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Pack it in & pack it out

Image Carry out all rubbish.  Rubbish is not just an eye sore that may never decompose, but can be seriously harmful to wildlife and pollute water sources.  If you have been able to carry it in, then you can carry it out.  Sounds simple and it is, but if a just  a few walkers leave behind even small bits of rubbish, it takes its toll on the environment and the experience of those who follow.  Please pick other peoples rubbish.







please help keep it wild
please help keep it wild +

  • Carry and use a rubbish bag (keep it accessible)
  • Minimise the rubbish before you leave home.
  • Rubbish includes
    •        Food scraps (yes apple cores and orange peals)
    •        Plastic bags
    •        Broken equipment
    •        Wrappers
    •        Paper, tins, foil
    •        Cigarette butts
    •        Batteries
  • Pack everything in your pack – nothing sticking out the sides (especially bed mats)
  • Pick up and carry any rubbish you find on the way.
  • Search for and pick up any rubbish after each stop (including tiny bits)
  • Never try to burn something to get rid of it, just carry it out.
  • Be careful of rubbish in your pocket, chances are that it will fall out.
  • Store rubbish in camp so as not to attract animals.
  • Dispose and recycle the rubbish properly at the end of your tip.


Pre-trip Planning

Pre planning is the key to many of the minimal impact techniques and especially this one.  Please consider the following points when planning, packing for and speaking to people about your trip.

  • Plan menus to minimise waste
  • Remove or re-package to avoid carrying waste
  • ensure all equipment is will maintained.
  • Pack sturdy waterproof bags or containers for carrying waste near top of your pack
  • Ensure everyone in your party understands and is committed to these behaviours
  • Know where rubbish disposal facilities are available.
  • For extended journeys plan to dry out any wet waste eg food.
  • Plan enough time to check for rubbish at each stop.
  • how to store rubbish (and food) in camp (eg in Bear country use barrels)


The Rational

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
  • Chocking
  • Strangulation
  • 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.


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