Simple Ways to Make Trash Removal Easier
We will always have trash and other items that need to be disposed of while we are in the field. Whether or not it comes from empty wrappers or scraps of food, finding simple and practical ways to remove them is good for the environment as well as our own safety. However, it's easy to forget to incorporate them into our planning. Let's take a look at some simple ideas that we can use to make it easier to take out the trash when we leave our site.
A lot of food that we bring comes in packaging that produces garbage that needs to be packed up and hauled out. One way to almost eliminate this problem altogether is to take items out of their original packaging and place them in plastic baggies. This will help to keep the items fresh, but it also eliminates a lot of the garbage that you will need to remove. The used baggies can also be useful for a million-and-one different reasons that you'll stumble across on your trip.
Oh, and they can also be used to take out garbage as well.
Burning trash is perfectly fine as long as it is legal and safe to do so. However, it's important to avoid burning things like plastics, Styrofoam, cigarette butts or any other items that are not organic in nature. Many of these items contain compounds that can release toxic gases as well as produce byproducts that are harmful to the environment. Additionally, many of these items won't completely burn up, and you'll either end up having to remove the charred remains or run the risk of an animal stumbling across them.
Stick to burning food waste or paper products, including used toilet paper and other natural items instead. However, burning is a great way to eliminate waste while also helping to discourage animals from wandering onto the site while you're there.
You can also bury waste as long is you know that it is biodegradable. Obviously, we will bury our human waste after we've done our business, but we can also bury food scraps or paper products as well. Bury the food, or other odor-producing items, far from your living and cooking area if you're still on-site. You should also bury the items about a foot deep in order to mask odors that can attract animals, particularly in areas where other hikers or campers will be passing through.
Remember that the less trash you bring in will produce less garbage that you need to take out, but it's still important to be mindful of removing everything when leaving a site. Consider trash removal in your planning, and think of ways to make it easier to truly leave no trace.