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Toilet tissue on or by the trail

Joseph Stanford

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016
First, as a new person to the Camino, let me say thank you to everyone on this forum for much useful information and insights. We are just returning from our first Camino experience. We walked one week on the Arogenes from Jaca and then one week on the Frances starting at Pamplona. (Didn't get to Santiago this year, will have to come back!) It was intesting to compare the routes and we enjoyed both. Obviously there were many more people on the Frances. Another difference- and perhaps the only real negative of the whole time- was that many stretches of the Frances we walked had frequent toilet paper sightings, to the side of the trail or sometimes on it. In general, I picked up trash that I saw between towns to put in the next garbage/rubbish receptacle in the next village, but I am not willing to pick up toilet paper! I get that there are not enough toilets on the way, and that sometimes you have to go when you are several km away from a town. But why not either 1) carry a trowel and bury the toilet paper several inches deep, or 2) carry plastic baggies to put your toilet paper in and carry it out to discard at the next rubbish receptacle? Carrying out toilet paper is required for backpacking in many USA national parks, for example. Perhaps it should/could become expected on the Camino?
 
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Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
Perhaps we should be promoting the knowledgable tome How to Sh*t in the Woods, now in its third edition.

Seriously though, many people who on the Camino are new to all the vagaries of long distance walking. How best to inspire and educate them on best environmental practice is the issue.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
First, as a new person to the Camino, let me say thank you to everyone on this forum for much useful information and insights. We are just returning from our first Camino experience. We walked one week on the Arogenes from Jaca and then one week on the Frances starting at Pamplona. (Didn't get to Santiago this year, will have to come back!) It was intesting to compare the routes and we enjoyed both. Obviously there were many more people on the Frances. Another difference- and perhaps the only real negative of the whole time- was that many stretches of the Frances we walked had frequent toilet paper sightings, to the side of the trail or sometimes on it. In general, I picked up trash that I saw between towns to put in the next garbage/rubbish receptacle in the next village, but I am not willing to pick up toilet paper! I get that there are not enough toilets on the way, and that sometimes you have to go when you are several km away from a town. But why not either 1) carry a trowel and bury the toilet paper several inches deep, or 2) carry plastic baggies to put your toilet paper in and carry it out to discard at the next rubbish receptacle? Carrying out toilet paper is required for backpacking in many USA national parks, for example. Perhaps it should/could become expected on the Camino?

Hi Joseph,

I noticed this too, for the first time, on the Camino Francés just a week ago. I hadn't been on this camino since 2011 and I don't remember this problem from then.

This year I ran into two peregrinos who were picking up trash like you. They picked up everything they saw - except dirty toiletpaper, of course. They did this just because they were tired of the trash they constantly saw. I was amazed by their commitment. That's true "Camino angels" according to me! But I always wonder how people can just throw these things by the trail.

Unfortunately, on this Forum the catchphrase "Do your own Camino" is popular. I often hear that if you are irritated with something on the Camino you should just try to ignore it yourself and let others have their way... So I guess we should just let people throw the toilet paper on the Camino? Sorry, this is echoing a discussion on another thread. I just couldn't resist commenting it.

/BP
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
Perhaps we should be promoting the knowledgable tome How to Sh*t in the Woods, now in its third edition.

Seriously though, many people who on the Camino are new to all the vagaries of long distance walking. How best to inspire and educate them on best environmental practice is the issue.

Signs located in strategic locations to inform of wilderness ethics. Nobody likes signs ... but I'd rather have signs than signs of your passing.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Well, this is one of those things that just sticks in my craw. I have to say that I don't think that putting up signs will have much of an impact, but I could be wrong. I think that the people who use toilet paper and drop it on the ground know exactly what they are doing, know that it is ugly and disgusting, but are too thoughtless and self-indulged to care about it. And without wanting to bring up all that recent tumult about whether the "it's your camino" mantra is an underlying attitude that leads (though surely unintentionally) to practices like this, I'll just leave it with the thought that this type of irresponsible behavior is surely something we can all agree to be judgmental about!
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Unfortunately, on this Forum the catchphrase "Do your own Camino" is popular. I often hear that if you are irritated with something on the Camino you should just try to ignore it yourself and let others have their way... So I guess we should just let people throw the toilet paper on the Camino? Sorry, this is echoing a discussion on another thread. I just couldn't resist commenting it.
Come on! This is suggesting that people "on the Forum" condone throwing garbage on the Camino. I can't resist objecting to this silly and insulting comment. I am quite certain that the community of people on this forum are much less likely to do so than the average. But maybe we are just overdue for a thread on toilet paper and one on "my camino."

