Clean Camping for Kids – Responsible Recreation for Your Family - Recycle BC

Clean Camping for Kids – Responsible Recreation for Your Family

Clean camping is about showing the next generation of campers that responsible recreation and recycling is fun for the whole family, and important for preserving the environment. By teaching kids to pack lean and leave clean, you’re ensuring that the next generation continues to protect our natural wonders so everyone can enjoy them. Camping clean doesn’t have to be a chore–check out these responsible recreation tips for family trips.

family with kids sitting by lake

Recruit Your Pack Lean Team! 

Any family can be the Pack Lean Team, all you have to do is minimize your camping waste by preparing ahead of time and packing smart. Here are some packing lean items any family member can help with:

  • Preparing meals by taking off plastic overwrap found on food like burger buns 
  • Putting bulk foods into reusable containers (this will save space too!)
  • Filling a large water jug (instead of small water bottles)
  • Packing reusable cups, cutlery and plates (to make cleanup extra easy, use a separate reusable bag or container for utensils and plates so you can drop them in and be done!) 

When your family gets involved in preparing before you get there they learn hands-on how to minimize waste from the start.


Find the Answers to the Clean Camper Pop Quiz! Can I Recycle it? 

Have you ever looked at a carton or a wrapper and been stumped about whether it can be recycled? Here’s your chance to get the whole family involved in finding the answer. 

Here are a few to get you started:

Question: Can you recycle bubble wrap? 

Answer: Yes! It can be added to your flexible plastics for recycling 

Question: Can you recycle a plastic squeeze tube, like for sunscreen or toothpaste?

Answer: No (or not yet)


Question: Where do you recycle a carton for milk?

Answer: in your home recycling with your containers (not paper products), or at a recycling depot


Learn what’s recyclable and how to dispose of your camping waste together by visiting our What Can I Recycle page for the complete guide on where and how to recycle in BC, including a PDF download of our accepted material list available in six languages. You can quiz the whole family as you set up in the outdoors and when you pack up at the end of your trip.

Find a Recycle BC depot near your home or your campsite with our map at


Appoint Nature’s Ambassadors 

Make your family ambassadors for nature! Learning about plants and wildlife while they’re in the great outdoors is a fun and educational way to ensure your family is invested in protecting the environment. Many Federal and Provincial parks have information about flora and fauna in the area on signs and apps like iNaturalist Canada will help you identify and learn about nature while you’re outdoors.

Pro Tip! If you see materials that haven’t been disposed of properly while setting up your tent or hiking on a trail, use this as a teachable moment for your kids about what not to do by collecting the item and showing them where it goes. 


Designate a Clean Up Crew

No litter left behind is our motto—give each person a job on the Clean Up Crew by putting them in charge of organizing and checking on a type of recyclable material while you’re outdoors. For example, someone can be in charge of collecting and storing flexible plastics for returning to a depot on the way home, while another can gather cardboard and paper recycling for your recycling bin at home. Make sure it’s everyone’s job to scour the grounds for any recyclables or waste materials left behind at the end of your stay.


Plan a Recycle BC depot stop for the trip home

The best way to learn is by example. There are over 200 depot locations around BC where you can drop off your plastic, metal, glass packaging, and paper for recycling. Plan a stop at your local Recycle BC depot, or London Drugs store, and show your kids how easy it is to drop off your recycling. You can find a depot here.


Drop off your flexible plastics together–no sorting necessary 

Guess what? No more sorting flexible plastics. Now you can drop off plastic bags, plastic overwrap, stand-up and zipper-lock pouches, wrappers, and more flexible plastics together at a Recycle BC depot.

Flexible plastics that are accepted include: 

  • Crinkle wrappers, like granola bars, candy, popsicles, and chips
  • Zipper-lock and stand-up pouches used for dried nuts, berries, and granola
  • Flexible packages with a plastic seal for prepackaged cheese and deli meats 
  • Plastic bags for bread, produce, and groceries
  • Overwrap for pop flats, paper towels, or toilet paper
  • Shrink wrap 
  • Zipper-lock sandwich and snack bags
  • Woven plastic bags for fruits and vegetables 
  • Protective packaging from items like crackers and seaweed snacks

To see the full list of what we accept, visit

Have fun with the whole family in the great outdoors, and don’t forget to Pack Lean, Leave Clean!