‘Pack Lean’ Camping Tips for Food - Recycle BC

‘Pack Lean’ Camping Tips for Food

This summer camping season in BC, learn how to pack lean and practice responsible outdoor recreation. Responsible recreation means trying to preserve our environment when we spend time in nature, so our parks and outdoor spaces can be enjoyed by everyone for decades to come. Many campers and outdoor adventure-seekers can tell you that the easiest way to leave nature the way you found it, is to prepare before you pack your food and camping gear. This way, you can return home with as little waste and as few disposables as possible.

family packing car for camping trip


Below are some easy tips and tricks on how to prepare so you can pack lean! 

Prep food before you pack

Seasoned campers know it’s a good idea to plan your meals ahead of time, but if you also prep your food ahead of time, you’ll reduce your waste as well as maximizing your time to kick back and enjoy the outdoors!

Chopping vegetables, making salsa and prepping food for the BBQ is fun the whole family can take part in.


Pack bulk foods in reusable containers

No need to bring the whole box or bag, instead minimize your waste by packing bulk food (like trail mix, veggies, pasta and snacks) in reusable plastic storage containers or glass containers when possible. And any hard plastic or paper packaging you did have can stay home in your recycling bins/bags.


Bring reusable plates and cutlery

If you love camping or even just dining outdoors, reusable plates and cutlery are light, easy-to-clean and a good investment for future excursions, not to mention it reduces the amount of plastic and paper to recycle at the end of your camping trip.


Bring a large water jug (rather than small single-use water bottles) 

If you’re packing up the car for the weekend, a flat of water bottles can seem like an easy option, but by bringing one large jug of water with reusable cups and water bottles instead, you’ll drastically reduce the amount of single-use plastics to collect for your trip home. 


Plan to use larger plastic or paper bags and reusable containers to pack up recyclables

Packaging and paper materials can be stored in paper bags, reusable bags or cardboard boxes for recycling at home or at a Recycle BC depot. Discover all the items you can recycle here.

Pro tip! If you need extra space to store your recycling for the trip home, an empty cooler makes a great recycling bin on the road.

As you empty food from plastic bags on your trip, pack smaller flexible plastics, like zipper-lock pouches and energy bar wrappers into the bigger bags, like grocery bags or chip bags so they’re easy to drop off at a Recycle BC depot on your way home.


Drop off your flexible plastics together–no sorting necessary 

Guess what? No more sorting plastics. You can now bring your flexible plastics to the depot and drop them off together.

Flexible plastics that are accepted include: 

  • Plastic bags for bread and groceries
  • Plastic outer-bags and overwrap 
  • Crinkly wrappers and bags, like granola bars and chips
  • Zipper-lock and stand-up pouches used for snacks and freeze-dried meals
  • Flexible packaging with a plastic seal for pre-packaged deli snacks or stuffed pasta
  • Woven plastic bags or fruits and vegetables 
  • Protective packaging for items like crackers and seaweed snacks

To see the full list of what we accept, visit RecycleBC.ca/FlexiblePlastics

parent and child sitting at campfire

Plan a Recycle BC depot stop for the trip home

There are over 200 depot locations around BC where you can drop off your packaging and paper for recycling.. Plan a stop at your local Recycle BC depot, or London Drugs store. You can find a depot here.

Enjoy your time in nature, and don’t forget to Pack Lean, Leave Clean!