Eco-friendly Hiking – – If you love hiking, you must be mindful of the carbon footprint you leave behind. Think about the impact your hiking will have on the environment. If you wish to sustain the beautiful planet that we live on, it is the small decisions that you make every day that make a change. One person makes a huge impact on the environment.
Your actions are not insignificant. If you are unaware of how you affect the environment, try saving your plastic waste for a month to visualize how much waste a single person produces.
One of the etiquettes of hiking is to leave no trace. In order to practice proper waste disposal and make your hiking environmentally friendly, you must be careful regarding what you pack for the trip. Some basic elements to consider when packing for an eco-friendly hiking trip are:
- The packaging of the products
- The ingredients used to make the products
- The life of the product. How long will they last? Are they reusable?
- The origin of the product. Is it organic? Locally made by small companies instead of big corporations?
Here is a quick guide on how to pack for a sustainable trip:
Try to refrain from buying products that are designed for single use. This includes razors, wipes, plastic water bottles, disposable dishware and Tupperware, plastic cutlery, drinking straws, etc. Instead, invest in reusable products such as portable bamboo cutlery, reusable water bottles, steel straws, razors, and washable cotton wipes.
Shampoos, sunscreen, and other hygiene products are made of toxic chemicals which harm the environment, especially marine life. Invest in organic products so that when you shower or care for your body on the go, you are not harming the ecosphere. There are numerous options available now since awareness is growing and people are opting for eco-friendly choices when buying products.
Be conscious of the packaging of the products that you buy. Go for solid toiletries such as bars of soaps and shampoos which are packed in paper instead of plastic bottles. Even toothpaste and perfume are available in bar form. Solid toiletries have multiple benefits. They not only save space in luggage but are lighter to carry. Reusable silicone bottles are also a sustainable option if you are uncomfortable using bars. Opt for mesh drawstring bags or cloth bags for storage purposes.
Buy Eco-Friendly Hiking Gear
Various companies have different missions and initiatives. Investigate mission of the company that you buy from to learn if they use biodegradable products or recycled materials. Search for any certifications that they may have which verify their level of sustainability. You can tell a lot by the way the company packs their products as well. Do they use excessive packing with tons of plastic? If so, the company is probably not that keen on keeping their gear eco-friendly.
Eco-Friendly Hygiene Products for Menstruation
Periods are quite environmentally unfriendly. If your hiking trip is going to be long and you might need to change your pad or tampon, it is wise to buy menstrual cups especially if you will have access to restrooms. Reusable cotton pads are also an eco-friendly choice for hygiene products. Even when you’re not hiking, why not reduce the waste you produce by shifting to cups and reusable cloth pads?
Keep Waste bags
You are sure to produce some waste as you hike, keep waste bags to dispose of any waste that you may produce unless it’s biodegradable and compostable like fruit peels. Don’t leave behind any waste as you hike. Check your surroundings before you leave a stop after taking a break or camping for a while. Make sure that there is no trace of you ever being there. You can even pick trash left by other people that you find on your hike to go that extra mile and do Mother Nature a solid.
Other Things You Can Do
Besides packing wisely, here are some other tips for sustainable hiking:
- It is great that you care about the environment and wish to hike sustainably, but be sure that you communicate the principles of sustainable hiking with other people you hike with and raise awareness regarding eco-friendly hiking.
- Make sure you bring home everything you take along for your trip. This does not only include plastic waste but also other traces of your existence. If you smoke, bring home your cigarette butts.
- Stick to the hiking trails and designated paths instead of wandering away. You are likely to disturb wildlife if you walk on areas that are not marked by trails. You may damage any plant life that you step on. Be very gentle with the environment.
- Be careful if you light a fire, fires can get out of control in grasslands or woods. Ensure that you have extinguished the fire completely before you leave your camping site. The incidents of wildfires have increased alarmingly in the past few years; do not add to this environmental hazard.
- Respect the wildlife and observe it from a safe distance. Animals or plants that you encounter may get disturbed by human presence.
- When hiking, travel in small groups of no more than 8-10 people so that it is easier to stay sustainable. The larger the group, the more difficult it will be to be environmentally friendly.
