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Packing Lean and Leaving Clean Overnight

The payoff of an overnight camping trip is sleeping under the stars here in beautiful BC. How you prepare for your night out in nature is where you can really shine. An overnight camping trip requires smart planning – including how you will dispose of your recyclables and waste. Learn how to pack lean and leave clean for your next sleepover with Mother Nature.

child and parent sitting at a camp fire

Pack Lean! Reduce packaging so you have less to bring home

For an overnight or multi-day camping trip, from coffee to dinner, you’ll need to plan your meals in advance. This can reduce the amount of packaging you’ll bring with you and also put you in the mindset of consolidating your supplies for easier travelling. = Reusable containers will likely be your go-to for food storage but there may be some hidden gems in your blue box at home. Hard plastic containers can be emptied and rinsed to store snacks like mixed nuts, candy, etc. Other items you can reuse before recycling at home or the depot include:

  • Glass bottles and jars for drinking water or juice
  • Resealable or zipper lock plastic pouches for snacks, cooking seasoning, etc.
  • Cardboard boxes to neatly pack your supplies in a vehicle
  • Plastic bags to collect material that can be returned to a depot

Reusable plates and cutlery are light, easy-to-clean and a good investment for future camping trips if you enjoy the outdoors, not to mention it reduces the amount of plastic and paper to recycle at the end of your camping trip. If you’re camping as a group, offer to bring extras for less experienced campers who may not have invested in these items yet. 

Psst–don’t forget the dog! Pet food packaging can be managed with the same attention as your own meals.

Plan how to store and recycle packaging during your trip

Knowing whether an item is being dropped at a recycling depot or going into your home recycling makes collecting and storing your recyclables easier. For example, packing smaller flexible plastics, like instant noodle wrappers and chip bags, into a larger plastic bag for easy drop-off at the depot. Make sure you separate plastic bags from other flexible plastic in their proper bins at the depot.

Visit our What Can I Recycle page for the complete guide on where and how to recycle in BC. 

two people camping on a mountain top

Rinse your recyclables before storing them 

Bear with us – rinsing out your recyclables could save you an unwanted encounter with wildlife! At home, emptying and rinsing containers reduces risk of recycling contamination. On the road when you’re camping, it can keep your campsite tidy, save you time when you’re packing up to Leave Clean, and is also good safety practice to not attract local wildlife visitors to your campsite. Food waste includes beverages as well, you’ll want to rinse beverage cans and any reusable cups you have as well.

Plan a Recycle BC depot stop on the trip home

There are over 200 depot locations around BC where you can drop off your plastic, metal, glass packaging and paper for recycling. Plan a Recycle BC depot stop on your trip home. You can find a depot using the map on our website, or download the Recycle BC app. Use it to search nearby depot locations as well as double-check what’s accepted and where it goes with our Waste Wizard search tool.

Enjoy your stay in nature and remember to Pack Lean, Leave Clean!