Our Favorite Biodegradable Products For RV Camping

Our Favorite Biodegradable Products For RV Camping

Glass bottles of biodegradable cleaning products with sliced lemon in foreground
From cleaning products to personal care products, there are a wealth of biodegradable products for camping. Photo from Shutterstock

The Best Biodegradable Products For Camping

Like most people, we got into camping because we love nature. For this reason, we want to leave as small of a footprint as possible, whether we’re camping among the California redwood trees or on a beach in Florida. For this reason, it makes good sense to use cleaning products, personal care products, and even plastic products that biodegrade and turn into something that nature can use.

Biodegradable products can easily contend with their non-biodegradable counterparts in their use and function, while leaving very little impact on the environment.

Plastic packaging considerations

Although plastic was invented in 1831, plastics came into widespread use in the 1960s and 1970s. Their popularity exploded as consumers sought cheap, disposable alternatives to traditional packaging. Since then, landfills around the world have been inundated to overflowing with all forms of plastic materials. And it’s not just landfills being filled to capacity with discarded plastic products. There’s now a man-made island in the Pacific Ocean, comprised nearly entirely of discarded plastic.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch covers an area of 617,763 square miles. For reference, that’s more than twice the size of Texas. However, there’s only one good thing about this massive floating garbage dump: It’s drawn a lot of attention to the impact of disposable plastics on the environment.

After the discovery of the so-called GPGP went mainstream, the demand for biodegradable alternatives to plastic products became hard for manufacturers to ignore. The development of a multitude of alternatives to plastic products was soon underway. There are now many products that are made from more earth-friendly options.

However, even with the widespread availability of biodegradable plastics, they may not always be the most earth-friendly choice. That’s because the oxygen-consuming bacteria that causes these starch-based plastics to decompose can’t survive in a landfill. Reusable bottles or paper packaging leaves a much smaller environmental footprint.

Why plastic recycling is overrated

While 52% of recycling facilities in the U.S. accept that kind of plastic, the report found less than 5% of it is actually repurposed—and the rest is put into a landfill.

NPR-October 24, 2022

Even with our best recycling efforts, more than 95% of plastics wind up in landfills across the country. Using biodegradable plastics that have limited ability to biodegrade is greener than the presently failing plastic recycling programs. That’s because even when plastic can be recycled, the process isn’t exactly friendly to the environment. According to the EPA, plastic recycling takes a significant 2/3 of the energy that’s used to produce new plastic products.

That leaves us with reduce and reuse as the newest mantras to save us from drowning in plastic. With that in mind, all of our favorite biodegradable products for camping come in reusable or compostable packaging.

Biodegradable cleaning products for camping

Mrs Meyer’s Clean Day Biodegradable Cleaning Products

We love Mrs. Meyer’s Rose scent. However, this biodegradable, dye-free dish soap comes in 14 unusual but amazing scents. There is a fragrance for nearly everybody.

Dish, hand, and body soaps are some of the biggest contributors to pollution in the lakes and waterways near campgrounds. Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap and hand soaps are both biodegradable and phosphate-free without losing any foaming or cleaning ability.

Both products foam and clean very well. The mild multi-surface cleaner works wonderfully to clean indoor camper surfaces including walls and floors. As a bonus, it leaves a long-lasting fragrance behind.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day biodegradable products come in plastic bottles that you can refill. You can find Mrs. Meyer’s products where cleaning supplies are sold in many stores or online at Amazon.com.

Biokleen RV Roof Cleaner Protectant

An RV roof should be inspected, cleaned, and protected at least twice per year. If your RV roof needs cleaning, Biokleen Biodegradable Roof Cleaner will do the job effectively without harming the environment.

Since RV roofs take a lot of punishment under the sun’s rays, Biokleen Roof Cleaner contains a heavy-duty UV blocker. It comes in a handy, reusable spray bottle that can be refilled multiple times.

Biodegradable laundry products

Nature Clean biodegradable laundry strips

Big plastic jugs of liquid phosphate and dye-laden laundry detergent became a thing about 15 years ago. Before that, most people did laundry with powdered detergent that came in a cardboard box. It wasn’t very convenient and nearly always messy. However, it was a lot kinder to the environment, especially since the detergent rarely contained dyes and was often phosphate-free, and the cardboard could easily be recycled.

Nature Clean laundry strips combine convenience and small size in a biodegradable product that works really well.

These laundry strips come in a cardboard envelope that takes up very little space, making them easy to pack. Not only that, but the 1’x4″ laundry strips themselves are only as thick as a sheet of paper, and they get camping clothes really clean, even in cold water.

Wool dryer balls

As few as four wool felt dryer balls can replace thousands of disposable, non-biodegradable dryer sheets over their lifetime.

They’re easy to use too. Simply add them to the dryer when you put a load of freshly washed clothes in. They’ll bounce around, softening clothes, knocking lint and pet hair off of your laundry. Not only that, but dryer balls reduce drying time by as much as 40%. If you haven’t tried wool felt dryer balls, you really should.

Biodegradable personal care products

Biodegradable bamboo toothbrush

We don’t often think about the impact our toothbrush has on the environment. However, the manufacturing and packaging of plastic toothbrushes uses a lot of non-renewable resources for a product that’s designed to last about three months.

That said, bamboo toothbrushes work just as well as their plastic counterparts without contributing to the plastics that are filling up landfills and harming our oceans. Users of the Isshah bamboo toothbrush even report that their teeth feel cleaner after switching their toothbrush.

Life Unpacked Zero Waste Biodegradable Dental Floss

Dental floss is usually made from non-biodegradable strands. It always comes in a plastic container. Life Unpacked makes dental floss from corn fiber and contains it in a cute little glass jar.

Apparently, corn fiber dental floss is every bit as effective as its plastic counterpart. However, it won’t wind up burdening a landfill or being part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Joshua Tree Body Wash and Shampoo

This biodegradable body wash has a fresh eucalyptus and mint fragrance that will leave you feeling clean, invigorated, and glad you didn’t contribute to the lifecycle of toxic algae blooms.

Biodegradable bags & food storage

Beeswax wraps

Beeswax wraps are a reusable and biodegradable alternative to plastic wrap. Their durability and ease of use makes them really handy to have along on camping trips.

Biodegradable trash bags

There are now some fairly tough biodegradable trash bags that you can use to keep your campsite neat and tidy.

Biodegradable dog waste pick-up bags

Part of being a responsible pet owner is picking up our pet’s waste and disposing of it in the trash, even when we’re camping. However, here is the conundrum: Since pet waste is technically compostable, sealing it in a bag so it can never decompose seems unfriendly to the environment, and yet we don’t want to leave natural areas littered with dog poop.

Biodegradable waste bags hold the answer. That is, we can still pick up after our dog and dispose of the bag in the trash. After that, both the bag and the feces with return to the earth.

Get tips from other RVers

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.

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