Your Guide to “Pack it in, Pack it out” on Your Sunshine Coast Kayak Adventure

Are you gearing up for an unforgettable Sunshine Coast kayak escapade? Well, before you hit the water and dive into the wonders of nature, there’s an essential mantra we need to chat about: “Pack it in, Pack it out.”

Pedals and Paddles launch beach as seen by a drone.

Picture this: You’re gliding through crystal-clear waters, surrounded by breathtaking coastal vistas, seabirds soaring overhead, and the gentle rustle of the ocean breeze. It’s a scene straight out of a dream, right? Now, imagine encountering plastic wrappers, food scraps, or other litter tarnishing that pristine beauty. Not exactly the idyllic experience you had in mind.

That’s where “Pack it in, Pack it out” comes into play. It’s more than just a catchy phrase; it’s a mindset and a commitment to preserving the natural splendor of our beloved coastal playgrounds. So, let’s break it down:

1. Embrace the Golden Rule of Exploring Nature: Leave No Trace

Ocras swimming in the Sechelt Inlet

As seasoned paddlers, we have a responsibility to minimize our environmental footprint. Before embarking on your kayak adventure, take a moment to review the golden principles of Leave No Trace:

  • Plan ahead and prepare: Pack reusable containers for snacks and drinks, and bring along a sturdy trash bag for collecting waste.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Remember, whatever you bring with you must return. Secure all trash in your kayak and dispose of it in designated bins on shore.
  • Respect wildlife: Keep a safe distance from marine life and nesting birds, and avoid disturbing their natural habitats.

2. Choose Sustainable Gear and Practices

When gearing up for your kayaking excursion, opt for eco-friendly gear and practices:

  • Bring a zippered bag or jacket to store any snack wrappers you may have.
  • Instead of bringing take-out for your lunch break, pack a lightweight, compact lunch in reusable containers to minimize packaging waste.
  • Invest in biodegradable sunscreen to protect both your skin and the environment from harmful chemicals.

Check out our guide on what to bring for more ideas. 

3. Educate and Inspire Other Sunshine Coast Kayakers

Spread the word about the importance of responsible paddling within your community and among fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Lead by example, share your knowledge, and inspire others to follow suit. Together, we can make a positive impact on our coastal ecosystems and preserve them for future generations to enjoy.

Surprising Decomposition Timeline for Common Garbage Left Behind

  • Plastic Bottles and Containers:

    • Timeline: Plastic bottles can take up to 450 years to decompose, while plastic containers can take anywhere from 20 to 500 years. These items not only clutter our trails and water but also pose a significant threat to wildlife through ingestion and entanglement.
  • Cigarette Butts:

    • Timeline: Surprisingly, cigarette butts can take up to 10 years to decompose due to the cellulose acetate material they’re made of. Besides being unsightly, they leach harmful chemicals into the environment and pose a danger to aquatic life when ingested.
  • Food Waste (e.g., Apple Cores, Banana Peels):

    • Timeline: While organic materials like apple cores and banana peels may seem harmless, they can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years to decompose, depending on environmental conditions. However, they still attract wildlife and disrupt natural ecosystems.
  • Takeout Containers and Styrofoam Cups:

    • Timeline: Styrofoam containers and cups can take an astonishing 500 years or more to decompose, polluting our trails and waterways in the process. Opting for reusable containers or those made from biodegradable materials is a much more sustainable choice.
  • Plastic Bags:

    • Timeline: Plastic bags can persist in the environment for up to 1,000 years, posing a severe threat to marine life through ingestion and entanglement. Consider using reusable cloth bags or paper bags when possible to reduce your plastic footprint.
  • Aluminum Cans:

    • Timeline: Aluminum cans can take up to 200 years to decompose. Recycling these cans not only conserves energy but also helps prevent pollution and habitat destruction.

Pack it in, Pack it out graphic showing how long garbage takes to decompose

By understanding the decomposition timelines of various types of garbage, we gain a deeper appreciation for the importance of responsible waste management during our outdoor adventures. Remember, every piece of trash we leave behind has a lasting impact on our environment and the creatures that call it home.

So, as you prepare for your next kayaking or canoeing adventure on the Sunshine Coast, remember this simple yet powerful mantra: “Pack it in, Pack it out.” Let’s paddle responsibly, leaving only footprints and memories behind. 

See you out on the water!