I occasionally pick up garbage on the beach near my home. I am no Camino angel for it. I am simply a good citizen.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Come on! This is suggesting that people "on the Forum" condone throwing garbage on the Camino. I can't resist objecting to this silly and insulting comment. I am quite certain that the community of people on this forum are much less likely to do so than the average. But maybe we are just overdue for a thread on toilet paper and one on "my camino."

I occasionally pick up garbage on the beach near my home. I am no Camino angel for it. I am simply a good citizen.

Hello,

You say that my comment is silly and insulting but you do not have any explanation as to why. I would much rather like that you explain why it is silly and insulting.

Wow, you get upset because I mentioned Camino Angel. Well, of course you are a good citizen and not a Camino angel if you are near your home.

Ease down.

/BP
 

Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
Signs located in strategic locations to inform of wilderness ethics. Nobody likes signs ... but I'd rather have signs than signs of your passing.
Unfortunately, these signs already exist along the Camino, this in someone's backyard (middle right of image):

D022_025.JPG
and speaking of backyards... if you wouldn't defecate in your own backyard, how could you possibly think that it would be OK in someone else's????
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
I am firmly in the camp of allowing each individual define how they choose to walk/ride/boat/fly/however you want to traverse from one point to another on the Camino. Additionally, I exert effort refrain from judging other humans.

However, I absolutely detest seeing toilet paper on/near any trail any where in the world. If we could have small drones that flew around to both film those who leave toilet paper and to splat them with bright pink paint so that everyone knew they were the vile offenders of nature I would support it. Something more needs to be done to clarify for every pilgrim that this behavior is totally unacceptable. If you make a mess you clean it up. You don't get to leave your poo and your paper for everyone else to observe.

I have never been good at correcting people in the act. I had a friend who was great at it and never felt embarrassed by correcting others when doing outrageous, offensive acts. I remember one time we had just arrived at a pristine mountain top, Jabel Hafeet, in the UAE. Upon parking my car and putting the windows down to enjoy the view and the fresh air a car pulled up, a middle aged man got out and began to throw his water bottle over a cliff (now understand, there were several large garbage bins about the area). My friend saw what he was doing and he immediately yelled at him to throw his plastic bottle in the garbage bin and berated him for not being considerate of the beauty of the area and everyone else that would have their view tarnished by his garbage. It embarrassed me, but upon looking back I wish I could be more forceful in this situations. He yelled, they picked up after themselves, and there was no argument.

What can I do? First, I never leave any evidence of my passing. If I bring something in and take it out. Second, if I see someone having a problem I need to help them remember either by picking up after them or having extra bags to assist them in cleaning up after themselves. Third, I am not sure I could ever yell at anyone - that is not my way of interacting with those I know much less those who are strangers, but this has to become a topic of conversation with others to help each walker and pilgrim know what is appropriate and what is not when on the Way and nature calls.

Lastly, just to emphasize, I am not recommending yelling or being overly aggressive with others. Please don't do that, but find a way to help each pilgrim to be respectful of the Way.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Ease down.
/BP
I will step down from my tiny pedestal and try to get my blood pressure under control.

I was pointing out that our behaviour and attitudes on the Camino are likely to be similar to what we have at home. Attitudes toward littering vary around the world. Over 50% of pilgrims are Spaniards and I don't think it is a great idea to be scolding them on the Camino.
 
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Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
Such an honest and balanced post, @MichaelB10398.

I think that this topic keeps cropping up because it is a blight on the landscape and disrespectful to the people who live along the Way. Posts in search of a solution.

What that lasting solution could be is being explored in our often passionate dialogue ;) Many high usage walks around the world now come with guidelines on leaving no trace with mixed reception and less success.

Some South Aussie Forum members may remember the highly successful KESAB (Keep SA beautiful!) TV advertisement. It showed a dinner party and guests scraping the leftovers from their plates onto the dining room carpet with the voiceover: You wouldn't rubbish your home. South Australia's your home. Keep SA beautiful!

There was also a committed campaign to enforce this message and fine people who continued to ignore it. Unfortunately it is necessary sometimes to remind people of how to behave in a respectful manner.

Lastly, just to emphasize, I am not recommending yelling or being overly aggressive with others. Please don't do that, but find a way to help each pilgrim to be respectful of the Way.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I will step down from my tiny pedestal and try to get my blood pressure under control.

I was pointing out that our behaviour and attitudes on the Camino are likely to be similar to what we have at home. Attitudes toward littering vary around the world. Over 50% of pilgrims are Spaniards and I don't think it is a great idea to be scolding them on the Camino.

