Zero Waste Camping on the National Park to Park Highway

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On our weekly Go Green litter pick up hike.

Zero Waste
I’ve been interested in Zero Waste living for a while. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Zero Waste is a movement of drastically reducing the amount of trash you generate through composting, recycling, reusing as much as possible and making more package free purchasing choices. Basically it’s being aware and taking action to reduce the amount of garbage in your life.

After reading the book Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson, I made several changes in our daily life to reduce the amount of trash we generate. I now bring reusable produce and grocery bags to the grocery store, shop in the bulk section and cloth diaper Baby L. But camping? That’s a whole different beast.

Think of your last camp out. Paper plates, propane containers, plastic water bottles – all that rubbish has to go somewhere. Yes single use items are super convenient, but once they’re used the remains are shipped away to rot in a landfill, and in the case of plastic items they’ll stay there long after we’re gone.

Mountain Dad and Baby L picking up garbage on our local trail.

Think of how much trash you generated then multiply that by the 300 million – the number of visitors the National Park Service had last year. In Grand Teton National Park alone 1800 TONS of garbage is generated every season.

Subaru’s National Park Zero Landfill Initiative
As a sponsor for the 100 anniversary of the National Park Service and an industry leader in Zero Waste practices, Subaru has partnered with Grand Teton, Denali and Yosemite National Parks to reduce their garbage footprint. These three parks are part of a pilot program aimed to curb the amount of trash visitors produce in the parks each year.

This video from the Subaru website was really interesting:

Grand Teton National Park is the first stop on our National Park to Park Highway Route. That means the pressure is on. Will we be able to live a Zero Landfill lifestyle for seven weeks while driving more than 5,000 miles?

Nope. But that doesn’t mean we won’t try.

What’ll make our Grand Teton visit easier is staying with our trip sponsor at Togwotee Mountain Lodge. Their cabins have mini kitchettes, meaning preparing food will be as easy as it would be at home. Plus access to laundry facilities and flush toilets will make cloth diapering so much easier. That may be more than you want to know, but we’re doing everything we can to reduce the amount of trash we use. What about you?

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

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