With the growing interest in green and eco-friendly everything, making your youth summer camp more environmentally conscious is a great way to stand out from the competition. Get the attention of recycling and composting parents by making some changes to your camp's waste management systems. Try these five easy steps to make your camp a bastion of eco-friendly practices without costly new sewage treatment equipment or major building renovations.

Compost Food Waste

Building compost piles requires little work but could save you hundreds of dollars per year in reduced trash hauling fees. Bacteria and fungi work together to break down food waste into a reusable natural fertilizer and soil amendment. Get the campers involved by letting them scrape their plates right onto the pile at least once per visit.

If you don't have the extra open space for a traditional compost pile on bare dirt, try using a long term rental dumpster as the container for your pile. The solid bottom and sides help your counselors turn the pile at least once a week with a pitchfork to keep the composting process cooking along quickly. Since a solid container doesn't drain, drape a tarp over the dumpster to keep rain from saturating the pile.

Separate the Trash

Go beyond the tiny recycling bins provided by local waste collection services when trying to manage the amount of waste produced by hundreds of campers drinking canned sodas and eating snacks in foil wrappers. Rent a different dumpster for every major recycling category, then set up individual trash cans that match so your paper products stay separate from your aluminum cans from the beginning to the end. This greatly reduces the amount of sorting done by your staff while helping you return profitable materials to recoup some of your costs.

Start Fund Raising

Get your campers involved in the recycling efforts before they even arrive by starting a fund raiser initiative. Educate the parents and kids alike about valuable recyclables to help support the camp or pay off tuition fees. You can offer collection and redemption services to the campers for materials like

  • Aluminum and steel cans used for drinks and food
  • Copper wire and piping, usually found at home remodeling and demolition sites
  • Colored and clear glass bottles, especially beer and wine bottles in states that offer deposits on them
  • Metal blinds, television antennas, and other sources of valuable aluminum
  • Batteries, from big car-sized units to AAAs from the remote
  • Cell phones, broken laptops, and other unwanted electronics
  • Empty printer cartridges from homes and businesses.

Create Recycled Art

Once you've got your recyclables separated into clean and easy to access dumpsters, you can reuse some of it in activities for the campers. Newspaper and leftover printed handouts turn into paper mache with a little glue and some tearing, while a little more soaking allows you to teach students how to make their own paper. Transform washed milk jugs into masks and ask campers to play with their creativity while learning valuable recycling lessons.

Designate a Team

Finally, keep your recycling program running smoothly by putting two or three employees in charge of it. This ensures the compost pile is topped off daily with fresh food waste and mixed at least once a week without getting forgotten. Make sure the team also knows how to get in contact with your dumpster rental company when it's time for the containers to get emptied out at the local recycling center.

Renting inexpensive long-term dumpster service is the best way to keep your camp clean and eco-friendly at the same time. With one phone call, you can have both the recyclable materials and landfill-bound trash removed so you can get back to the business of teaching your campers.