Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
How to Go on a Low Waste Day Trip

So you’re spending the day in one of our parks and looking to reduce your ecological footprint?

Here’s how to spend a day of outdoor fun with a low-waste twist.

Your low-waste day trip starts before you leave with some pre-trip preparations. Before you leave, think about what you need for your trip and how you can reduce your waste while taking everything you need with you.

This could mean spending the night or morning before a day trip preparing snacks at home instead of buying them on the road. The key to reducing waste is to pay attention to where you can cut out and replace wasted items.

That’s where planning comes into play.

hit the road

Now that you’re headed to the park, how can you make the road trip less wasteful?

Car with canoe on the roof.

If you often stop for coffee before hitting the road, consider bringing it from home in a travel mug.

This also applies to car snacks. Pack food ahead of time in reusable containers instead of creating more waste by buying snacks along the way.

Head on a hike

Now that you’re in the park, you’ve decided you want to stretch your legs with a walk. How can you continue reducing your waste?

The key to any successful journey towards reducing waste is a reusable water bottle. Fill your bottle at home ahead of time and bring a larger reusable jug to leave in the car for much-needed refills when you’re done.

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Person holding a blue water bottle with a turtle emblem.Need a new bottle and want to give something back to the parks? Purchases from our online store help fund our Turtle Protection Project!

If you get hungry along the way, be sure to pack some waste-free snacks ahead of time. Buy some trail mix at a bulk store using a reusable container and carry it in your backpack for those mid-hike snacks.

Looking for a more substantial snack? Try making your own granola bars and packaging them in beeswax wraps or reusable containers.

person looking up at the forest canopy

Pro tip: pack your granola bar in a container so it doesn’t get squished at the bottom of your package!

If you end up producing waste during your hike, remember to pack it with you and dispose of it later.

Hungry? Lunch time

Meals are the biggest opportunity to reduce waste consumption by swapping single-use items for more sustainable options. Instead of packing paper plates and plastic cups, carry a set of plates and cutlery.

As with snacks, prepare your food at home and pack it in a cooler.

Snacks and water in reusable containers.

Instead of sandwiches in plastic bags, bring containers and plates. For drinks, refill water in the car or bring reusable juice boxes for those looking for something sweet.

Always carry a cloth for the inevitable sticky hands and dishes that accompany outdoor dining. If you need to do the dishes, make sure you come prepared.

Once you’re done, pack everything up and continue your day of outdoor fun!

The beach is calling

After lunch it is time to enjoy the sun and sand of the beach.

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The good news is that most beach essentials already generate little waste! Always remember to always have towels, chairs and a cooler on hand for a great day at the beach. And, of course, sunscreen!

couple playing cards on the beach

While you’re hydrating in the sun, swap out single-use plastic cups for reusable cups with juice or soda from a larger pitcher. This is a good general tip because you will find that reusable cups with lids contain much less sand, making for a more enjoyable drink overall.

Once you’re ready to pack, be sure to do a good scan of your area and pick up everything.

Even the most sustainable group can leave behind a shovel or a bucket. Be careful to leave the beach more beautiful than you found it and remember the pack-in and take-out method.

Goodbye for now!

It’s time to go home! If it couldn’t be 100% reusable, make sure you dispose of trash properly.

A visitor throwing trash.

Many of our parks have different waste disposal rules depending on your region, so be sure to check the signage carefully. If the nearest trash container is full, look for an empty one or take your trash home to dispose of there.

Think ahead about your trip home and prepare snacks accordingly. There’s nothing like a full day in nature to work up an appetite, and your group may need a few extra snacks to get home.

That’s it: you’ve had your day trip with little waste

Thank you for taking care of our wonderful parks!