I'm not sure about what you mean. I am not scolding anyone. I have never said that the majority doesn't care about throwing litter, nor the majority on the Forum or the majority on the Camino.

I said that the phrase "Do your own camino" is popular, and that it's a problem. That's my opinion and you are invited to have a different opinion. Perhaps you don't think that this particular phrase is as common as I do, or you don't interpret it the same way as I do.

My opinion is that people (regardless of how many they are) who use that phrase imply that the litter isn't a problem as long as you change your own perception of it. I believe that litter is a problem, regardless of what you think of it and that a problem can't be solved just by not thinking of it. I don't know if people using this catchphrase are Spaniards or not, but anyone who doesn't agree with me is free to object.

/BP
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I'm not sure about what you mean. I am not scolding anyone. I have never said that the majority doesn't care about throwing litter, nor the majority on the Forum or the majority on the Camino.

I said that the phrase "Do your own camino" is popular, and that it's a problem. That's my opinion and you are invited to have a different opinion. Perhaps you don't think that this particular phrase is as common as I do, or you don't interpret it the same way as I do.

My opinion is that people (regardless of how many they are) who use that phrase imply that the litter isn't a problem as long as you change your own perception of it. I believe that litter is a problem, regardless of what you think of it and that a problem can't be solved just by not thinking of it. I don't know if people using this catchphrase are Spaniards or not, but anyone who doesn't agree with me is free to object.

/BP
I guess we were overdue for a thread on littering and one on "my Camino." You and I have been mixing up the two themes and it hasn't worked out so well! I apologize.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Oh don't apologize, we were having an argument! :O) Forget it. I just like to explain what I mean. I hope I wasn't too harsh!

I am the BAD pilgrim...! :O)
 
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whariwharangi

Guest
Well, this is one of those things that just sticks in my craw. I have to say that I don't think that putting up signs will have much of an impact, but I could be wrong. I think that the people who use toilet paper and drop it on the ground know exactly what they are doing, know that it is ugly and disgusting, but are too thoughtless and self-indulged to care about it. And without wanting to bring up all that recent tumult about whether the "it's your camino" mantra is an underlying attitude that leads (though surely unintentionally) to practices like this, I'll just leave it with the thought that this type of irresponsible behavior is surely something we can all agree to be judgmental about!

In Strathcona Park alpine the krumholtz takes a hundred years or more to get waist high. The Park rule is no fires. People cut krumholtz and other trees and make a fire ... ignoring the rules ... and leaving a fire pit. A campaign of signage at key places is having an impact. Apparently its one thing to have a rule and another to understand why the rule is in place. There is of course the usual 2% that don't get it ...

Based on that experience I'd say signs are the only way to get the point across. That leaving toilet paper is an impact on people's experience. That leaving toilet paper encourages others to do the same. etc.
 
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D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
I saw some "S" and "TP" on the Frances 2015. Actually less than what I saw in 2014 on the CF.

In a perfect world there would be port-a-potties all along the Caminos. But, never will happen.
When walking the Ingles this spring, I was happy not to see "S" and "TP" along the trail.

But, "S" happens.....I got off road by a fence to admire the beautiful view. Smelt something. Looked down and omg knew I was in a world of "S"

There was no TP. So was hard to see the mess.

Sometimes when I see the coffee drinkers in the cafes I suggest ... gently... "hey, wait a few min before heading out...you don't want nature to call after that coffee when you are out of town." Most laugh. and talk for a few min.

Would be nice if people would dig, do it, and bury it. But not everyone is perfect. Some are inexperienced walkers to know better.
And lets face it .... "S" happens.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

