Subaru Offers Tips to Labor Day Travelers on Keeping National Parks Clean
Labor Day Weekend Expects to Bring Lots of Visitors to America’s Protected Parks
According to Subaru, more than 330 million people visited national parks last year, and it’s great to see so many people going out and seeing some of the most beautiful places in the U.S. But while getting into nature is generally a good thing, it does have a sinister side: The National Park Service manages nearly 100 million pounds of waste annually, much of that brought in by visitors from outside the park.
So in advance of Labor Day weekend, during which national park attendance usually spikes, the automaker known for its all-wheel-drive wagons and SUVs wants people to mind their actions a bit more and consider trying to reduce waste and litter.
One way to prevent unnecessary garbage, according to Subaru, is to download national park apps to a smartphone before arriving, allowing you to move about the park without the use of a paper map. Some of these apps work without cell service, offering more information than paper maps without any of the latter’s landfill or waste implications.
Another tip offered by the automaker is to bring along reusable mugs and water bottles, rather than relying on paper, plastic, or Styrofoam. Subaru says that 58 billion paper cups get sent to the landfill each year, so replacing those cups with your favorite coffee mug is a good way to reduce waste. The same can be said of plastic water bottles, which get thrown away at a rate of 2.5 million every hour in America. Reusable water bottles help reduce plastic waste, and as a bonus, if you forget one at home, you have an excuse to buy a National Park Service souvenir.
There’s lots of controversy surrounding plastic bags, with evidence from many different sources suggesting they’re better—and worse—than paper sacks. But an easy way to avoid the argument altogether is to bring along a reusable tote bag for groceries or souvenirs. Subaru says reusable bags help eliminate plastic bag waste, and we think they help avoid the negative consequences of both paper and plastic sacks.
Finally, Subaru says that leaving with what you brought is a good way to reduce national park waste. The company points out that recycling and composting programs can be hard to find in many of the rural areas in which national parks lie, so simply bringing home a well-sealed bag of your own trash is a good way to ensure it will be disposed of properly.
These tips fall into line with Subaru’s Zero Landfill initiative, a joint effort in reducing waste between the company, the National Parks Conservation Association, the National Park Foundation, and the National Park Service. One of the initiative’s programs saw the installation of clearly marked recycling containers at three of the country’s most iconic parks: Denali, Grand Teton, and Yosemite. By partnering with Recycling Across America, the program has seen a significant reduction in landfill waste in each of the three parks, with visitors encouraged to properly recycle their garbage.
If you do make it out to a national park (or any other scenic spot in nature) this weekend, be sure to drop us a line and let us know about it!