Last week, we mentioned what others have done for the environment and asked you whether you have done Mother Nature a favor. This time, we’re sharing with you tips on how you can care for our common home – Planet Earth.
Help Clean Up Trails
Here’s a suggestion that will get you hitting two eco-friendly goals at the same time: why don’t you do a clean-up hike at your favorite trail? You can do that with your friends and get them on the eco-warrior path, too. You can also join one of the events included in Summit Foundation‘s National Operation of Waste Collection 2017. There are various dates and locations that you can choose from. This opportunity to help care for the Swiss Alps also lets you meet new people and be with hikers with a similar desire to care for the environment.
A true mountaineer knows and practices the leave no trace ethic, which we also talked about not too long ago. It bears mentioning that LNT isn’t just a marker of a seasoned and ethical climber – consistent practice of this ethic also does the planet a favor and makes the trail a better place for other trekkers, as well. Basically, LNT requires leaving the place you visit in the exact same state as you found it. A popular phrase associated with this is “take nothing but pictures.”
Opt for Reusable Containers and Items
While disposing your own trash properly during a hike is a commendable practice, generating the least amount of trash is an even more eco-friendly move. Instead of bringing along bottled water, fill a reusable tumbler with your hydration and replenish when needed. Another option is avoiding using single-use, disposable equipment or gear.
This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to go thirsty just so you drink the least amount of water possible during your journey. Rather, it’s about ensuring that every drop is put to good use. That being said, see to it that your reusable water bottles aren’t leaky and that you prepare food that doesn’t require as much water. Also, only use what you need when you’re cleaning yourself or your gear while on a hike or back at the hostel.
Choose High Quality, Eco-Friendly Gear
Sure, cheaper hiking gear is easy on the wallet, but it’s not on the environment. The short usage cycle results in more waste and consumption, which requires more resources. Remember that there are more people on the planet now, so multiply all that trash by the millions, and you get an idea on how much extra stuff that takes tens and hundreds of years for Mother Nature to break down, which explains the existence of towering landfills and so much trash.
You have to admit it’s also inconvenient having to get a replacement for the broken-down gear, especially when it gave up on you just when you needed it the most during a trek. Save yourself – and the environment – the hassle by opting for gear that will last you a good number of years. Further, give yourself extra points when you choose items made of recycled, natural, or sustainable material (backpack made of recycled plastic bottles, anyone?).
Use Less Plastic
Packing food in ziplocks does help lighten your backpack and lessen its bulk, but it results in more plastic waste than necessary. Plastic bags and plastic products in general take a really long time to break down – it has been estimated that it takes about 10-20 years for plastic bags to completely break down (and mostly due to solar exposure rather than natural biodegration). Then there’s the issue of the health hazards linked with plastics, even those labeled BPA-free.
That said, go for reusable, food-safe storage (like stainless steel containers) or items that are made with sustainable or recycled material.
Have you been doing any of these 6 tips? Do you have more to add to this list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!