purplesage

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francais, Finisterre and Muxia (2012) , Camino Portuguese 2014, Camino Inglese 2015, Camino Muxia 2015, Incomplete part of CF 2015 ... will hopefully finish later this year
First, as a new person to the Camino, let me say thank you to everyone on this forum for much useful information and insights. We are just returning from our first Camino experience. We walked one week on the Arogenes from Jaca and then one week on the Frances starting at Pamplona. (Didn't get to Santiago this year, will have to come back!) It was intesting to compare the routes and we enjoyed both. Obviously there were many more people on the Frances. Another difference- and perhaps the only real negative of the whole time- was that many stretches of the Frances we walked had frequent toilet paper sightings, to the side of the trail or sometimes on it. In general, I picked up trash that I saw between towns to put in the next garbage/rubbish receptacle in the next village, but I am not willing to pick up toilet paper! I get that there are not enough toilets on the way, and that sometimes you have to go when you are several km away from a town. But why not either 1) carry a trowel and bury the toilet paper several inches deep, or 2) carry plastic baggies to put your toilet paper in and carry it out to discard at the next rubbish receptacle? Carrying out toilet paper is required for backpacking in many USA national parks, for example. Perhaps it should/could become expected on the Camino?
Join the merry club, Joseph. I've done some cleaning on my last walk on the English Way. I still cannot see why some people throw PLASTIC on this sacred walk. Buen Camino, :) Caesar
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
While I worked at San Anton last year I would walk along the the street towards Castrojeriz and back towards Hontanas every morning for about an hour. The amount of litter was incredible, at least one trash bag full everyday. What amazed me more than anything was the number of people who step off the Camino and use the outside wall of the Monastery as a toilet, loads of paper and poo and I am reasonably sure these pilgrims never came inside to see the remains of this remarkable structure. Sad isn't it?
 

Nanc

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
So with all these comments, why dont more pack lists include a trowel? I think it is Gossamer Geat that had an ultralight one.
So people that are told on the forum there is a bar ( buy something!) within easy "reach" for toiletry anytime: are we being mislead?
Moctezuma's revenge hits unexpectedly?
If this is a likely probability, why arent pack lists encouraged to add them like we do foot care products?
Nanc
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
So with all these comments, why dont more pack lists include a trowel? I think it is Gossamer Geat that had an ultralight one.
So people that are told on the forum there is a bar ( buy something!) within easy "reach" for toiletry anytime: are we being mislead?
Moctezuma's revenge hits unexpectedly?
If this is a likely probability, why arent pack lists encouraged to add them like we do foot care products?
Nanc
@Nanc
My trowel is in my pack with the rest of my gear for the camino. I have not yet added the necessary paper.
I walked for a while last fall with a young man from the Basque area of Spain. He dislike the toilet paper litter intensely and interpreted it as poor education of the Spanish walkers whom he thought were leaving it. He had been taught better behaviour in school. I was impressed by his behaviour and his understanding of others. If he was correct that the litter of every kind was being left by pilgrims from other parts of Spain, I cannot see how we can do anything to discourage it. People just do not see it. But the graffiti which is so ugly and so frequent along the camino was so often in English that to deface public places cannot be attributed only to locals. I hope that we forum members each do our best to leave places better than we find them. I am adding plastic tongs to my gear this fall, hoping that they will minimize my distaste to pick up used tissues along the camino. Like everything else in life, if we do what we can we can hardly create an ideal world but we might prevent what we have from getting worse. Buen camino to all.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
So with all these comments, why dont more pack lists include a trowel? I think it is Gossamer Geat that had an ultralight one.
So people that are told on the forum there is a bar ( buy something!) within easy "reach" for toiletry anytime: are we being mislead?
Moctezuma's revenge hits unexpectedly?
If this is a likely probability, why arent pack lists encouraged to add them like we do foot care products?
Nanc


Because you will likely not need to use it ... and if you do ... probably not more than once or twice ...

I left mine behind during one of the pack rationalization sessions. I had not used it by the time I reached Burgos where I abandoned it. I didn't even mail it home because it cost more to send it than it did to buy a new one.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Many, many years ago it was considered OK to bury your trash/human wastes ect, now modern practice is take only photos; leave only footprints (so if you bring it in, take it out - in the US and maybe elsewhere you can buy "toilet bags" (or something similar) that turn the waste into a chemically dry, no smell pack).

So I will assume this means using proper toilets, but if you really have to "go", please follow this suggestion- walk well off track (50-100 metres if necessary) and burying it (say 150/200 mm down); carry a small plastic bag (one of those from supermarkets!) and put the toilet paper in and dispose of at the next proper toilet. I do fully appreciate that for females its a bit more "uncomfortable" (for want of a less explicit term) but the tissues should not be dropped anywhere.
Albertagirl - I have one of those small foldable trowels and they are great.
 

SanJo

♥ Gratitude ♥
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (April & May 2017)
On our camino, we plan on packing it all out regardless of what it is and hopefully the plan will work. We don't want to contribute to any permanent unpleasant odours in hidden spots for other pilgrims to inhale - so via a "Go Girl" device, #1 will go into a Nalgene bottle (decorated with duct tape on the outside) to be dumped into the first toilet we find. A roll of doggie poop bags is small and lightweight, so TP will go into a black biodegradable doggie poop bag as will our #2 after it lands on a piece of newspaper.This I learned in NYC watching people place newspaper under their dog's butts just before they poop. Then they place it in the nearest trash bin. Personally, I hate the feel of picking up dog poop with a plastic bag, so doing my business onto a piece of newspaper and then placing that into a doggie poop bag seems like it might be the best option. No digging. No trowel. Leave nothing but footprints. Fingers crossed. Buen Camino.
 

