If you’ve ever traveled to a campsite and found it messed up by the last campers that spent time there, you know just how frustrating it can be. There’s nothing more disrespectful than treating the planet like a garbage can. Even though you don’t leave trash behind whenever you camp, you may be doing things that are equally damaging to the environment without even realizing it. That’s when you take a step back, rethink your behavior, and correct your actions, so future generations can enjoy the same beautiful campgrounds you once did with your family.

Here are some of the things that make a camping trip environmentally-friendly:

1. Pack your own snacks and meals in reusable containers and bottles.

Individual packages create unnecessary waste. They’re completely unneeded, too, if you plan what you and your family will eat in advance. You can place snacks and meals in reusable containers and carry refillable water bottles. That way, you’re not making a bigger mess than needed nor are you creating added expense because you’re able to buy in bulk.

2. Bring trash bags for taking your own trash out, compost, and recycle as much as possible.

Be responsible for the waste you create. If it can be put into the compost pail, do so. If it can be recycled, make sure that you prevent it from going into the landfill.

3. Use biodegradable soap and toothpaste.

Keep at least 200 feet of distance away from water sources when using products that biodegrade. That way, you don’t contaminate things. When it rains, water washes what was in the soil into streams, rivers, and lakes.

4. Teach your kids the value of a clean campsite.

Get your children to pitch in with clean-up. Ask them to report any dumping of trash they come across when exploring the area. Carry extra gloves in their size to help remove garbage that others left behind.

Protect the natural environment you love to camp in by cleaning up your own act. The things that you’re doing at your campsite can help or hurt the planet. Make it a point to change your ways, so you’re able to enjoy camping at your favorite locations for years to come.