Wildland Ethics – Pack It In, Pack It Out

backpackPick up and pack out all of your litter. Trash and litter have no place in the backcountry. On the way out-when your pack is light try to pick up litter left by others.

Reduce litter at the source. When preparing for your trip, repackage food into reusable containers or remove any excess packaging. This simple practice lessens the chance that you will inadvertently leave litter behind.

Trash. Trash is the inorganic waste brought into the backcountry, usually from overly packaged products. It is best to pack out all your trash even if it appears burnable. Much of the “paper” pack aging used today is actually lined with non-burnable foil or plastic. Tin and aluminum cans, plastic, tin foil and glass must always be packed out.

Garbage. Garbage is organic waste leftover from cooking. This type of waste can be easily reduced by careful planning and preparation of meals. Food scraps should be picked up from around the kitchen area and packed out. Careful meal planning will reduce the amount of leftovers, but in the event you have some it should be either saved and eaten later or put in a plastic bag and packed out. Burning and burying this type of waste are improper methods of disposal. A very hot fire is required to burn food thoroughly, and animals will dig it up if buried. Keeping food waste from animals is important to keep them from becoming habituated to people or dependent upon unnatural food sources.

Consider the words “Leave No Trace” a challenge to take out everything possible that you brought into the backcountry.


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