Montana Jayne

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
I was so surprised at the TP on the path out of Roncevalles, and not all that far along the way! I used the little grocery bags from the previous day to pick up litter along the camino. It was a small way for me to "give back" to the camino and Spain for what they were giving to me. From all the previous post I think it is an excellent idea to put trowels in the list of necessary things to pack. Also small baggies to pack out your own TP. IMHO it is NOT judgmental to point out bad behavior. It is simply bad behavior. Love that South Australia ad!
 
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Joseph Stanford

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016
Thanks for a constructive discussion.
I think the most immediate thing that those of use who use this Forum can suggest is that a trowel and plastic bags to take out "used" toilet paper should be an essential part of all Camino packing lists; as essential as the toilet paper on the list.
If anyone is in a position to help put up "keep the Camino beautiful" signs, that would likely help also.
The "no pooping" signs might solve a problem for a property owner, but they don't solve the problem for the Camino. They just beg the question, where and how are you supposed to poop if you are between towns? Working towards creating an ethic of "pack it out" for at least the toilet paper, and bury or pack out the poop is something that can be done in forums like this.
 

Joseph Stanford

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016
So with all these comments, why dont more pack lists include a trowel? I think it is Gossamer Geat that had an ultralight one.
So people that are told on the forum there is a bar ( buy something!) within easy "reach" for toiletry anytime: are we being mislead?
Moctezuma's revenge hits unexpectedly?
If this is a likely probability, why arent pack lists encouraged to add them like we do foot care products?
Nanc

Thanks. I think this was the best suggestion of something we can actually contribute as members of this forum and in any setting where we are "ambassadors" for the Camino. Plus plastic baggies to pack out the toilet paper.
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
The REAL problem with "litter" is that we live in a world where convenience rules all. And to say that pilgrims 100 years ago did not throw their trash on the ground would be disingenuous. Granted perhaps there not as many and the trash was of a more bio-degradable variety. And there was the non-existance of basic sanitation. Pilgrims barely wore shoes so dropping a few turds on the side of the road was common practice.
The issues facing the world today is that we live in a throw away society. We all "walk" through the world with blinders on. There is magical land of "make it go away" where if we don't see it, it's not my problem and doesn't exist. The oceans are brimming over with garbage.
If you don't want to see trash, stop creating it yourself. We are all conscientious and place our waste i the appropriate receptacles. Where does it go from there? A landfill? Dumped in the ocean? It is very difficult to not create more foul trash. But it is possible to live and yes even walk the camino minimizing your own use of "throw away" items.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Well I'm on the Camino francés now, just reached Hontanas.
I haven't read all the posts (not easy on the phone and I'm also running out if power).
There must be a lot if camino angels who passed before me because I have hardly seen any litter! (Unlike in previous years).
Thank you :):):)
 

BrienC

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Via de la Plata, 2016
Camino del Norte, 2019
Portuguese, 2021
I think that the people who use toilet paper and drop it on the ground know exactly what they are doing, know that it is ugly and disgusting, but are too thoughtless and self-indulged to care about it.
So true!
By my observation, this problem was worse the closer to Santiago we became (more people).
Generally, I was super impressed with how clean the trail was, until we were nearing Santiago. On that final stretch, behind nearly every tree or bush, anywhere someone could hide away for a moment, there was toilet paper.
If you must do your business, please haul your toilet paper out. Have a resealable plastic bag handy and please use it.
 
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Patch

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
St Jean to Santiago and Porto to Santiago
I was on the Camino for all of June and was impressed by how clean and litter free it was. I did pick some up but nothing like the amount that I do in my local park - a bag full every other day!
But others have said you do need to take a plastic trowel (in a sealable bag) and a small amount of toilet paper for when they get caught short.
 

mcopeland

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - April-June, 2016
Portuguese Lisbon-Santiago - October, 2017
Not to change the subject, but can I add the other trash that is rampant? Paper notes, photos, etc. I'm not sure exactly where, but I think it was before the descent into Zubiri, right before the food truck. There were hundreds (thousands?) of piles of stones, all with notes or photos attached to them. Only they mostly weren't attached, but had floated down the hillside. What a mess. I don't know what the significance of the stone pile is, but how does leaving trash behind honor your loved one?
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
Packing out a bit of TP is easy - I don't know why more people don't just put it in a plastic bag and take it with them. I don't think that peeing is a problem, as long as you step off the trail a bit, so no need to pee into a bottle and take it with you if you don't want to, just don't drop the TP.
 

