Staying Zero Waste in the Great OutdoorsOctober 9, 2020 · Aaron Burr

Staying Zero Waste in the Great Outdoors

*Deep breathe in*

Ahhhhhhhh...the great outdoors.

A place to get away, to recharge, to destress, and leave the not so important things behind for a while.

It could be as simple as a walk in a city park, or maybe a camping trip way out there. It doesn’t matter if it’s skiing, hiking, climbing, or biking, getting outside is getting outside.🏞

🌱It’s important we take the time to reconnect with nature, since afterall we are a part of it aren’t we?

A different environment poses new challenges

different environment poses new challenges


So, we are starting to get the hang of zero waste in our everyday lives. Or we are at least starting to see the things that need to be changed. But what about when we are thrown into a completely different environment?

Once we start travelling or 🥾heading to the outdoors, our schedules change. We wear different things, are carrying different stuff, and our overall actions are probably way different as well. This throws us for a loop, because even in the outdoors we can generate waste.

Especially when we are on the go.

Because as we know, single use products are popular out of convenience. And nothing’s more convenient than disposable everything while on the move.

Many single use options can wind up in the outdoors with us such as:

  • Cutlery
  • Food packaging
  • Water bottles
  • Other drinks

We can also generate food waste, especially when well as human waste. AKA: poop and pee!

But these challenges can be remedied by simply planning ahead

Just like in our day to day lives, planning ahead and bringing the proper stuff with us can do wonders on our waste footprint.


A lot of convenient, nutrient/calorie dense foods are usually packaged individually to keep them preserved and clean. The best way around this is to find these types of snack foods in the bulk section, or we can also make them up pretty easily ourselves!

environmental challenges

Or, just snack on foods from the produce section, super easy!

As for camping and making full meals, the bulk section is yet again another great option.🍚 Especially for things like grains, beans, nuts, etc. Just pack them into your reusable container! 


🍴And just like our day to day, reusable cutlery and containers can be implemented too. If you don’t feel like buying any reusable cutlery, just grab a set from your kitchen drawer! As well as maybe a metal bowl and whatever else you may need.


A nice and lightweight water bottle made from something strong like metal is great for going outside. That way it’s eco friendly, and durable so you don’t have to worry so much about it breaking!

And maybe bring another water bottle to fill up with other beverages so you can avoid cans and bottles.

Pro tip: throw some hot soup into an insulated water bottle so it’s sealed and still warm when you’re ready to eat!

Another pro tip: LastTissue is a great packable option for cleaning up messes or clearing your nose on cold days. 

Using the bathroom in the woods

toilet sign

Phewwwww, unless you are some superhero that is somehow able to hold it in during your entire time in the woods (why do that?), you’ll probably need to poop or pee while out there. And when there aren’t any bathrooms, you’ll want to do so in a way that has a minimal footprint.

Important: Never go to the bathroom directly into a body of water. 

How to poop in the woods:

Step 1: Dig a hole at least six inches deep and at least 4 inches wide.

Step 2: Make sure you have something to wipe with. Soft (non-irritating) leaves will do, or toilet paper!

Step 3: Do your thing and enjoy it!

Step 4: Fill the hole all the way in. Maybe add some leaves and what-not so that you Leave No Trace.

Step 5: Wash your hands!

hiking with the dog

So there you have it, there may be things you come across that aren’t covered on here. Sometimes it’s tough to cover everything, but at the end of the day you can always go back to what you would do in your day to day life to avoid waste.

Usually, with a tiny bit of altering, these options will work just as well amongst the trees and leaves, beasts...and butterflies.🦋