A weekend camping in the woods is a great way to reconnect with the outdoors. Thank your host - Mother Nature - by leaving your campsite as you found it or even better than it was when you set up camp with these tips.
1. Bring only what you need with you to reduce unnecessary trash. Prepackage ingredients ahead of time in reusable containers. Not only does it save materials and reduce trash, it can help reduce wasted food. Plus, it saves you prep time at the campsite!
2. Recycle on the road. Bring along a travel recycle container to collect plastics and other items you can recycle back home. Many campgrounds also now have big recycling bins right next to the trash bins to save you the step.
3. Think reusable. Get a big water jug and some travel water bottles to replace those individual disposable water bottles. Trade in the paper plates and plastic forks for sturdy plastic reusable tableware you can wash at the campsite. Just be sure not to dump that wash water in or near a stream or lake. Bring some cloth napkins that are less likely to blow away (you're already going to do laundry when you get home anyway).
4. Fires are for s'mores, not trash. Keep the fire ring reserved for ghost stories and s'mores, not for burning trash. Burn only firewood (and buy it local to avoid transporting tree pests like emerald ash borer).
5. Be cool with energy use. Keep the lights and air conditioners turned off when no one's in the camper to save energy.
6. Keep it clean. Before you head for home, pick up the campsite so it's clean and ready for the next camper.
For more tips, visit our Iowa Camping and Earth Day Every Day boards on Pinterest.