- Carry a small, portable shovel to dig holes and deposit solid human waste.
- Do not disturb the fauna and flora by picking flowers, pebbles, cultural artifacts, or other treasures you find. Preserve the environment and heritage of the Earth.
You don’t have to practice every single thing listed here on your very first camping trip. It is difficult to lead an environmentally friendly life in this capitalistic world where most products are not made with consideration to our environment. Just do your best and try to do better every single time.
Enjoy guilt-free hiking!
by Bobby J Davidson
We are in business to provide great products for the outdoorsy hikers, campers and their dogs; and to help clean our parks, rivers and oceans for a better planet earth for hikers and their dogs.
Parks are high-traffic areas in most cities. This means that trash is bound to show up in and around your park and playground.
When discussing ways your family can help clean your local park, don’t overlook a literal cleanup! Picking up trash will make a huge difference in the appearance and vibe of your park. A clean area will encourage others to keep the park pristine. When picking up trash and debris, make sure to wear gloves to protect yourself, and put trash in appropriate receptacles or lawn bags. You can also contact your local trash company to schedule a pickup when you are finished.
The storm drain on your street collects the water from your roof, driveway, and sidewalk and funnels it directly in your local lake or river. Nutrients from grass and leaves, pet waste, and fertilizers “enrich” our lakes and streams — feeding algae blooms and harming fish. Chemicals from washing your car in the drive and household chemical spills add up, taking a nasty toll on our favorite swimming areas and fishing spots. Soil can also be picked up by runoff, reducing the clarity of water and hurting fish.
So as you prepare your lawn and garden, here are a few helpful tips to keep our lakes and rivers beautiful and safe for all of us.
- Use mulch and vegetation to keep soil from washing away.
- Sweep or rake grass and leaves away from street curbs.
- Mulch and compost grass clippings and leaves.
- Keep paved surfaces to a minimum.
- Capture water runoff with a rain garden and rain barrels.
- Wash your car on the grass, where the water will get filtered.
- Keep chemicals away from storm drains.
- Collect your pet’s waste.
- Aim your rain-gutter downspouts onto grass.
Beaches Clean (do it for the ocean)
In 2007, the United States Senate and House of Representatives passed the National Clean Beaches Week Resolution to recognize the value of beaches to the American way of life and the important contributions of beaches to the economy, recreation, and natural environment of the United States.
Clean Beaches Week, celebrated annually July 1-7, offers the perfect opportunity to encourage stewardship and volunteerism along our coastlines. But where do you even begin? Follow these tips to get started.
- Identify a clean-up site. Choose a place that needs some TLC, making sure that volunteers can safely access the site. Get permission, if needed, for your clean-up event, perhaps from the local parks agency.
- Choose a site coordinator. (That might be you!) A beach clean-up takes a lot of work and needs an organized person to keep everything on track before, during, and after the event.
- Visit the site in advance. The coordinator will need to know where to set up a volunteer check-in station, where to leave trash and recyclables, and what area(s) volunteers will clean.
- Gather supplies. Depending on your location, you’ll need supplies such as trash bags, a first aid kit, hand sanitizer, wipes, and large coolers of water. You should also provide (or ask volunteers to bring) items such as reusable work/garden gloves, reusable water bottles, sunscreen, and bug spray.
- Plan how to handle the recyclables. Reach out to recyclers in your area (and perhaps your community’s solid waste departments) to make arrangements for accepting any glass, plastic, and aluminum that you collect.
- Line up event partners. Contact local businesses for donations of drinks, food, and supplies. Ask a local solid waste hauler to donate their services for trash removal.
- Plan for handling hazardous waste. Determine how you’ll dispose of any medical and sewage waste you might find. One solution: A wide-mouth container with a tight-fitting lid, such as an empty laundry detergent bottle. Clearly label that it contains hazardous waste.
- Get volunteers to help. Recruit friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. Create an event on Facebook and ask volunteers to sign up online. This will give you an idea of how many people to expect and will help communicate event details.
- Stay safe. Be prepared for a variety of health emergencies, from minor cuts and scrapes to heat stroke.
- Take photos! Post pics online to share the success of your event and recognize volunteers for their hard work.