Leave No Trace- Pack it in, Pack it out

Disposing of Waste Properly is a key element in Leaving No Trace.
Trash and litter in the back country ranks high as a problem in the minds of many back country visitors. Trash and litter are human impacts that can greatly detract from the naturalness of an area.

Planning can reduce the impact that you make. Reduce litter at the source. Most trash and litter comes from meals or food items. By planning and preparing your meals prior to the start of your trek, you can reduce the litter you need to pack out. Removing packaging materials, cans, and bulky trash is the answer. Repackaging into zip lock backs, pre mixing items, and preparing portions will reduce your trash in and trash out.

Along with prepackaging or repacking, keeping your menus simple will also help. Do not count on fires to rid yourself of trash. Some areas do not allow fires and some trash will not completely consume in fires.

Here are some estimated life expectancies for different types of litter:
It takes 2 to 4 weeks for Newspaper dissolve.

It take 3 to 5 weeks for a banana peel.
1 year for a wool cap.
2 to 5 years for a cigarette butt.
10 to 20 years for a disposable diaper.
20 to 30 years for a hard plastic container (milk jug).
50 to 80 years for the rubber sole of a boot.
80 to 100 years for a tin can.
200 to 400 years for an aluminum can.
and it takes thousands of years for glass bottles to recycle on its own.

Think of the lasting impact of litter and trash. Packing it out with you can reduce this and leave the wilderness clean and pristine for the next group.

Happy Scouting!

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