outdoors
Outdoor How-To

Biodegradable Camping Supplies

If you’re going camping, chances are you are a nature lover, and being in the bush has a calming and relaxing effect.  Good for both physical and mental health.

However, while enjoying the great outdoors, it is our responsibility to keep the environment clean, prevent harmful substances from entering our pristine surroundings, and employ “leave no trace” philosophies wherever we go. 

Whether intentionally or not, we might leave a trace, although it wouldn’t be as obvious in some instances as others. For example, washing our dishes with non-biodegradable liquid would have chemicals seep into streams and rivers and pollute the waterways, potentially harming aquatic life. 

Environmentally-friendly supplies is usually made from natural or recycled materials that don’t contain harmful chemicals or additives. Just by switching to eco-friendly gear, especially with soap, shampoo, and toilet paper, we can minimize our impact on the environment and reduce our footprint. 

In this article, we’ll look at all the supplies you need to go camping and how you can make better choices so we can preserve our gorgeous planet for generations to come. 

Biodegradable Camping Supplies to Consider

Biodegradable Soap

If you’re camping and hiking, you’re going to want soap, or your tent mates might violently object! Not only do you need to shower, you’ll also want to give your hands a good scrub every once in a while especially if you’re going to handle food.biodegradable camping soap

Biodegradable soap has much fewer chemical additives and synthetics than regular soap. This is beneficial for the environment because it causes the soap to decompose quickly and break down naturally without causing harm to the environment. 

All soaps made from natural materials without harmful ingredients can be considered biodegradable if they break down to 90% water, carbon dioxide, and biomass within six months. Some harmful materials in regular soap, on the other hand, can take years to biodegrade.

Regular soaps have synthetic surfactants of petrochemical origins, while biodegradable soaps contain surfactants of natural origin such as vegetables and animal fats. This is harmful because the soap suds of regular soap enter a body of water; it causes damage to the mucus layer of the aquatic animals. 

Regular soap shouldn’t be thrown in the woods, rivers, or oceans because the antibacterial and antifungal agents, fragrances and preservatives found in regular soap can cause harm to the naturally occurring bacteria and algae found in nature thus harming the ecosystem. 

It also works on your pots and pans, if you are bringing a camp cooking stove along and will have dirty dishes to do.

It’s best to use a non-toxic, biodegradable soap for your camping or hiking trips. You can choose to make your own soap or buy biodegradable soap like Campsuds, which as the name implies is specifically formulated for the outdoors.

Some benefits of using Campsuds soap are:

  • They use biodegradable formula
  • A little goes a long way
  • They are BPA-Free
  • Formulated without parabens, phthalates, silicon, and sulfates
  • They don’t use any form of dye

Find Campsuds here. 

Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper

Regardless of how long your camping trip is, toilet paper is an absolute must if you want to enjoy the outdoors in relative comfort. 

Be sure to make a conscious choice when deciding which toilet paper you will bring along. Although all toilet paper is in a way biodegradable because it eventually breaks down, dissolvable toilet paper, or biodegradable toilet paper, breaks down and decomposes much quicker than standard toilet paper. camping

Even if you’re burying toilet paper, it is much safer for the environment if you use biodegradable toilet paper.

While standard tissues are made using virgin trees with a mix of 70% hardwood and 30% softwood, biodegradable toilet paper is made from more sustainable sources like sugar cane paper, bamboo paper, hemp, or kenaf.

In most cases, toilet paper takes about one month to decompose, but in the wrong conditions, it can take from one to three years for it to fully decompose. This all depends on factors such as the thickness of the tissue, water availability, and the weather conditions it’s been exposed to. 

The use of toilet paper is harming our planet more than we think, think of all the trees being cut down in order to fill the demand for toilet paper in the world. An average American uses around 100 rolls per year, and with how many people there are in the US, that’s a lot of toilet paper! 

The world is already facing deforestation problems and us flushing almost 27,000 trees down the toilet isn’t going to help. That’s not even the worse part! Most of the wood used to make toilet paper is taken from virgin forests to create fresh soft pulp, which after being pumped with chemicals is turned into paper. 

The chemicals used to make toilet paper are then left to rot in septic tanks or they make their way into a water treatment center. And not all chemicals can be removed in these water treatment centers.

A good organic brand to use biodegradable toilet paper from is Green Forest Premium Unscented Bathroom Tissues.  (you can find it here on Amazon).

Some things we like about Green Forest are: 

  • Their toilet paper is made from 100% recycled paper fiber and a minimum of 90% post-consumer recycled content
  • Whitened without chlorine – processed chlorine–free 
  • Biodegradable, safe to use in septic systems
  • Hypoallergenic and contains no added fragrances or dyes
  • More sheets and larger sheet sizes as compared with other brands

Biodegradable Camping Shampoo 

Whether you are hiking, camping, or backpacking, you will eventually require shampoo to get some of that grime off.  Part of outdoor hygiene is keeping yourself relatively clean.  The type of shampoo you use will flow into the earth and have a direct impact on the environment so you should choose carefully. biodegradable shampoo

Normal hair care products are made with chemicals like phosphates and sulfates that don’t break down while 90% of biodegradable shampoos and conditioners will break down into water and carbon dioxide within 6 months. 

These products are not harsh on the environment and will not negatively affect the ecosystem. Most shampoos also contain antibacterial ingredients that help extend their shelf life but are also toxic to the environment once they’ve been disposed of. 

