“Take only photos, leave only footprints” This famous quote sums up sustainable travel perfectly.
Managing your rubbish when touring, can be challenging at first thought. However, once a bit of consideration has been given to the matter, it will become a simple habit of awareness.
Litter affects not only the visible pristineness of nature areas, but has an outstanding effect on both plantlife and wildlife as well as the environment as a whole. Properly caring for ones waste products is a very important aspect of sustainable travel.
Wildlife is severely impacted by the litter traditional tourism leaves behind. People should be more than aware of this, as we as a global society have seen countless examples over the decades, of the affects our rubbish has on wildlife. On average, the RSPCA cites 5 000 calls per annum in regards to harmful litter in areas where wildlife can be affected.
Wildlife is affected in a great many ways by improperly considered or disposed of, waste. It really only takes one moment of extra consideration from the traveller to prevent the negative effects of our litter on wildlife. As sustainable travel is about caring about the environment and protecting natural resources, being proactive to protect animals from our own carelessness is important.
Some suggestions regarding wildlife:
- Only dispose of rubbish, using proper disposal methods. This will aid in the prevention of animals accessing potentially harmful materials.
- If you are using a biodegradable bag for containing your rubbish for disposal in the bin, do tie the top of the bag closed. Animals will rummage and can still suffocate from the bag.
- Do not leave excess food behind for the animals. Although many good intentioned tourists leave food remnants for the hungry animals, so many of our consumables can be poisonous to wildlife or cause them to become ill. It is recommended to carry your food waste with you and to also dispose of that in the proper manner. It is quite often easy to find a disposal bin for bio waste.
- Remember: You visited for the pristine nature. The goal of sustainable travel and ecotourism is to leave a destination in as good, or better condition than you found it. Apply this principle to all of your tourism activities and consider yourself an ecotourist!
Proper Disposal Methods
Proper disposal methods of rubbish should be as automatic as washing one’s hands. Unfortunately, all too often, tourists leave their rubbish on the ground or in otherwise inappropriate places. Please do not drop your rubbish on the ground, or anywhere else except the clearly marked disposal bins.
Take your rubbish with you. It is recommended to carry a biodegradable, reusable or otherwise recyclable bag to carry your rubbish with you until you are able to find the proper place for disposal.
Find a bin for proper disposal. Globally, rubbish bins are clearly marked, usually in several languages including english. There are many reasons for using the properly marked bin for disposal. One of which is that bins for rubbish, especially in nature areas, will usually have a heavy lid to prevent animals from rummaging, and thus being harmed.
If you are a smoker: Please do not, in any case, drop your ashes or your tobacco products, on the ground. There are a wide variety of travel-friendly portable cases for ash and smoking related disposal which will keep the product waste encased until one is able to properly dispose of it. This could be a recommended product for carrying even if you are not a smoker, in the event that there is a group happening. It is always good to be prepared!
If you have used wooden tableware, those can be burned if you have had a small campfire, in the location determined by your local ranger or designated by the site. Please do take the time to research what the items are actually made of. Items made of wood, bamboo and bio materials are made to be environmentally friendly. However, as green washing is a serious issue faced in the current business environment, it is advised to exercise caution in reading the packaging to ensure that the tableware is not, for example, coated in harmful chemicals.
If you would like to incorporate items which are more sustainable and less rubbish, we will list some ideas below.
Some suggestions regarding items:
- Using bamboo items such as flatware or straws
- Bio items such as plates, bowls and papers which can biodegrade much easier than the alternatives
- Using a reusable bottle or trekking flask for water
- Foldable and reusable travel water bowls for dogs
- Using a washable cloth for noses, as opposed to papers
Properly managing one’s rubbish is one of many actions a person can take to be a conscientious traveller. This action takes only a small effort on the part of the traveller, but makes a big difference in the environment. Thank you for being responsible!
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