Shane Dowling : Leaving no Trace

While I was camping along the West Coast of the US, I heard about the Leave No Trace movement and found the idea very much resonated with me. Recently, I've found myself looking around day to day and wondering where I could start leaving less of a trace. We can all hate on consumerism, but lets face it, well all need to consume a certain amount to live in the modern world. So this isn't a guide on becoming a burlap wearing hermit, it's just a few things I've come up with for to start applying this idea into my life a little more.


The weather in London has finally started getting a little better, so I'm now alternating running and cycling to work instead of using public transport. Save money, contribute less carbon and free exercise. The benefits are obvious but we all know it's not that simple. Start small and build from there.


I have a Nespresso machine and looking back, I kind of regret that purchase. They do provide a recycling program(I assume in response to the massive amounts of waste going on), so please do use that if you can. It's still not great and I do feel guilty about that level of waste. I've picked up some re-usable pods and compost the coffee grounds(they're great for plants). I already have an aero-press with a steel filter that provides almost no waste(beyond the coffee itself), so I am tempted to, swap back to that. Will see if the effort becomes a bother again.

Reducing Waste

Find out what your local authority can take in terms of recycling. For the UK here's a postcode finder, that displays the information you need.

When things break


Here's a few things to try before hitting that store:


When you need to buy something new

In General

There's a bunch of places where you can buy second hand. eBay, Gumtree, Shpock, Craigslist are all great options when you need something new that doesn't have to be new.



Just buy less

Okay, so there's a little bit of anti-consumerism going on. I'm not going to bore you landfill stats or other miserable information about waste, that's not the point. Just maybe take some time to contemplate your purchases a little more, perhaps when you feel the urge to buy item X add it to your calendar for 30 days in the future and see where you get to.