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Backpacking and zero waste

Planning a multi day backpacking trip and its got me really thinking about how much waste we might produce in the process. With the recommendations to re pack food into zip-top bags and all the other ways those are easy to use for lightweight storage, im realizing that we will be creating a lot of trash. In everyday life its a bit easier to make small changes to aim for zero waste; using old jars, reusable cutlery...etc, but when backpacking weight really matters! Looking for tips on how to go backpacking while continuing to work towards a zero waste lifestyle. Thanks! 

15 Replies

my gear is mostly trash already, used water bottles, plastic spoons, old containers, etc. Reuse, Reuse, Reuse. 

thats true! sometimes i forget that the easiest zero waste options are the things i already own, its easy to get caught up in all the new items when the best purchase is none at all!

I am greater than zero.

Hang up your hangups and get outside.


Great question! I agree that reusable, silicone ziploc bags are your best bet along with beeswax wraps. Yes, they’re more expensive upfront, but in the long run you save because you don’t have to keep buying them every month! Also, the weight difference is really negligible. It might take some time & experimentation so go easy on yourself, be safe and have fun. 

Instead of buying silicone bags, I've opted to wash and reuse regular Ziplocs.  I've been using the same bags to split my Mountain House into for more than half a dozen years.  After I get back from a trip, people who come over laugh at my kitchen with all the lined up bags drying...getting ready for next trip.

The advice you all have shared in this thread has been amazing to read. Thanks for asking great questions and sharing your insights!

I just came across this new video by Miranda in the Wild on zero waste backpacking and had to share it here. If you're keen on watching, you might find some good tips like I did!

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