The main difference between normal shampoos and biodegradable ones is that biodegradable shampoos are completely natural and deprived of sustainable materials and don’t contain toxic synthetic material. They break down into non-toxic particles and don’t harm nature and minimize our environmental impact.

Although you may use natural shampoos, you must also be aware of the plastic bottle that it’s being put in. Plastic is non-biodegradable, fills our landfills and harms the environment and ocean life negatively. A good alternative is using Sea-to-Summit shampoo, which is a biodegradable concentrate.

We like Sea-to-Summit because:

  • It’s made with clean ingredients
  • Plastic free
  • Long-lasting

The con is that it doesn’t include any conditioner, but hey — you are camping!

Find it here.

Biodegradable Garbage Bags

Of course, all of us employ the “leave no trace” philosophy when being out in the bush. You should never leave anything behind that could affect wildlife and the environment. If you’re packing out your trash, you’re going to need something to pack it out in. biodegradable trash bag

Normal garbage bags contain loads of chemicals and heavy metals that cause many problems when the plastic in them starts to break down and the chemicals and metals in them seep into the ground and pollute the earth and water. Another harmful aspect is when animals eat the small broken-down plastic pieces and get sick.

Biodegradable garbage bags, on the other hand, break down when they are exposed to sunlight and heat. The difference between the two is the materials used to make them and how fast each garbage bag breaks down. 

There are many benefits of using biodegradable garbage bags like you help reduce the plastic waste problem that’s affecting millions in the world. The manufacturing processes for all biodegradable products use much fewer carbon emissions than that for raw material plastics. Just be sure that what you put inside the trash bags is as eco-friendly, too.  Think freeze dried food packages or protein bar wrappers.

The main components for biodegradable bags are plants. This is beneficial because they create fewer carbon emissions when they biodegrade. Since eco-friendly plastics are made with more natural ingredients, it makes them easier to recycle than the raw material plastics that filled with colors, fillers, and other 

A good brand to use when looking for eco-friendly garbage bags is Primode (here on Amazpon). Their bags are made with corn and vegetable starch which breaks down without harming the environment. They are reasonably priced and come in a selection of sizes to suit your every need. 

The bags by Green Paper Products are also very good, based on our testing.

Environmentally-Friendly Toilet Bags

It is very challenging to find a decent, clean washroom if you’re camping in the open ground. And not all of us lug a shovel around to dig holes to do our thing. Needing to use the washroom is natural and if you can’t find a washroom available, you’re going to have to improvise. camping toilet bag

Always remember to bring toilet bags with you on your trip. If you’re environmentally conscious then you should also choose biodegradable toilet bags and not degradable bags. 

This is because degradable bags are made up of plastic and other chemicals that cause the plastic to break down into hundreds of little pieces of plastic due to exposure to heat and sunlight. This is problematic because animals sometimes consume small pieces of plastic and get into loads of trouble. 

Biodegradable bags are normally scented bags that can decompose in green-type waste. Some products include a powder that turns your waste into a gel-like substance to prevent spills and leaks and is so much more environmentally friendlier to dispose of. 

You only need to bury your waste in biodegradable waste bags and it will naturally decompose in the soil. This is because most of these eco-friendly bags are made with plant-derived resins, vegetable oils, and compostable polymers. 

The bags are very thin and begin to naturally decompose within 10 days or break down after contact with water. Trail Essential toilet bags (here on Amazon) are the perfect waste bags to use because they are eco-friendly, 100% biodegradable, compostable, and easy to dispose of. 

Camping Utensils

You’re going to have to eat! And you might not want to lug around your metal utensils from home, and you certainly don’t want to use single-use plastic utensils. 

Our first suggestion is that you have a simple set of reusable utensils and wash them.  But if that is not feasible, there are other options.biodegradable fork camping

Biodegradable utensils are utensils, such as forks, spoons, and knives, that are made from materials that can be broken down, decomposed, and returned to the environment by natural processes. 

These types of utensils are environmentally friendly because they don’t contribute to pollution or waste in the same way that non-biodegradable utensils do.

There are a few different materials that can be used to make biodegradable utensils, including:

Bamboo – Bamboo is a sustainable resource that grows quickly and requires little water or pesticides to grow. It can be used to make biodegradable utensils that are strong and durable, yet can be easily broken down in a composting environment.

Cornstarch – Cornstarch is a biodegradable material that can be used to make utensils that are strong and durable yet will break down in a matter of months or years.

Wood – Wood is a natural material that can be used to make biodegradable utensils. It will break down in a composting environment, although it may take longer than other biodegradable materials.

Natural rubber – Natural rubber is a biodegradable material that can be used to make utensils. It is durable and will break down in a composting environment over time.

Biodegradable utensils are a great alternative to non-biodegradable utensils, such as plastic utensils, which can take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill. By using biodegradable utensils like these wooden forks by EcoVita (on Amazon), you can help reduce waste and pollution and protect the environment.

Final Thoughts on Eco-Friendly Camping 

If you’re an avid camper, chances are you enjoy the outdoors and revel in being nestled in nature. Let’s try to give others the same enjoyment and keep any signs of trash far away from them.  Avoid plastic, try to pack-in and pack-out, and be sensitive to the natural surroundings.

If we have the opportunity to enjoy pristine nature, it is only fair that we preserve it for others as well. By making a few tweaks and some smart purchasing choices, we can enjoy our nights under the stars guilt-free! 

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