ortemio

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances,14,
Frances,15
Madrid,15
Salvador,15
VdlP,Sanabres
Porto,16
Levante,17
Mozarabe,18
Norte,19
Perhaps, placing dog poop bag stations with bags that are clearly marked with "Pack it in, Pack it out :eek:", at the albergues, for people to take and fill with their toilet paper, might make a difference ... my two cents ... it was distressing and distracting seeing all the paper trails . I love hunting for mushrooms but all I saw was TP all over ;-(
 
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Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
image.jpg
This is a public toilet on the Chemin between Le Puy and Conques. I saw several of these in May this year. If France can do it, why can't Spain?
 

Cambridge Pilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
Surely, unless they're suffering from stomach problems, a grown man/woman is capable of holding onto the contents of their bowel for some hours and needn't have to empty them in a public place.

Pee-ing I can understand (though not leaving toilet paper behind). Not being able to hold on to number twos until the next village...? That's just total lack of consideration for others.

Representation of society today... not my problem... someone else can clear up my s**t.

Makes my blood boil.
 
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D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Perhaps someone will start a service project to clean up the toilet paper and excrement. That would be more useful than complaining about it on an English-speaking website. ;);)
 

Cambridge Pilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
Not sure what the English-speaking bit has s anything to do with. I'm pretty certain that some of the perpetrators will be English-speaking!! Of course it's easy just to blame the Spaniards - as some here seem to do - because there are more of them on the Camino.

Granted it's likely that few who are to blame visit this website.

But... I just wish common decency would prevail, then nobody would be having to clear up anything that isn't their own.

BTW - if you want to see what English speakers are capable of, take a look at what they leave behind after Glastonbury every year.
 

Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
Quote: Perhaps someone will start a service project to clean up the toilet paper and excrement. ;);)

... Or start a campaign to build a few public toilets?
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
a grown man/woman is capable of holding onto the contents of their bowel for some hours and needn't have to empty them in a public place.

... Or start a campaign to build a few public toilets?

Most useful if they are exactly where the bathroom emergency occurs.

There seems to be a difference of opinion as to how close together public toilets must be to be useful to pilgrims. I maintain that any would improve the current situation, and I would be pleased to contribute a coin for each time that I needed one.
 

SabineP

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Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
There are so many cafes/bars/albergues at regular intervals on the camino francés, I don't see the need for public toilets. Who's going to pay for them and to keep them clean? Are you offering?

Indeed Domigee. And yes who will clean the public toilets? Townhalls are struggling as it is in these , still, economic hard times. I prefer to give the economy a boost by stopping at a bar. And use the toilet . After I ordered a drink and or food.
 
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Montana Jayne

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Year of past OR future Camino
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
The problem has been identified and it seems to me the solution is personal responsibility. I believe the majority of people on the forum will do the right thing, e.i. take care of "their business" in the right way. The self-centered people wouldn't even wait for the outhouse. So I vote for packing out your toilet paper, and pick up a other people's trash just because. I think those are camino values BTW. A small "pay it forward" for the camino.
 
D

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I have suggested several times that the xuntas invest in catering truck/vans with chemical toilets. Each morning they would position themselves in appropriate places, charge a half Euro to use the toilet, and sell snacks and beverages. At the end of the day they would return to the nearby metropolis to be serviced. It would create seasonal jobs, reduce litter and bathroom waste, and be reasonably inexpensive.

So far, no takers.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
I think with regard to #2, the vast majority of people do hold it until they get to a real toilet. I don't think very many people would opt to go outside unless they really needed to. I can't remember seeing any poop along the trail, so I don't think it is prevalent.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Walked in "2016," "2018"
During our recent Camino walk from Pamplona to Logrono my friend and I came across huge piles of trash (toilet papers, plastic bottles etc) in a couple of spots. In addition, we also had isolated sightings of them throughout our walk. People indulging in littering the Camino defile the very sanctity of this route and that of mother earth. It's hard to imagine how one could realize any spiritual fulfillment or self awareness with this type of selfish behavior.
 
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Montana Jayne

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
It is the toilet paper that is so egregious. It doesn't degrade quickly so it is ugly especially when there is so much of it. I think bringing up the problem is part of the solution. Sometimes people, including myself, are clueless. We just need to be pushed in the right direction. We can improve this situation one day at a time.
 

