Gronell Experience

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Zero-waste trekking: 10 tips for a waste-free mountain

Zero-waste trekking: 10 tips for a waste-free mountain

Reading time: 3 minutes


The term 'zero-waste trekking' is one of the many neologisms that have sprung up in recent years to describe an attitude (fortunately) increasingly widespread among lovers - and amateurs - of the mountains.


It is a series of tricks, tips and real rules to make hiking days completely zero impact: zero waste, zero environmentally harmful behaviour, zero traces of one's passage.


Those who know the mountains well will already know what we are talking about, but it is always useful to brush up - especially for beginners: many seemingly harmless behaviours actually have a much greater impact than we expect!


Here are our 10 tips for a sustainability-proof trekking day.


  1. USE YOUR WATER BOTTLE

Avoid disposable plastic bottles to reduce the risk of littering nature. Actually, it's a plus for you too: thermal water bottles keep your water cool all day long!


  1. PREPARE FRESH FOOD

Instead of bringing single-portion packages or pre-packaged snacks, prefer fresh food, putting it in airtight, reusable containers - both nature and your health will thank you.


  1. BRING AN AIRTIGHT BAG

For the unavoidable rubbish, take a strong nylon bag with you, perhaps with an airtight zip fastener: you can put all kinds of rubbish in it, without risking soiling your rucksack or losing any pieces.


  1. CUT THE FRUIT BEFORE LEAVING

As with pre-packaged snacks, prepare fruit or vegetables in advance, cutting them into ready-to-eat pieces and using airtight containers.


This operation is particularly important: contrary to popular belief, cores, peels and various scraps take a long time to decompose in nature, and can cause damage both to wild animals that might eat them and to the ecosystem around where you leave them!


  1. AVOID WIPES

Wet wipes are among the enemies of sustainability par excellence: disposable, non-biodegradable, extremely polluting to all kinds of environments. Rather carry an extra water bottle and some organic, biodegradable soap, making sure it does not contain any harmful substances.


  1. 4-LEGGED FRIENDS

If you have a dog, find out before you set off if you can take it with you: on some trails animals are not allowed, not least to avoid making the area dirty.


It seems superfluous to mention, but very often you will see abandoned bags containing the dogs' 'organic waste' lying around in meadows and woods: it's all natural anyway, so if you are in an area that allows animals, avoid picking up and leaving the bag around - it's much worse to see plastic abandoned for years than organic material that disappears immediately, isn't it?


  1. NATURAL TOILET

If you have to go to the toilet and there are no facilities in the area, take some small precautions: move at least 50 to 100 metres away from the water courses, dig a small hole and cover it with soil so as not to contaminate the ecosystem.


  1. 5-STEP RULE

If you have stopped at a spot for a while (for a break, snack, lunch, etc.), always check the area within a 5-step radius around you before leaving: this will ensure that you have not forgotten or abandoned anything.


  1. THE OTHER POLLUTION

Pollution’ does not just mean littering: it means respecting the mountains and those who use them in every way, avoiding spoiling the landscape (e.g. by picking flowers or trampling areas off the marked trails), interacting with animals, taking up unnecessary space (there are specially equipped areas for huge picnics) and above all making too much mess or being too loud - everyone has the right to enjoy the mountains at their best!


  1. TAKE IT ALL AWAY

We have already established that plastic, industrial waste and food scraps should not be abandoned: but everything we leave around irreparably pollutes the environment, even paper tissues or wooden toothpicks. When you are about to throw something on the ground, always ask yourself: if I did not leave it, would it naturally be part of this environment?


Respecting the mountain involves many small measures, even those that seem most trivial: we must always remember that a small effort is enough to create something big.


Bonus: if we haven't convinced you yet, here is how long it takes the most common waste to decompose in nature

  • Paper handkerchief: 1 to 5 years

  • Banana peel: 1 to 3 years

  • Nylon fibre: 60 years

  • Plastic bag: 120 years

Plastic bottle: 500 to 1,000 years





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Artisan passion, Italian tradition.

Ours is a story that begins a long time ago, but that still today is made of love for the mountain and patient dexterity.

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