How to Dispose of Garbage (and Waste) While Camping

littered campsiteCamping, hiking, or backpacking across a deserted area can be an exhilarating time filled with great sights, a lot of exercise, and the sharpening of your basic life skills.

Along this journey, you’ll need to bring a pack with a lot of necessities if you’re looking to spend more than just a few hours with Mother Nature.

As you begin to use many of the items you’ve brought with you, you’ll start accumulating some excess garbage. DO NOT get rid of this garbage by littering.

Food Scraps

Not all of the food you bring will be eaten. You could accidentally drop some, there might be shells or skins you need to remove, or you could become full and decide, “Eh, I’m done!”

Whatever the case may be, place all of the excess food scraps in a sealable plastic bag. Your first thought might be, “It will decompose…”

Yes, this is true — but there’s a pretty good chance that an animal will get to it before that ever happens. Wild animals can easily get sick if they eat something that isn’t a part of their usual diet.

Wrappers & Containers

The food you eat is going to come packaged in something in order to keep it fresh, so this is another type of garbage you need to be conscious of. As you did with your food scraps, make sure you have a second sealable plastic bag.

Not only does most packaging not decompose naturally when it’s left out, but it can also be harmful to animals if they attempt to eat it (more so than the food that is left behind).

Paper & Cardboard

If you’re spending the night outside, making a fire is always a smart move. A fire will allow you to stay warm while also keeping you out of the darkness (so you can keep an eye out for wild animals — and the imaginary slasher that isn’t actually there…).

Luckily, you can burn any paper and cardboard products you have with you in order to start a fire (and to keep it going). Avoid putting any other type of material (foil, plastic, etc.) into the fire, as they might not burn completely like paper and cardboard do.

Human Waste

Eventually, you’re going to have to go to the bathroom. We’re not going to tell you that you need to urinate in a plastic bag, but know that if you do have to pee — make sure you move on from that area immediately. The smell of urine can attract wild animals, some of which might not be so friendly.

When you have to go “Number Two, there’s a few things you can do:

  • Bury it into a hole that’s at least six inches deep and away from any water sources. This will prevent it from contaminating a water supply or attracting wild animals.
  • If you’re in an area like a mountaintop where you can’t dig a hole, you may have to smear it. By smearing it, you’ll allow it to be dried out by the sun and sterilized by its UV rays.
  • If you’re not fond of the smearing technique and cannot bury it, use a sealable plastic bag like you would for a dog. This may sound crazy to some, but going toe-to-toe with a bear or mountain lion can be a lot scarier than carrying a sealed bag of your brownie batter!

Always be prepared before you go camping, hiking, or backpacking!

For any other recycling and trash removal questions, give us a ring — we’d be happy to help you out!


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