It’s mainstream knowledge now. Single-use plastic is the enemy, and we can’t keep treating the planet the way we have been over the past few decades.
That’s why next year I’ll be attempting to undertake zero waste expeditions. Over this past year, I have made a good attempt at cutting down on what I threw in landfill, but I’m not quite there yet.
Around 40 hills days and over 20 nights camping later, here are the swaps and changes that I’ve made so far, and some others that I have planned for next year.
I got my wraps from beeswax wraps at the start of the year, and I have used them on nearly every hike I have been on this year. No clingfilm, no packaging from buying a grab and go lunch and generally healthier too! It took me a few uses to get used to the texture, but it wasn’t too long before I was convinced that these were pretty damn good. These have found their way into everyday use, as I will use them for work several times a week too. Definitely a win and I am really pleased with how well they have lasted.
They have lots of information and tutorials on their website, and the best bit is that they are genuinely zero waste – you can repasteurize them at home when they get a bit tired, and pop them in the compost once they are totally done. Plus, they are delivered without a shred of plastic in sight. Well done guys!
#nalgenesofinstagram is a thing. And I love mine. I had no idea that you could get so attached to a lump of plastic until I left mine at the climbing centre. It was suspected lost fpr two weeks, and I was gutted. Some of the stickers just couldn’t be replaced. Happily, it appeared in lost property a few weeks later.
I bought big blue over a year ago, and have managed to mostly avoid single-use plastic bottles since. I have had a few bottles of innocent smoothies and irn-bru throughout the year, but my 2019 goal is to buy absolutely none.
This gets taken to early morning meetings, gets topped up at lunch and didn’t have a rest day at Scout camp this summer. The poor thing has probably had fewer days off than me.
Be a bit cautious about what you are using these flasks for, as I find they hold smells quite badly. Mine was used for leek and potato soup a few times, and it took a fair bit of scrubbing to clear it. Well looked after, this is a really brilliant wee bit of kit. I’ve made a cuppa at 8am and it’s still been warm by lunch on some occasions. On a cold overnight camp, it has also become an integral part of my ‘keep warm’ system. I’ll make a fresh hot chocolate before bed, which means I’ll have a lovely warm drink on hand if I wake up in the night feeling a bit chilly.
This little tool is great for getting the last tiny dribble out of nearly finished gas cannisters, then puncturing the container. This allows me to recycle the cans in my regular recycling bins (check that this is okay in your collection area before you chuck them in your own bin).
My biggest challenge for next year is going to be finding alternative snacks, as this is where I produce the most waste. I’ll be trying to make and bake then use my smaller wax wrap, and buy in bulk where this isn’t possible. Dried fruit is a favourite, so I’ll be trying to find a way to cut down on wrappers here too.
I have also spotted some reusable silicone food bags, which might be a good alternative to my shop bought just heat up dinners that I’m using at the moment. While they’re delicious, nutricious and so wonderfully convientient, it would be gret to cut out an extra bit of packaging that has to go to landfill.
Any suggestions and tips from other environmentally concious hikers would be most welcome! How do you reduce your impact while out on the trail?