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How green is your camp out???

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Scout fish pointed out that they use paper plates and plastic utensils on their camp outs.


Took me back to my first cub family camp.


We generated 6 bags of trash a day, for a total of 25 bags total for the weekend. An incredible amount of garbage and 90% of it was paper plates, cups and the like. I was embarrassed at the waste and knew we needed to change.


We have since gone to 100% reusable dinnerware. It was a hard sell to the families but it worked. We still had a couple bring their own disposable but after being put on trash duty for the weekend they thought better. Each family brings their own plates, cups and flatware.


we went from 25 bags of trash to 3, and they were put in the trash just to keep the critters out of them, not because they were full.


Benefits for the troop is that all of the boys typically have mess kits and understand meal time expectations before the enter the troop. They understand how to properly wash and manage their mess kit.


We also steer our families away from the single family tent mansions.



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I practiced LNT and "green" stuff long before it became the politically correct thing to say. Doing is a whole different animal.


1) Hauling out large bags of garbage isn't my idea of a good thing. I don't want that mess in my vehicle to stink it up for the 4 hour ride home as it leaks whatever into the carpet of my van.


2) I don't like the idea that the campfire seconds as a burn dump.


3) A mess kit is the epitome of recyclable cook/dinner-ware.


30 years ago everyone brought their own plates, cups and silverware to a potluck. Now no one does. The move to a "greener" attitude just doesn't bode well in a hypocritical environment. What we have experienced in this area is a lot of lip-service, but a reversal of actual practice.


Your mileage may vary.



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No plastic water bottles, only refillable / refilled.

No paper plates or other disposable dishware.

No paper towels (in truth - one roll exists on a campout). The boys are to bring dishtowels instead.


The patrols (and adults) still waste too much food I think. We are getting better on that.

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If it is a backpack we pack it in and out (except we do dig cat holes) so that is always far less than one 33 gallon trash bag. Sadly we usually pick up enough litter on the trail and at campsites to fill at least one additional 33 gallon bag.


For plop camping scouts are required to bring a water bottle and mess kit so we don't have to use paper plates or plastic utensils. A mess kit can be a cool whip bowl and a spoon from Wendy's but most now use squishy bowls or hand me down old aluminum BSA mess kits. Patrol boxes have spare plates and plastic coffee cups if a scout forgets his mess kit. If you forget your mess kit you get to wash the dishes for your patrol so it seldom happens. We do use foil and stuff like that on a plop camp when cooking. We compact our trash in the Philmont way so it all fits in less than one trash bag.(This message has been edited by knot head)

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Nothing like hauling 5 cases of water to help weigh down the trailer for 3 hours because an adult doesn't like the taste of water from the pump at camp...


Then half filled water bottles litter the camp and they did poorly on their inspection.



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We discussed it, but not everybody was on board with scouts using their own mess kits.


I was all for it as well as several other leaders.

But you know how it is....There are always just enough leaders who didn't get on board with the idea.


They are worried that:


1)A scout might lose his kit.

2)A scout or parent won't wash it good enough.

3)They are worried that the leaders will end up washing a ton of mess kits.


I said:


1) GREAT! It will teach them responcibility!

2) They will learn from that mistake.



We even talked about using those corn fiber plates that will breakdown in no time flat in the ground or if you wet them enough, but somebody freaked out about the cost.


So.....here we are , using paper plates and paper cups.


At least we can burn them in our campfire and not pack them up in plastic bags that go to the landfill, but there is still the issue of plastic forks and knives.


I think we will bring it up to a vote again next year. See what happens then.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We do better at some campouts than others but we composted our food scraps recycled out metal and plastic washed out dishes and silver but had disposable cups at our family feast (cooked 8 turkeys and one was a trash can turkey)

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Scoutfish.....ya know your not supposed to burn your trash. Supporting links following.










I think it is a scream that they Pack won't change. Oh well I was gonna say it was none of my business, but in reality it is......So goes one of us, so goes all of us.


How many times have we heard about those terrible scouts????? More than I care too.


I hope you change your practices so it does not reflect on the rest of scouting.


Btw, every family in our pack is responsible for their personal mess gear. and each den is assigned clean up of kitchen gear after the meal. We can prepare and clean up for a meal in less than an hour for 60 people.


I would keep working on them.


BSA or walmart mess kits are a terrible idea, we recommend cheap large plastic bowls or recycled whip cream containers. Work great don't conduct heat, a mug and a spoon or fork.


Just because you don't have a couple of leaders on board, doesn't make it right. I would not put it up for a vote.


I did it in our pack, had a couple of moms bring their own paper plates and had to haul trash to the dumpster for the weekend. that ended it.


(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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I would love to make our pack camp outs and pack meetings more green. It is one of my goals for this year. Hopefully pointing out that buying disposables for our pack for the year is more expensive than investing in a set of reusable plates, water bottles or cups and cloth napkins will be convincing.



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For Pack meetings I bought bright orange close out plastic cups and plates for our Pack to use for snacks. I have two totes of them we take to our pack meeting. I got them at walmart they were on close out and they ended up being a dime a piece.


We had our christmas party last week......we did not have a full bag of trash, even with the christmas gift exchange.......

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That is what I plan to do, pick up re-usable plates and cups on clearance after Christmas, they should be cheap enough. We have a full church kitchen where we hold pack meetings, it shouldn't be a big deal. And I can bring napkins home to wash. I need to work on flatware, though, right now we have a lifetime supply of plastic forks, knives and spoons.

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