The main concept here is that we are entering another environment and that any thing that is introduced makes a change. Something have more effect than others, but since our goal is to have the least impact we should make every effort to avoid leaving anything that wasn't there when we got there.
Against popular belief burying rubbish can actually slow down the rate of decomposition as sunlight and heat plays a role in accelerating the decomposition process. Although burying rubbish will increase the microbial and humidity role in the decomposition. Whether buried or left on the ground rubbish will leach chemicals and nutrients into the soil making changes to the environment.
Rubbish can cause serious issues with native animals, remember that many native animals can smell and dig up rubbish that has been buried. The impact can be varied and serious they include;
- Increased comfort and dependence on humans
- Variety of mouth, jaw and intestinal diseases
- Spread human carried disease
- Expose them to predator risk
- Change natural behaviours
Everything in your pack
If you have items like sleeping mats on the outside of your pack, trees and shrubs rip small bits off as you walk. This leaves a tail of little blue foam bits through the bush. These bits of foam will take decades to decompose and pose a serious chocking hazard to small animals. If it really doesn’t fit in you pack the attach it to the back of your pack standing upright, so that nothing sticks out the side.
Minimising rubbish overall is very important in minimising our impact on the earth, as well as on your expeditions. Less packaging means less weight to carry, so buy carefully, and repackage when needed. Particularly avoid wet waste like food left overs as they are heavy, smell and be a hygiene risk.