Nothing but foot prints

-- Last Updated: Jan-12-05 6:43 PM EST --

This summer I am planning a 9 day wilderness trip. This is going to be the first trip that I have to haul out all my trash. I use MRE's, power gels and power bars, witch comes with a lot of packaging. Most always there is a trash can near by that I can make a trash run to. I just don't like the though of nine day old trash in dry bag labled (trash) hanging around at night in a tree to heep critters out, or stinking out my boat. I was just woundering how most people handle this?
It does my heart good to see that most people care! Landfills are not the best way to handle this but it's what we have. I think that some day some one will find away to better handle trash, and The third rock from the sun will be as we found it! But till then I am going to do what I can to make this a better place to live! I'll look for you on the Water, George

Let’s keep all the trash talking on B&B
No really though, if you don’t want trash, don’t take it with you. Maybe remove powerbar wrappers and store them 20per ziplock bag (as long as they won’t melt together). Sometimes I take small (plastic) bottles of orange juice, when they are empty I STUFF them full with bags/wrappers from other things, it’s like a portable trash compactor. You can stuff a lot of snicker bar wrappers into an orange juice bottle, and then seal it with the lid.

Much of my summer paddling
takes place in bear country.

I re-package many items, use no cans, and rinse out all wrappers before stashing them in an old Tupperware container dedicated to such use.

Take as little trash as possible and thoroughly rinse the rest. Hang it all at night.


trash on trips
My buddy and I, who like to think of ourselves as reasonably conscientious, keep our trash until we have a decent fire. Then we burn almost all our accumulated trash.

Everything we have has been repackaged, mostly into zip-lock bags of one size of another, so most of our garbage consists of plastic bags.

I don’t know about any air pollution issues that we may be raising by doing this, but there certainly is no visible evidence of our trash left in the fire pit.


I second what Darrel says
My wife and I have done up to eight day trips, and with some prior planning, and burning what you can we have never had any problems.

We usually have one bag of non-burnable stuff that comes back with us,



I Can save myself some
truble by not packing most of that trash in, in the first place, good point Kroumon. I don’t mind burning paper stuff but I don’t burn plastic. I belive that anything that I put into the air ends up in the water, and I love the water, so I must respect the air. I don’t know what harm burning does. (if any?) All food for thought! I just know that I wish to kayak as long as I can and hope that some day my Grandkids will find my paddle jornal and maybe follow in my paddle strokes. I’ll look for you on the water, George

bring little trash
Some of the members of my club will burn trash in a fire, more than just papper. This pisses me off! The last thing I want in a wilderness experience is the smell of burning garbage. Re-package, Reduce, and pack out what you have. If you try, your garbage can be small, dry, and not stinky.

burning plastic/styrofoam
first off, smells really bad, but that’s not the worst part. The chemicals given off by burning petroleum based products (plastic!) and whatever styrofoam is derived from are NOT good for you, lot of possible carcinogens there. I’d rather be eaten by a bear in the backcountry than die a long, slow, painful death in a hospital because I didn’t want to pack out a snickers bar wrapper.

It’s pretty easy…
…stuff them into you buddy’s pack while they

aren’t looking.

S’what I do.

does it piss you off…
that everyone in your club (including you)drives to the trailhead in fossil fuel guzzling vehicles which pollute the air with the same stuff that is in styrofoam and plastic wrap?

this is not to say that you don’t have a VERY valid point, but there is a matter of proportionality that comes into play. The amount of pollution generated by burning trash is highly unlikely to approximate the amount generated in getting you to the woods in the first place.

Lots of stuff comes

– Last Updated: Jan-09-05 8:20 PM EST –

double packaged. Take all the MRE's out of the pouch discard the cardboard boxes. Also all other exra wrappers too. Saves space and weight. As for burning wrappers, I do.


– Last Updated: Jan-11-05 12:56 PM EST –


A Screw-Top Plastic Jar / Fruit Bags

– Last Updated: Jan-10-05 1:11 PM EST –


Ah, the fruit bags! This idea came to me while I was shopping. These bags are typically long and narrow, actually like a tube...long enough to make several bags out of each! I buy several oranges bananas and apples, etc. But, rather than throw them all into a single bag, I tear one bag off the roll for every two or three fruit!

So, on my trip, after I remove a banana from the bag, I tie the bag tightly and cut it from the main bag. Now, I have two bags...the shortened main bag, and a funny looking smaller bag with a knot for the bottom! What's great about this, is that you always have a neat little bag to store wet and slimey stuff! I put the peels in this bag and tie another knot. Simple and effective. Also, keep a couple extra bags for other items. They take up no weight or space. Oh, and they're FREE!


I use a large (gallon) screw-top plastic jar for the nastier trash, which I try to keep to a minimum to begin with. I usually bag such trash in the fruit bags first. No odor!

Burning Trash
Burning trash is acceptable in some areas and unacceptable in others. Know your local regs.

On long trips I prefer to snack mostly and have a good meal once a day. Hard salami, cheese, canned fruit and veggies, trail mix, tortillas, are amoung my basics. Smoked oysters with tobasco is a treat I like to give myself on long trips. Add cheese and crackers and you can stuff yourself with one can.

For me a weeks worth of smashed cans weighs about a pound. They fit into a baggie. Burn them in a fire or rinse them out to clean them.

Plastic burns safely if you have a hot fire. Most times you won’t be able to build a hot enough fire to burn plastic.

Burning plastic
Being a 39yr. old male, I was at one time a young adolescent male (picture Beavis). Having spent a good deal of my pre-teen/early teen years “burning stuff”, I had plenty of opportunity to burn plastic. I can tell you that burning plastic gives off black, acrid smoke that lingers and sticks to everything. If you burn plastic indoors, you will actually see particulates floating around (like short black hairs). I am also employed in the construction industry and can tell you that buildings with exposed polyethelene film (clear plastic) will not pass a final building inspection due to the dangerous fumes produced by polyethelene combustion.

For these reasons, I do not burn plastic and would never do so in a public fire pit that someone else might cook food over.

Chill dude!

Burning Plastics
The burning of plastic in temperatures less than 800 degrees Celsius in an open space creates noxious fumes such as hydrogen cyanide and other poisonous gases which cause air pollution resulting in skin, and respiratory problems and also certain kinds of cancer.

<I feel bad owning a royalex boat (plastic yeck!)>

a daily regimen of self flagellation would help your personal dilemma…


like I said above just because you burn plastic doesn’t mean it’s gone. It will merely break down and still be there thousands of years after you leave it. Out of sight, and out of mind is not a good practice.


Compared to what?
And if you take it home and send it to the landfill, it will be THERE for thousands of years. “Out of sight, out of mind” is the ONLY “practice” available for most plastic trash. (Yes, I know some is recyclable. Most isn’t.)