The Zero Waste Camp Kitchen

Scouts and other youth groups spend a lot of time in nature. After every activity and every evening in camp they usually pick up all the litter. But why go picking it all up if you can just avoid all the rubbish?

Especially camp kitchens end up with an unbelievable amount of rubbish. Cheap products are popular and they are all wrapped in plastic. This article aims to show you that a (almost) Zero Waste camp kitchen is not only possible but also fun.

The main figures: 3 days, 25 individuals, 6 meals and a tiny little bit of rubbish.

What kind of rubbish was there?

  • Stickers from the veggies, that weren’t available at the Farmer’s market
  • Plastic lid from some spices
  • Tea bag wrappings (the tea bags came out of the storage box)
  • Not on the picture: butter wrapping

But, how does it work?

Tips for a Zero Waste camp kitchen

First things first: you need to prepare. Think about where you will buy your ingredients when planning the menu. The most important tips here:

Pre-order: Small butcheries, local bakeries and farmers may not always have big amounts ready. It’s best if you call them ahead and pre-order. Tell them that you will be bringing your own containers and bags.

Organise containers and bags: Maybe the producer can give you a reusable container. If you are staying outdoors it is important to get water- und airtight reusable packaging. This way everything will stay dry even if it’s rainy.

Contact local famers: Getting your food from a local farmer will not only save you time, but you will always have fresh food. Don’t you know any farmers in the vicinity? You can find farm shops on (in German). In the shop you can ask them for dairy farmers, which are not in the online list.

Here some tips to go easy on your budget:

DIY: Bags or bee’s wraps are easy to make. You can get old sheets super cheap in the laundry of a hospital.

Why should you buy tea? Nature offers lots of material for tasty beverages: berries, elderflowers, lime blossom, stinging nettle etc.

You can make your own dish soap from ivy. You can find a recipe on (in German).

Prevent food waste: Tell a grocery store nearby about your project. Maybe you can get free fruits and veggies, which would otherwise go to waste.

Have you had Zero Waste experiences in camps? We would love to hear from you.