Being sustainable in this industry is difficult; there’s a lot of waste inherent in travel. One of the major issues we face as a green business is what to do with all of our lightly used (and sometimes more than lightly used) gear. Providing camping trips in Yosemite (and adventurous experiences all over the United States) results in a lot of sleeping bags, tents, sleeping pads, and camping equipment left over at the end of the season. A lot of times, our guests also purchase gear for the sole purpose of taking our tours, and when they’re done, they don’t want to have to bring it all back home with them, so they leave it with us. This all adds up quickly.
We believe strongly in responsible tourism and sustainable travel. In order to minimize waste and support our community, Incredible Adventures has several ways that we reuse and donate these items:
1. FIX IT: We order new parts (instead of buying whole new sets) to decrease waste and make the most use out of our gear. If we wind up with equipment that’s too damaged to donate or pass on, we’ll take any usable parts off of them, so that we can repair our equipment.
2. RECYCLE: We then try to recycle anything we can. San Francisco has launched a zero-waste initiative that now includes textiles, and we’re very excited to have new options for safely and responsibly recycling these items when they’re too worn to use or donate!
3. DONATE: There are many programs in San Francisco dedicated to providing shelter, food, and safety to the low-income and homeless populations in the city. We donate all of our usable sleeping bags and blankets to Project Homeless Connect to be passed down to people in need. Side note: the PHC office also saves all of their single-side printed paper for us to re-use for our own internal printing needs (so that we’re only using new printer paper when it’s necessary)!
This week, Incredible Adventures also donated roughly 30 sleeping bags and some tents to SFUSD Starr King elementary school’s 5th grade class camping trip. This school serves a large population of low income families, and camping trips like this can help inner city kids get in touch with nature and learn more about the environment.
We’re happy to be able to provide assistance to our community, and are glad that the equipment we accrue can go to good causes.