Quick Concept for Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack It In, Pack It Out)

Quick Concept for Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack It In, Pack It Out)

Arrangements for this activity must be made a week or two in advance. Find a location that is littered with garbage—for example, a roadside, a park, or a high school parking lot right after school. This activity can also be conducted during organized cleanup projects sponsored by groups that have adopted road segments or recreation sites. If you cannot find or visit a littered area, simulate a littered area at or near your meeting site. Be sure to pick up the litter at the end of this activity.

Grabbing Your Group’s Attention (20 minutes)

Travel to the site. Have the participants observe the littered site and record in writing what they think of this situation and how it makes them feel. Present participants with garbage bags and challenge them to make the area look more pleasant.

The Activity

Break the group into pairs and issue plastic garbage bags to each pair. Have a contest to see who can collect the most garbage in 5 to 10 minutes. Instruct the group to use care when picking up sharp, rusty, or unsanitary waste. You may want to have participants bring light gloves for this activity.

The Discussion

Discuss what litter is and the effects of litter in general. Discuss the effects of litter in the backcountry. Divide participants into pairs and have each pair devise a plan for packing out garbage on the next backcountry trip. Discuss each plan. How do one-pot meals contribute to the creation of less bulk and therefore less garbage? What, if anything, can an individual do about the litter of other backpackers? Refer to the Background on the Principles of Leave No Trace for details to assist you in this discussion.

Note: A Quick Concept on sanitation (which falls under dispose of waste properly) has not been developed. However, the lesson in the Activity Plans section is short enough to be used as a Quick Concept.