How did this happen?
So I ranted about littering a while ago. That post is the most shared and most popular and for good reason. People tend to hate stupidity and indifference.
Now it’s time to share some helpful tips on how to be better. I’ve highlighted the sensational headlines for you if you choose to share stuff without reading through the article. The plan is to write about being a trash-free hiking sponsor and give comprehensive tips and tricks, all culminating to the Trash-Free Event on May 20th. More info to come! Here are some samples, though.
The ABC of trash-free hiking
Appreciate nature as it is. Never take anything anf never leave anything behind.
Beer cans don’t belong in the wild.
Citymarkets have recycling deposits that gives you MONEY in exchange for cans and bottles! Not to mention every other store and supermarket out there. Because this is Finland and we have a system!
Dogs are allowed in national parks but pick up after them but do not, for Pete’s sake, leave the bags in the wild. It’s not fun to step on poop, is what I’m saying. One thing you can do is pick up the poop and toss it somewhere you know no one will step on it and keep the bag for later use. Or you can use a little shovel. I know it’s not the best way but it’s close enough. Pets also need to be tethered at all times. The reason for this is the delicate balance of nature that needs to be left alone.
Energy gel bags are not decomposable. No matter how heavy and cumbersome they feel on your aerodynamic body, Mr and/or Ms trail runner. So pick them up and put them in your pocket or something!
Foil does not burn or decompose. It doesn’t belong in the fire, the stove, the outhouse or in the compost. The ash residue in national parks is known to have these metallic surprises in it.
Google is your friend should you need help for recycling or other kinds of waste management.
Head (as in the trone, outhouse, the toilet) is for pee and poo only. If plastic, glass shards or tin foil comes out of thine butt, see a medical professional post haste. – a plaque on an outhouse wall somewhere in Finland.
I, human will adapt. In a clean environment I don’t feel the need to leave garbage around but in a messy one it doesn’t feel so wrong. So maintain a positive cycle: the cleaner it is, the cleaner it will be.
John Doe or Someone Else is a myth. Fact: Someone Else is not real and you will have to clean up after yourself.
Keep using that compost! Most wilderness huts have the outhouse for this but sometimes there’s a separate one right around the corner.
Litter should be recycled at nature centers or at home! Instructions can be found in the cotes but if not, see section G.
MiniGrip bags are resealable and sturdy but make sure they’re properly closed. Should you have a better alternative, let me know!
Observe your surroundings and if you see people littering, interfere. But don’t be mean. Give feedback.
Polish those plates away from a stream or shore. 20 meters minimum. Use environmentally friendly detergents or just warm water. Sometimes it’s easier to just wipe the plates and utensils clean with a piece of paper rather than waste water. You can wash them later.
Q&A: how do tourists handle trash and how’s their general behavior? Should they astray, guide them! Tell them about our every-man’s rights and the responsibility it entails.
Rubbish-free hiking events are organized all around Finland on May 20th 2017 so save the date!
Sketch out a plan on how to make do with as little packaging material as possible. Commit to picking up after yourself and others. Use a double bag technique! What’s that? I’ll tell you later into the Winter.
Tobacco and cigarettes shouldn’t be a part of your life anyway since every stub is just plastic with cancer in it. But if you’re so fond of your death sticks, at least pick them up. My classmate Satu has this neat trick where she ties one of those small cartons with a cap on her backpack for all them stubs.
Understand that clothing is an essential part of an eco-fiendly lifestyle. Buy sustainable, reusable and environmentally friendly products. There has been a lot of talk about the materials and toxins that go into making weather-proof attire. You also need to take the clothing’s lifespan into consideration.
Vile is the person who leaves a wilderness hut in worse condition than they found it. So if the person before you didn’t take out the trash, you will. Don’t be one of the “If they didn’t, I won’t!” people. Some huts have a container specifically for food packaging but if there isn’t one, the mice will have a field day if you leave stuff lying around.
With toilet paper, like with everything, choose an eco-friendly brand. Don’t leave it behind and burn the excess.
Xylitol chewing gum is good for your teeth but bad for trails and doggies. Remember to bag it after use.
You don’t want to lose stuff in the dark woods. So keep your zippers closed!
Zippos or matches, leave neither behind. A lighter will never decompose.
Finnish language has a few extra letters but since they’re not a part of the English alphabet, I’ll just remind you how costly it is for Metsähallitus to maintain the huts and rest stops in tip top condition, even more so with people leaving their garbage all around. It’s money they could be spending on fixing broken guide poles or boardwalks.
And remember: an empty beer can weighs less than a full one. So if you had the energy to carry it all the way to your destination, you have energy to carry it back.