family eating lunch

How to have a low-waste day trip

So you’re heading into one of our parks for the day, and looking to reduce your ecological footprint?

Here’s how to have a day of fun outside with a low-waste twist.

Your low-waste day trip actually starts before you head out with some pre-trip prep. Before heading out, think about what you need for your trip and how you can reduce your waste while bringing along all of the necessities.

This might mean spending the night or morning before a day trip prepping snacks from home instead of buying them along the way. The key to reducing your waste is paying attention to where you can cut back and replace wasteful items.

That’s where planning comes in.

Hit the road

So now you’re heading into the park, how can you make the road trip less wasteful?

car with canoe on roof

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

This goes for car snacks as well. Pack food ahead of time in reusable containers rather than creating more waste by buying snacks on the road.

Head for a hike

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

The key to any successful low-waste hike 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 some much needed refills when you’re done.

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

If you get hungry on the trail, make sure you pack some low-waste snacks ahead of time. Pick up some trail mix at a bulk store using a reusable container, and bring it along in your day pack for those mid-hike munchies.

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

person looking up at forest canopy

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

If you do end up producing any waste on your hike, remember to pack it out with you and dispose of it later.

Hungry? Time for lunch

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

Similar to your snacks, prepare your meal at home and bring it along in a cooler.

Snacks and water in reusable containers.

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

Always bring a cloth for the inevitable sticky hands and plates that comes along with outdoor dining. If you’ll need to wash dishes, make sure you come prepared.

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

The beach is calling

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

The good news is most of your beach essentials are already low-waste! Always remember to always have towels, chairs, and a cooler on hand for a great beach day. And, of course, sunscreen!

couple playing cards at the beach

While you’re staying hydrated in the sun, swap out single-use plastic cups for reusable cups with juice or pop from a larger jug. This an all-around good tip because you’ll find reusable cups with lids get significantly less sand in them, which makes for an overall more enjoyable drink.

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

Even the most sustainable group can leave behind a shovel or bucket. Take care to leave the beach more beautiful than you found it, and remember the pack in and pack out method.

Goodbye for now!

Time to head home! If you weren’t able to go 100% reusable, make sure you dispose of any garbage properly.

A visitor throwing out garbage

Many of our parks have different waste disposal rules depending on their region, so make sure to check signage carefully. If the closest garbage bin is full, look around for an empty one or bring the garbage home with you to dispose of there.

Think ahead for your drive home and pack snacks accordingly. There’s nothing like a full day in nature to build an appetite, and your group might need some extra snacks to get them home.

That’s it: you’ve had your low-waste day trip

Thank you for taking care of our wonderful parks!