- Respect the allocated paths so as not to trample or damage the areas. Be careful not to damage the roots of the plants, as uprooting can harm them.
- Some species of plants and fungi are endangered or rare, so familiarize yourself with them before looking for food. Some plants and mushrooms are protected by law and it is illegal to pick them.
- Always make sure that foraging is allowed in the areas you go to.
And if you pick plants on land located away from public roads, a permit must be obtained, otherwise you will be in violation.
Remember that foraging is only allowed for wild plants, so be sure to stay away from anything that has been planted by humans.
Visit paulcamper.co.uk for more information and camping tips.