How to have a plastic-free camping trip

Living in a more sustainable way is something that most people are trying to achieve these days. Almost all Uk councils have a recycling scheme and companies are starting to seriously look at the impact of plastic; especially single-use.  We think this is great news!

For some people, though, sustainable living can go straight out of the window as soon as they’re thinking about holidays.  The long-distance travel, those tiny, plastic bottles of bathroom essentials, the garish, plastic inflatable you’ll inevitably pop and leave crammed in a bin somewhere…

At Alde Garden we believe even holidays can be a way to protect the planet and still have a wonderful, relaxing time.

Here are our top-tips for a more eco-friendly, plastic-free camping trip:


It’s difficult when you’re camping; you want everything sealed away to keep out damp or wildlife, you want convenience and speed but there are some great ways of reducing your plastic use on a camping trip.

Replace plastic with bamboo:

This applies to all sorts of items.  You can get reusable or single use bamboo plates, bowls and cutlery. Replacing plastic toothbrushes and cookware with the bamboo alternative is a quick and easy way to cut your use of harmful plastic. Bamboo grows quickly, swaps out CO2 in the air for oxygen and is fully degradable – it’s a no-brainer! We sell bamboo toothbrushes in our little honesty shop.

Use Bee wraps:

These beautiful, reusable food wraps are made from organic cotton soaked in beeswax and a great replacement for plastic pots and clingfilm to keep food fresh. We use these in The Sweffling White Horse – ours come from Suma Wholefoods.

Stay warm sustainably:

Lots of the products on offer to keep you toasty in your tent are made of plastic and other harmful, non-degradable materials.  Switch to natural materials like sheep’s wool canvas and bamboo fleece for a cosy night’s sleep.   Suffolk company Woolly Comforts make lambskin rugs which are a naturally great alternative to foam sleeping mats.

Ditch plastic bottles for bathroom essentials:

Bring soap instead of bottled shower gel, swap to solid shampoo bars and natural deodorants and toothpastes – choose ones in easily recycleable glass jars.  You can even make the switch from throw-away wet wipes and make-up removers to washable alternatives.

Bin the plastic bin-bags!

It’s hugely important when you’re camping to leave the site as you found it.  You want to have as little impact on the landscape and wildlife as possible.  When you’re bagging up any waste, though, why not use a biodegradble bag?  They’re just as durable as plastic and can even be found in most supermarkets now.

Refuse single use:

Using something once and then throwing it away is not only ecologiclly damaging; it economically strange!  Why buy a new bottle everytime you want a drink of water?  Buy yourself a reusable one and save money as well as the planet.  If you like your G&T with a straw there are great alternatives to plastic such as card, cornstarch or reusable metal ones. Bamboo coffee cups are not only sustainable; they’re beautiful too!

A great night’s sleep:

Most folks choose inflatable mattresses because they’re cheap and easy to pick up – but they are weighty (especially relevant if you’re going really green for your hols and travelling by train or bike), bothersome to inflate and not very long lasting. We find lots of inflatable mattresses stuffed into our bins and it really hurts our environmental conscience and ‘make do and mend’ ethos. The best choice would be a self-inflating camping mat – they are lightweight, easy to use, warmer than a blow-up bed, not so prone to punctures (and easy to fix with a basic puncture repair kit) and very comfortable. If they are a little too pricey then a simple foam camping mat is a great alternative.

written by Jess of Sampling Suffolk