Spending time outdoors makes us more conscious of everything around us and how important it is for us to cherish and protect it. As hikers — and as people in general — it is critical to be mindful of our environmental impact as we start on new adventures.
Choosing sustainability might be a challenge. Whether you're new to outdoor recreation or an experienced outdoor enthusiast. Here are some practical steps we can take to make exploring outdoors more sustainable.
Research sustainable or ethical outdoor clothing brands and buy eco-conscious gear and attire. Look for information about the materials, production, recycling, etc. Look for ethically harvested or recycled materials, fair trade certifications, ECOCERT (a certification that the company specializes in organic agriculture products).
Engines make a lot of noise and use up fossil fuels. Therefore, try and engage in outdoor activities that don’t rely on these disruptive tools as much as possible. Self-propelled activities are less harmful to the environment, and they are also healthier for all of us!
When exploring outdoors, you want to make sure that you leave nothing behind as much as possible. Even the littlest things that you think nothing of might have a butterfly effect on the ecosystem that you’re leaving behind. Make sure to internalize the concept of Leave no Trace principles of outdoor recreation. You may find more information about the leave no trace principles in our previous blog The Leave No Trace Principles Every Hiker Should Know
Replacing disposable items with reusable ones.
Reusable water bottles - Commit to using a reusable bottle – an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint, water pollution, and landfill trash.
Cutlery and small containers. Taking along a small container for snacks can help reduce your plastic consumption, as can reusable cutlery.
Reusable straw. you may want to consider bringing your own stainless steel or paper straw
Sanitary products. Consider using a reusable silicone menstrual cup over disposable tampons, applicators, and pads, which often contain plastic and other synthetic materials that can harm the environment.
Cloth napkins. Using cloth instead of paper napkins means less trash every time you eat. Take a few along and pop them in with the laundry when they get dirty.
Commercial toiletries like shampoos, soap and toothpaste contain chemicals that don’t degrade fast and that can harm fishes and other water animals and plants. That’s why you might also want to look into biodegradable alternatives like the following:
Toothbrush and toiletries. Choose a bamboo or biodegradable toothbrush, and bring soaps, shampoos, and conditioners in refillable silicone bottles. Always check the labels and choose products that are organic.
Sunscreen. You may want to consider an eco-friendly sunscreen that replaces chemicals (some of which are agents of coral bleaching) with healthy, sun-blocking agents like zinc oxide.
Soaps. Consider bringing along an all-use biodegradable soap that can be used to wash your body, hair (shampoo bars) dishes, and clothing.
What would you add to the list? How do you make your outdoor adventures more sustainable? Leave a comment below!
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