5 Ways to Leave the Great Outdoors a Better Place
With the increase of sustainability practices and eco-tourism around the globe (and it’s about time!) it’s only fitting that we talk about how to do it while enjoying the great outdoors. With more people venturing outdoors, this is more important than ever.
Here are a few techniques you can adapt to leave the outdoors better than you found it.
Choose a Good Bug Spray and Sunscreen
Those little critters are out to eat you no matter what. So you may as well get a bug spray that is nice to the environment but not so nice to them. This is where it pays to spend a couple of extra minutes studying the labels of bug spray (and sunscreen, for that matter) before you buy. Make sure you buy brands that are not laden with damaging chemicals. Sunscreen should not be water soluble. Do your research and choose wisely.
Avoid Single-Use Items Like the Plague
By reducing the items you pack for a camping trip, you reduce potential waste. Single use items such as paper plates, bowls, and plastic utensils add up quickly and create lots of garbage. Opt for reusable items as much as possible; you’ll not only cut down on waste, you’ll keep things minimized to the essentials.
Take Food Waste with You
While many people may be under the assumption that apple cores and banana peels are biodegradable and be tossed anywhere, it can make an unpleasant difference in the way of decomposition and environmental impact. Many fruits contain pesticides, so when left to rot on the trail or elsewhere in nature, those pesticides seep into the ground and eventually the water supply. Carry all food waste with you until you are able to dispose of it in a proper receptacle.
Don’t Burn Your Trash
Similar to leaving food waste on the ground, burning garbage in your campfire can release harmful chemicals into the air. Always pack all garbage and carry it out with you, or toss it in the appropriate bin in your campground. Many campgrounds nowadays have separate recycling bins, so take advantage of that! And if they don’t, still get in the habit of separating your regular trash from your glass, paper, and plastics. Then dispose of them properly when you get back into town. Use that fire only for cooking dinner and roasting marshmallows.
Make Things Even Cleaner
It’s one thing to clean up after yourself, but it’s even better if you take that small extra step and clean up after others when you find trash in natural areas. This is the essence of “leave it better than you found it.” Keep an eye out for waste you may find in an empty campsite or on the trail. When you’re out hiking, always bring along an extra waste bag and fill it with trash you might spot along the way. The environment – and future hikers – will thank you.
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