As more and more people are adventurously recreating outdoors, it’s important to consistently educate individuals about leave no trace principles and outdoor etiquette. We should all remind ourselves of the motto “just leaving footprints” before stepping off onto our newest quests. We can respect our land by leaving no trace and maintaining plastic free trails like the trail blazers of the outdoor community before us. Here are some ways to use less plastic on the trails:
1. Use reusable water bottles or use water bladder.
Prevents bottles or random caps from rolling away onto the trailside. Use a SteriPen while refilling water containers to kill parasites, bacteria, ect from accessible water sources. Other options are water purification tabs and to boil water. Water bladders are the same as CamelBaks and running vests.
2. Pack food in reusable containers.
A few options are Stasher silicone storage bags or beeswax wraps. Fun fact- beeswax has several antimicrobial properties, so your food will stay fresher for longer. If you have no other option, reuse Ziploc bags that you already have, to reduce waste.
3. Use reusable cups or cutlery.
Bringing reusable cups, cutlery, dishware, napkins and bags all reduce waste and prevent potential wrappers from slipping away.
4. Hygiene products.
For multi-day adventures, you can save on plastic use by utilizing reusable containers for shampoo, conditioner, body soaps, ect. being mindful the products are eco-friendly. For our lady explorers, a small feminine hygiene kit with a Diva Cup and an antimicrobial Kula cloth is a great option.
5. Pack in pack out.
Anything you've brought to the adventure destination, ensure is brought out. Also, picking up trash when you see it can help minimize litter in our treasured landscapes.
Plastic is not biodegradable. For plastic to breakdown, it will take hundreds of years to do so. Before plastic can breakdown, it is a great hazard for wildlife. Plastic bags and wrappers can suffocate wildlife as they mistake it for edible food, especially wrappers with remnants of food left behind. Several animals can get caught in plastic strings and so much more. Some seabirds even feed their babies plastic bits because they think the plastic that floats in the ocean is fish.
Let's all do our part by treating the land as if we weren't there. If there is an impact to be left behind, let it be the memories of enjoying landscape, detaching from to-do lists, and observing wildlife with our favorite friends.
Stay safe. Stay wild, my friends!