Learn simple and effective ways to minimize your impact.
The weather is getting warmer and with that comes more outdoor activities. As you begin spending more time outside it is important to learn the seven leave no trace principles and utilize them to limit your impact on the earth and make some positive changes.
The decisions you make while spending time outdoors will impact you, other people, animals, water and the environment for years to come.
In this post I am going to focus on principle number three: Dispose of waste properly.
Carry out what you carry in
This rule is crucial to minimizing your impact on the trails, beach, park, or anywhere outdoors. Whatever you bring must come home with you or make its way to a proper waste/ recycling bin.
This rule does not only go for energy bar wrappers or plastic water bottles, but food waste as well. Banana peels and apple cores will not decompose at the same rate they normally do if thrown in a land they are not common to.
Make one piece trash
When opening up that energy bar, or a bag of chips make sure to tear off the edge only slightly to create only one piece of garbage. Ripping it off completely creates a small piece of plastic waste that is likely to get blown away and forgotten about. Potentially ruining the water systems and many habitats.
Now lets get a little personal,
How to pack out human and animal waste.
When nature calls
Urinating outdoors has little effect on the outdoors. But make sure to urinate on rocks, gravel or pine needles when able. This protects the soil and plants and will be less likely to attract animals.
If you plan on using toilet paper bring only un-dyed and non perfumed brands. Toilet paper can be buried if already using a cat hole (more on those another time). The best course of action is to pack it out with you. I like to bring a small plastic bag to hold what is being packed out. Burning toilet paper is not recommended as it could lead to causes of wildfires.
If you need to change your tampon or pad make sure you pack it out with you. If buried they will not decompose and may attract animals digging them up. Campfires will not produce enough heat to burn tampons and will only release toxins into the air.
If you are bringing your furry companion with you for an adventure make sure to bring poop bags and pack out their waste. Our pets eat a much different diet than the animals in the wild, so when they poop it will not break down in the same way that matches the surrounding environment. Leaving pet waste could lead to unwanted bacteria or parasites, and could even be the cause of algae blooms.
When your pet makes a number two, bag it up and pack it out with you. Many companies sell smell proof containers that you can store the used bags in. Or all you need is a designated water bottle to clip on your pack and store those stinky bags.