- Why you shouldn't litter while hiking

Hiking? Why you should think twice about throwing litter or food on the trail

June 03, 2020

If you're a hiker who doesn't think twice about tossing your leftovers along the side of the trail, we're asking you to reconsider. 

Today, many people are leaving food behind while hiking on purpose. Why? Maybe they think they're helping by feeding the hungry animals? Perhaps they don't want to carry their leftover food on the rest of their hike, and tossing it seems harmless. 

In this article, we will give you a few examples of why tossing your human food is bad for wildlife. In the end, we hope you'll reconsider tossing anything aside next time you're out hiking. - Why you shouldn’t litter while hiking.

Hiking expert or not, most people know littering is bad for the environment. 

With the pace of today's world, we need to take time out, so we don't burn out. Some of us do that by kicking back in front of the tv, while others prefer hiking in nature. 

Regardless of whether or not you're a hiking enthusiast, you've likely seen the images of an animal strangled by a plastic soda-can holder. Generally speaking, people know littering is harmful and damaging our environment. 

Why then, if people 'know better', is littering such a common problem? Many people leave food, wrappers, or other materials on the trail because they don't want to have to carry their trash while hiking. Others think their waste is biodegradable, so it feels harmless. Both are affecting wildlife and our environment and should be avoided. At this point, we're begging you to at least grab a plastic bag and take it with you on your next hiking adventure. You can put your leftovers and trash in the bag, loop the handles through your belt loop, and voila, hands-free hiking. 

However, if you're thinking, there must be a better way than using a plastic bag, we agree with you! Plastic bags are also harmful to our environment, but that's a discussion for another day. Check out our Colony Cleanup bag. We designed it to help hikers pack out their trash in a simple yet stylish way. It's compact at the same time provides a lot of room for extra litter you may find along your way. Our bag has straps that also provide you with hands-free hiking. 

At Colony Cleanup, we encourage you to take part in and spread the word, to "Leave No Trace". Our environment and wildlife need you. - Why you shouldn’t litter while hiking.

What's the problem with tossing aside biodegradable food while hiking? 

It seems harmless right, you toss your leftover granola bar and watch a cute squirrel race to pick it up. You're feeling like a superhero and wondering if the eye contact the squirrel just made with you was its way of saying, "Thank you!" We hate to ruin the moment, but your good intentions may actually backfire, and here's why. 

First, when a large number of animals gather in one location because of food availability, they learn to expect to be fed. You know, like the Pavlov's Dog theory. This can lead to many problems. One imparticular problem seems to hit home, especially right now. As a result of more animals in one location, there is more potential for diseases to spread. Sound familiar? You can think of your tossed food as the reason why animals stop maintaining social distance. We know diseases can spread among animals. Furthermore, diseases among animals can mutate and spread to the human population. 

Second, you are not likely doing any favors for your furry or feathered friends. Human food usually does not meet the animal's nutritional needs. On the contrary, it could actually be bad for the animal's health. Eating what nature intends for wild animals to eat is the best way for wildlife to stay nourished. 

Next, animals eating everyone's extras can cause them to be able to reproduce at a higher rate than the ecosystem can sustain. In other words, nature has its own way of maintaining a balance between food and wildlife. Your leftovers or litter of any kind are doing more damage than good. 

We suggest tossing your leftovers in your Colony Cleanup Bag. You can still watch that cute squirrel, though. - Why you shouldn’t litter while hiking.

Want to help wildlife as well as enhance your own hiking experience? 

Join us! Our goal at Colony Cleanup is to keep our trails litter-free, and we need your help. We're a united group with simple rules, so it's easy to join. 

All we need is your email address so we can add you to our list. We'll send you tips for helping us carry out our mission.

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