What else can we do? We already recycle!
Have you ever wanted to be a part of something bigger than yourself? To step away from what everyone is doing and do it just a little bit different? If you’d rather help out the little guy than the corporate giant and believe in a sharing economy, then this is worth a read.
Most outdoor adventurers regularly do their part for the planet. We recycle like crazy. Paper. Plastic. Glass. Metal. No problem. We might even literally collect waste (read compost) and stockpile it in our backyards. Solar power? Heck ya, that’s exiting! Electric cars? All praise Elon Musk (founder of Tesla)! However, with the exception of composting, this stuff becomes pretty high tech and costly. But there are also low-tech and low-cost ways for anyone to limit their eco-footprint.
Of course this is an obvious one. Seasoned backpackers excel at this out of necessity, but why doesn’t this translate to everyday life? Like in the grocery store: why is there bread that is wrapped in plastic and then placed in another plastic bag? Or toilet paper that is individually wrapped in plastic, stacked in a pile of 24 and then wrapped in plastic again? If you are ready to step up your game, and your local market allows for this, try shopping with a goal of zero trash. Bring your own glass containers, weigh them in store and be on your merry shopping way. Oh, and ‘Limiting Waste 101’: don’t forget those reusable bags!
Pack it in pack it out
Because it’s truly difficult (but apparently possible) to rid your life of waste completely, what really matters is that your waste actually ends up in the trash. Veer from the thought that, “it’s just one plastic cup” or “just one can”. Keep this in mind when you are prepping for a backpacking trip. Cliché but here it is: pack it in, pack it out. If you carried it in, then you have space to carry it out. Even your compostable food needs to be packed out; seeds can germinate and introduce new species to the area.
Think ahead and bring something to carry your garbage in so that it doesn’t leak all over your clothes. You can even bring an extra bag as you are sure to come across other people’s trash. Essentially: try to leave nothing but footprints. Stay on the trails and set up camp on existing campsites where applicable; otherwise find firm, dry ground with minimal vegetation. P.S. Don’t forget that garden trowel ;)
Alright, but limiting waste and recycling the usuals is a given. But what about all that outdoor clothing, footwear and gear? Finding a place to recycle textiles can be difficult. Plus, old gear often has life left to give when you decide to upgrade your equipment. Enter… Never Tracked Out Gear Trade- an online solution for reducing outdoor gear waste.
Recycle your gear
How does it work? In two ways. First, not all communities have mastered the local buy and sell of outdoor gear. And sometimes that perfect buyer lives beyond the borders of your current city, making it tricky to exchange the goods securely. Never Tracked Out connects communities across Canada with an online buy-and-sell that offers secure payment and shipping options. This means you don’t have to worry about being the first one to make a move, whether you are the buyer or the seller, because NTO guarantees the transaction’s success.
But what if you want to keep that 42L pack because once in a while your 35L is not quite enough? NTO also created an online platform for you to rent out your extra gear: peer to peer - across the globe.
When people travel, they often can’t bring all their gear with them. Your gear might be just the thing someone else needs to start their next adventure. Paddleboards, canoes, kayaks and tents will be sought after items this spring and summer. Or sometimes people just need an extra camp stove, cooler or dry bag to complete their gear repertoire.
We currently have an owner that listed his rooftop cargo carrier for rent; talk about thinking outside the box. With a peer to peer rental platform we can make items like these more accessible and more affordable. It’s a platform that fosters the sharing economy, where gear owners can share their gear and their knowledge with gear renters. That doesn’t mean that you have to divulge the secrets of your favourite powder stash, perfect curl or secret trail, but you can recommend a good starting point keeping in mind what you would appreciate if you were borrowing gear from a local.
Never Tracked Out Gear Trade was born out of the idea that gear sharing can have an even greater impact on the environment than it currently does. Sure it’s sometimes quick and easy to sell your gear on your local Facebook buy-and-sell or on mass markets like Kijiji, but how much value is there in that? Can it be done better?
As a member of 1% For The Planet, we want your gear sharing to give back to the planet. NTO was built on values of helping others, buying local, recycling and giving back. We all love to adventure and we all love the land we play on, so let’s start protecting it together in a type of gear share movement.
We believe that a well-run gear share can help others get outside, put a little extra money in your pocket and reduce consumption. Why not share your extra gear, help out others and get to know neighbours or visitors from around the world. It’s about human connections, the experience and reducing our eco-footprint by sharing what might otherwise go to waste. If and when your gear does finally reach the end of its life, try to find a place that will properly recycle textiles. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help find a solution.