Eco-Camping

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Keeping It Earth-Friendly

August is prime time for camping out in the woods or at a music festival. Communing with nature or enjoying the beat outdoors for extended periods can stress the environment—but with proper planning, it doesn’t have to.

The Association of Independent Festivals has launched its Take Your Tent Home campaign in the UK, according to Treehugger.com. The group is urging concert-goers to not discard their tents at venues and retailers to stop marketing camping gear as for single-use; festival organizers also have been asked to eliminate single-use cups, bottles and straws.

In America, MindBodyGreen.com reports that carbon credits to help offset trips to and from Lollapalooza, in Chicago, from August 1 to 4, are being offered, and Pickathon, taking place on the same days outside Portland, Oregon, will have a free bike parking lot, as well as a dedicated shuttle for cars, plus no single-use serving ware.

ChasingGreen.org advises campers to look for tents and related products made with recycled material and natural fibers like hemp, cotton, coconut husks and bamboo. Marmot, Lafuma, Sierra Designs and The North Face all use recycled materials in making their tents including coconut shells, polyester, water bottles, garment fabrics and factory yarn waste.

The website also suggests carpooling with family and friends, choosing a site that’s closer to home and packing light to reduce weight in the car, thus improving mileage. Also, if we bring trash into a campsite where there are no receptacles, leave with it. Don’t burn it in the fire, as that contributes to air pollution; instead, pack it up and dispose of it properly at home. Set up a method for collecting rainwater to use to wash dishes.

EcoWatch.com recommends bringing unbreakable, washable plates, cups, utensils and napkins, a small basin or bucket, sponge and biodegradable soap, and a bag to store items that are too dirty to reuse. Stock up on batteries to power lights and lanterns or use solar power with a LuminAID light lamp. Follow the “leave no trace” motto: no litter, smoldering fire pits, ripped-up grass, crushed bushes or repositioned boulders. Stay on marked trails, never pick plants, flowers or berries, and never harm or disturb wildlife.