It may be that nature suddenly is calling to so many who are new to the outdoors. Or, maybe it’s that many of us who used to pick up other people’s trash are reluctant to touch it now. Regardless, even as we need our beautiful places more than ever, land managers across Colorado are seeing a sudden rise in litter.
Let’s trash the trash. Picking it up, even in these times, is easy and safe. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says it’s just fine to pick up any kind of trash using the tried-and-true method for picking up pet waste. Here’s how you do it:
- Always bring along plastic grocery bags.
- Grab the trash — old banana peels, discarded face masks, whatever — through the bag.
- Turn the bag inside out, tie it up, and now it’s ready for the trashcan. If you can’t find an empty one, just put the bagged trash in your pack for a while. It’s totally safe, even if there’s food in your pack.
And please, please don’t leave a pet waste baggie on the trail. Even if you really mean to pick it up on your way out. People forget, and pet waste is not just unsightly, but disruptive to wildlife. Here’s a tip: Keep an old wide-mouthed water bottle (clearly labeled “Not for Drinking”) in your pack just for this occasion. Or, outfit your furry buddies with their own packs, so they can pack it out themselves.
Together, we can trash the trash. Especially in times like this.
© 1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org