10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste While Camping

Single-use plastics have become a hot topic lately. Our earth is slowly becoming littered with them and you may find yourself wondering how you can cut back and create less plastic waste. In January we are releasing our new UCO Ware Mess Kits and Spork sets and they have many uses that can help you avoid creating more plastic waste in the outdoors and your day-to-day life.

1. Use Mess Kits to store food while camping.

Instead of packing up all of the food you plan to eat in sandwich bags, bowls with cling wrap, or other single-use plastics, pack it in your Mess Kits! They can store your food and also have multiple uses throughout your camping trip.

Camping Mess Kit and spork Uco

2. Avoid disposable plates and cutlery by using the Mess Kits and Spork Set while camping.

No one wants to carry glass dishes or metal silverware while camping. It’s easy to fall into the trap of picking up paper plates and plastic silverware for every camping trip you go on, but this just creates a lot of waste that ends up in a landfill. To avoid this, utilize both sides of the Mess Kits as plates for anyone on the trip with you. Pack a spork set as well to avoid any plastic cutlery.

3. Buy dehydrated backpacking food in bulk and store it in the mess kit while backpacking.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of buying prebagged dehydrated meals and throwing a pouch into your pack every time you go backpacking, but it also leads to more waste. There are a lot of easy recipes to make your own dehydrated meals, but if you don’t have the time to do this, a lot of backpacking meals are offered in bulk! You can buy your favorite dehydrated meals and portion it out into the mess kit before a trip. Boil your water, add it to the dehydrated food in your mess kit, shut the lid and let it rehydrate., then enjoy your waste-free dinner!

Ingredient Shots Creamy Tuna

4. Make trail snacks in bulk and use the Mess Kit to store them at home.

Bars and energy chews make great snacks on the trail, but they lead to a lot of packaging waste. It’s super easy to make your own and you can use the mess kit to store them at home as opposed to sandwich bags or cling wrap. When you are ready to hit the trail just grab your already packed mess kit filled with your tasty homemade snacks. They will be healthier than any prepackaged item you buy and will create less plastic waste.

5. Use your Mess Kit to pack out micro trash at the end of your backpacking trip.

When backpacking, most people store their trash in a disposable freezer bag or in a leftover dehydrated meal pouch. If you followed the tips above utilizing the mess kit, you shouldn’t have too much trash.  Once your trip is done, the mess kit is a great place to store any micro trash while navigating back to the trailhead. Remember if you packed it in, you also need to pack it out!

Woman in Mountains and Mess Kit


UCO 6 Piece Mess Kit

6. Use mess kits to store your lunch for work.

It may seem obvious but making your lunch at home and bringing it to work not only saves you money, but it also saves you from creating more waste. Even more so when you store your sandwich or meal in a Mess Kit over a sandwich bag or other single-use item!

7. Carry it with you to package up leftovers when eating out.

Carry your Mess Kit with you everywhere, you never know when you will need it! The spork often comes in handy when eating out and there are only single-use plastic utensils available.  The mess kit itself is great for packaging up leftovers without using the single-use option the restaurant has on hand. Eating out feels more guilt-free with a Mess Kit in tow.

Woman pouring almonds into oatmeal

8. Do nothing because the Five Piece Bamboo Elements Mess Kit is made of natural materials.

If you purchase the Bamboo Elements mess kit, rest easy and know you are already doing your part to avoid plastic products. It’s made out of 90% natural content (bamboo-infused polymer). It’s a little heavier than the Four Piece Mess Kit, but the weight is worth it if you are trying to avoid plastic entirely.

9. Bring it to the farmers market for fresh food storage.

A lot of items in grocery stores are packaged in plastic when they don’t need to be. Deli meats, cheeses, produce, the list goes on. Instead, try a local farmer’s market! Many items aren’t packaged at all and you can bring along your mess kits to store those items. If you don’t have a good farmers market near you, you can also bring your mess kits to the deli counter at your grocery store and ask for meats and cheeses to be put in there.

Paella Plated

10. Avoid plastic cling film/sandwich bags at home by using Mess Kits to store extra food items.

Only need half of an onion for the recipe you are working on? Don’t bag the other half, grab the mess kit and store it there! Simple changes like this in your daily life can make a huge impact on the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our landfills.

It can seem super daunting at first to limit all the single-use plastics in your life, but these small steps can lead to a huge difference. That’s why are proud to offer our new Mess Kits and Spork Sets to help you reduce plastic waste and have a positive impact on the planet. You can purchase UCO Ware beginning early 2019 and we hope you will be as excited about these items as we are!