Zero Waste Tip of the Month

Jul 25

[ARCHIVED] July 2017: Zero Waste in the Backcountry

The original item was published from July 25, 2017 9:47 AM to July 25, 2017 9:52 AM

Jackson Hole 89.1 KHOL Community Radio logoListen to the interview.

It can be surprisingly hard to reduce waste in the backcountry. The outdoors are supposed to be simple, but even hard core zero wasters may find that they rely heavily on the amenities in their homes, like refrigerators and dishwashers, to minimize their discards. Here are a few tips and reminders to make it a little easier. Not surprisingly, even out in the wild, it's the 3 Rs - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - that serve as the best guideposts:
  • Pancake mix in a Heinz ketchup bottleReduce by borrowing gear from a friend, neighbor or fellow enthusiast instead of buying new.
  • Repair old gear rather than discarding. See the Teton County Reuse Resource Guide for local repair, reuse and donation resources.
  • Remember reusable picnic and camping supplies and maybe even a refillable propane container.
  • For fire starter, instead of burning newspaper, which has value as a recyclable, start your campfire with dryer lint and toilet paper rolls. These are low value materials that don't have a higher use.
  • When it comes to food, planning ahead, buying in bulk, and preparing as much as possible at home can cut down on the extra packaging (and extra cost) of last minute shopping. Make your own ideas: gorp, pancake batter, and even ice!
Extra Credit
  • Carry home any recyclables or compostables if the place you're visiting doesn't offer these services.
  • Use your outing as an opportunity to measure your waste-print. Packing-It-In and Packing-It-Out provides a great visual by which to measure your habits, cut down on waste where you can, and celebrate the things you are doing well. If you really get into it, scroll down to January 2017 and revisit the household waste audit activity.
When you get home, note that the Recycling Center accepts:
  • Bear spray - drop-off in the red container by the west entrance
  • Used batteries of all types - drop-off in the blue bins at the west entrance
  • 16-ounce propane canisters - drop-off in the metal cage located on your left as you turn into the Recycling Center driveway (next to the cardboard bins)
  • Smaller propane canisters for backcountry mini-stoves should be used completely and then recycled with tin cans