Planet Ark News

Leave Nothing But Footprints

Date: 27-Jan-15
Author: Marty Middlebrook

Turn your esky into a recycling bin © Marty Middlebrook

Turn your esky into a recycling bin

It's a great time of year for getting outdoors, but when you've got bags of rubbish and nowhere to put them - how do you manage to recycle? Here are some tips from the campsite to help you recycle when options are limited.

Getting back to nature is great for your health and well-being but it can make managing your waste more difficult. Depending on where you're pitching your tent you'd be lucky to find a garbage bin, let alone a recycling point. Successful recyclers do it wherever they go, but when in areas with no options available, it can be hard to know what to do with leaky cans, bottles, soft plastic wrapping from a sandwich, muesli bar wrappers or apple cores.

Many outdoor holiday goers wonder if there is an easy way to reduce the amount of recyclable waste (that you would otherwise dispose of responsibly) without the added burden of carrying it around with you.

Think Ahead, Be Prepared and Pack Smart

Managing your waste and recycling requires a bit of pre-planning. Reduce the amount of waste you will produce by packing reusable plates, cups and cutlery rather than using disposables. If you don't want to bring your kitchenware away with you, consider bringing cardboard or biodegradable options.

Meal planning is another great way to foresee the amount of waste you think you will produce on a holiday. Taking an hour or so to plan your meals will help you think of alternative ways to package food, without over indulging in cling-wrap. 

Start Recycling Early

Bring along several bags or containers to keep the recyclables easily distinguishable from waste and make sure everyone you're traveling with know to keep waste and recycling separate. It will make it easier to sort when you get back to civilisation.

If you live in a metro area you can also keep hold of all your soft plastics and drop them off at a Coles or Woolworths store for recycling when you get home.

Divide waste among friends - one can carry the rubbish, the other carries the recyclables (and where possible - someone can take the soft plastic).

Use Your Esky as a Recycling Bin

If you brought food and drink on the trip in an esky why not put the containers back in, once they're empty? It's an airtight way to keep your car clean and doesn't waste any space! 

Lastly, before heading off on your bush-bashing adventure, know your options. If you are not aware of any recycling facilities where you are going - find out where the nearest drop off points are by visiting

Find out more about recycling when out and about...

  • Recycling Week
  • Business Recycling
  • recycling Near You
  • Make It Wood
  • Tree Day
  • Cartridges for Planet Ark