Dancing Rain

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Salvado (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
I did 400 km of the Camino Frances with my husband last year at a very slow pace. The challenge for me was always going to be toileting, as I have had a significant portion of my bowel removed, and when I have to go I have to go. I can very easily have "accidents", and I find walking tends to get everything "going".

I saw lots of toilet paper as a result! and made a point of carrying out my own. Cafes and bars were my life savers, but they were often not available when I needed to go. I would gratefully pay $2 or more for these when I did get to them in time. Some were beautiful and wonderfully large enough for someone with a backpack.

I really like the idea of a discrete, small & well worded notice, in Spanish & English, that we can print off and leave in appropriate places. Could be thoughtfully put together & even have some humour. Such a "sign" could be used to create reminders in all sorts of places about "taking the paper out". A possible silent underground revolution?

(Love the "wag bags". Hadn't seen them before. Think I'll get some of them!!)
 
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Gabrielleroux

New Member
First, as a new person to the Camino, let me say thank you to everyone on this forum for much useful information and insights. We are just returning from our first Camino experience. We walked one week on the Arogenes from Jaca and then one week on the Frances starting at Pamplona. (Didn't get to Santiago this year, will have to come back!) It was intesting to compare the routes and we enjoyed both. Obviously there were many more people on the Frances. Another difference- and perhaps the only real negative of the whole time- was that many stretches of the Frances we walked had frequent toilet paper sightings, to the side of the trail or sometimes on it. In general, I picked up trash that I saw between towns to put in the next garbage/rubbish receptacle in the next village, but I am not willing to pick up toilet paper! I get that there are not enough toilets on the way, and that sometimes you have to go when you are several km away from a town. But why not either 1) carry a trowel and bury the toilet paper several inches deep, or 2) carry plastic baggies to put your toilet paper in and carry it out to discard at the next rubbish receptacle? Carrying out toilet paper is required for backpacking in many USA national parks, for example. Perhaps it should/could become expected on the Camino?
Agree. I notice that you find on the uphill more toilet paper from pelgrims with running noses. Ha ha.
Carry it in your pocket until you get a dustbin
 
Year of past OR future Camino
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
Guess I'll weigh in as well. Firstly, the CF isn't wilderness walking by a long shot. In the vast majority of cases there is a bar or town within 3-5 K of where you are so I guess my simplistic opinion would be:

1) Hold it till the next town
2) Sometimes, last nights cheap meal does get you and if so -- off trail, use an emergency bag and pack out both it and the paper for the next hour or so when you hit a garbage can in a town
3) Always, pack out the paper no matter what

Everyone I met on the Camino was very welcoming and friendly. It makes you wonder what these same wonderful people were thinking when they left their trash on the trail. I just don't get it. :)
 
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paul.ferris

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2011 Camino Frances
2013 Camino Frances
2015 To be decided
First, as a new person to the Camino, let me say thank you to everyone on this forum for much useful information and insights. We are just returning from our first Camino experience. We walked one week on the Arogenes from Jaca and then one week on the Frances starting at Pamplona. (Didn't get to Santiago this year, will have to come back!) It was intesting to compare the routes and we enjoyed both. Obviously there were many more people on the Frances. Another difference- and perhaps the only real negative of the whole time- was that many stretches of the Frances we walked had frequent toilet paper sightings, to the side of the trail or sometimes on it. In general, I picked up trash that I saw between towns to put in the next garbage/rubbish receptacle in the next village, but I am not willing to pick up toilet paper! I get that there are not enough toilets on the way, and that sometimes you have to go when you are several km away from a town. But why not either 1) carry a trowel and bury the toilet paper several inches deep, or 2) carry plastic baggies to put your toilet paper in and carry it out to discard at the next rubbish receptacle? Carrying out toilet paper is required for backpacking in many USA national parks, for example. Perhaps it should/could become expected on the Camino?
That and the litter are disgusting and have often been commented on. Walking in the dark with a headlamp the white toilet paper does help mark the sides of the trail though.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
That and the litter are disgusting and have often been commented on. Walking in the dark with a headlamp the white toilet paper does help mark the sides of the trail though.

Never thought I could find a bright spot regarding TP and the Camino. I stand corrected :) :) :)
 

marian55

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
camino de madrif
Yesterday I paid euro 2,12 for 80 dogbags in a nice animal print colour. Bought them for my two doggies...
During holidays and walking we use them for all kinds of stuff.
If you cannot eat your bocadillo, put what's to much at that moment in the bag (a fresh one!) and put it in another pocket. Eat it on a later moment...and use the bag again for some garbage.
They come nowadays in such nice colours...tigerprint, flowers etc. Maybe they could be developed with a camino arrow! Wouldn't that be nice?

