Learn how to reduce plastic food waste on your next hiking or camping trip

Learn how to reduce plastic food waste on your next hiking or camping trip

Want to use less plas­tic on your next adven­ture? Try these tips – includ­ing some recipe ideas from our rangers.

We’ve all been there, pack­ing for a day out hik­ing or a few days camp­ing and want­i­ng to keep things sim­ple and light­weight.

Well that doesn’t have to mean stock­ing up on a heap of pre-packed snacks and meals wrapped in sin­gle-use plastic.

Here are some tips, ideas and recipe sug­ges­tions that will make your food and snacks for your next hik­ing trip light­weight and plastic-reduced.

1. Try your hand at food dehy­drat­ing instead of buy­ing prepacked snacks

A lot of hik­ing food comes pre-pack­aged. Often it’s freez­er-dried with lots of addi­tives and comes in plas­tic or non-recy­clable bags.

These meals have their place when you need a quick and easy light­weight meal. But why not try dehy­drat­ing you own food and meals and pack­ing them in eco-friend­ly containers.

Here are some ideas:

  • Dehy­drate sin­gle food items so you can mix and match them. Things like toma­toes, cau­li­flower rice, zuc­chi­ni, grat­ed car­rot and mush­rooms work well.
  • Dehy­drate fruit to add flavour to your meals – rasp­ber­ries, straw­ber­ries and man­goes are yummy
  • Serve these dehy­drat­ed foods with tex­tured veg­etable pro­tein, red lentils (they cook quick­ly), cous­cous, quinoa and instant polenta.

2. Con­sid­er plas­tic alter­na­tives for food storage

While you don’t want your food to go off or get wet, there are alter­na­tives to plas­tic bags that can be used for every­thing from your packed lunch­es to trail mix. You might like to try:

  • calico/​cotton food bags
  • com­postable zip lock bags
  • veg­eta­bles wrapped in paper
  • squeeze tubes or sealed plas­tic con­tain­ers for condi­ments or wet foods. These can be washed and reused when you get home.

3. Be mind­ful of what you throw out and where

Even if you’ve done your best to min­imise your use of sin­gle-use plas­tics and foods with dis­pos­able wrap­pers, you might still find your­self with some rub­bish after you’ve eaten.

In nation­al parks, there aren’t any bins so make sure you pack any rub­bish away in a bag or con­tain­er, throw it in your back­pack and take it home with you to dis­pose of.

Don’t ever put rub­bish down pit toi­lets – this isn’t what they’re designed for, and it will be left to the park’s rangers to clean out, which isn’t the best use of their time and expertise!

And while we’re talk­ing waste… Always bury your toi­let waste.

Dig a hole about 15 to 20 cm deep, go to the toi­let and fill the hole back in with soil. Avoid bury­ing toi­let paper – take it home with you in one of your com­postable zip lock bags.

When you take your rub­bish home you save Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice waste man­age­ment costs, allow­ing the team to pro­vide oth­er ser­vices high­ly val­ued by the com­mu­ni­ty, such as employ­ing infor­ma­tion offi­cers and rangers who pro­vide impor­tant park infor­ma­tion ser­vices and main­tain parks vis­i­tor facilities.

Try these meal ideas

Won­der­ing how to turn these tips and tricks into a menu for your next adven­ture? Here are some sug­ges­tions from our rangers:

Break­fast: Hot or cold por­ridge – use oats or mues­li and milk pow­der. Put it all in a reusable con­tain­er and add your deli­cious dehy­drat­ed fruit to the top of your por­ridge – sure beats those sachet instant versions!

Lunch: Dried bis­cuits or wraps with sala­mi, parme­san cheese and your dehy­drat­ed toma­toes or oth­er veg­eta­bles, (chut­ney, miso, veg­emite or peanut but­ter are great condiments).

Din­ner: Lentil cur­ry – red lentils, your favourite cur­ry pow­der, onion pow­der, gar­lic pow­der, salt, pep­per, dehy­drat­ed peas, car­rot, zuc­chi­ni and pow­dered coconut milk. You can put all ingre­di­ents into one reusable plas­tic con­tain­er or com­postable zip lock bag. Have with noo­dles, instant polen­ta or cous cous.

Dessert: Apple crum­ble – dried apples, milk pow­der, vanil­la cus­tard pow­der, sug­ar and cin­na­mon. Put all ingre­di­ents into one com­postable zip lock bag. Once these ingre­di­ents have cooked, sprin­kle with oat­meal or gin­ger nut biscuits.

Send in your bush­walk­ing and camp­ing recipes, we’d love to see the deli­cious meals that you cre­ate while you’re out and about in nature.

You might also like our sto­ries:How to have a low-waste camp­ing trip when it comes to your menu,Every­thing you need to know for your first camp­ing trip in a nation­al parkandEvery­thing you need to know about cook­ing on a camp­ing trip.

(Main image cour­tesy of Folk of all Trades)

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living