On the total of a camino budget it's so little.

So on the next camino I will ask people if they have an extra one for me...;) haha
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
I fully agree. I am starting Sep 1/16, maybe a few days sooner but I have a trowel and will be packing at least 2 rolls AND plastic bags for disposal.

If I can offer yet another option, most of the World does not use toilet paper. For me, not a way I prefer to go but for the wets, TP can be replaced by a squeeze bottle of water and a towel and leave the TP duty to the rougher job, when needed. This can keep you cleaner, at least for the girls, and extend the TP supply by as much as 50%.

I wonder if the Forum has ever handled this before? LOL.
 

Travelchick

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Registered for September 10, 2016 walk, Camino Frances
First, as a new person to the Camino, let me say thank you to everyone on this forum for much useful information and insights. We are just returning from our first Camino experience. We walked one week on the Arogenes from Jaca and then one week on the Frances starting at Pamplona. (Didn't get to Santiago this year, will have to come back!) It was intesting to compare the routes and we enjoyed both. Obviously there were many more people on the Frances. Another difference- and perhaps the only real negative of the whole time- was that many stretches of the Frances we walked had frequent toilet paper sightings, to the side of the trail or sometimes on it. In general, I picked up trash that I saw between towns to put in the next garbage/rubbish receptacle in the next village, but I am not willing to pick up toilet paper! I get that there are not enough toilets on the way, and that sometimes you have to go when you are several km away from a town. But why not either 1) carry a trowel and bury the toilet paper several inches deep, or 2) carry plastic baggies to put your toilet paper in and carry it out to discard at the next rubbish receptacle? Carrying out toilet paper is required for backpacking in many USA national parks, for example. Perhaps it should/could become expected on the Camino?
So many posts about toilet paper. Walking the Camino your way is just fine. But leaving garbage and dirty toilet paper is being a basic pig with bad upbringing. People do the same thing on international flights. Stewards come around many times to collect garbage and still the pigs throw it all over the floor. What a shame. There will always be someone to ruin things for everyone else.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Litterers don't ruin my Camino. They provide my opportunities for service and I am grateful to them. If they did not discard their unwanted items I would not need my balsa descarga; and my smug righteousness levels would be in danger of plummeting below 'merely content'. But shit, sorry poo, or for the easily offended (what the hell are you doing on the Camino?) excrement - even the sacred sister/brotherhood of Ditch Pigs balk at that. There is only so much we can do to clean the caminos and shovelling shite is not in our remit. I am aware that no member of this blessed Forum has ever been caught short and even if they were they would bag out the necessary until at least airport security but the fact remains that at least 90% of pilgrims require at least a ream of paper to blot their pee-pee bits with and then, with the extra moisture content adding to the weight, they are sadly incapable of carrying their trail-roses to a bin.

There have been so many threads on this topic over the years that 'toilet paper' even appears in the 'most popular tags cloud' (most popular, sheesh).

The only real solution is peer pressure - do what I did last week. While walking Little Dog I saw a dog-walker walking away from what his dog had done. So I offered him a doggy-bag to use. The swelling around my eye is going down...
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Litterers don't ruin my Camino. They provide my opportunities for service and I am grateful to them. If they did not discard their unwanted items I would not need my balsa descarga; and my smug righteousness levels would be in danger of plummeting below 'merely content'. But shit, sorry poo, or for the easily offended (what the hell are you doing on the Camino?) excrement - even the sacred sister/brotherhood of Ditch Pigs balk at that. There is only so much we can do to clean the caminos and shovelling shite is not in our remit. I am aware that no member of this blessed Forum has ever been caught short and even if they were they would bag out the necessary until at least airport security but the fact remains that at least 90% of pilgrims require at least a ream of paper to blot their pee-pee bits with and then, with the extra moisture content adding to the weight, they are sadly incapable of carrying their trail-roses to a bin.

There have been so many threads on this topic over the years that 'toilet paper' even appears in the 'most popular tags cloud' (most popular, sheesh).

The only real solution is peer pressure - do what I did last week. While walking Little Dog I saw a dog-walker walking away from what his dog had done. So I offered him a doggy-bag to use. The swelling around my eye is going down...
@Tincatinker
I agree that good humour, a willingness to go on doing one's bit with little hope of ultimate success and a gift of not taking oneself or others too seriously are all essential gifts for dealing with this intractable, but not finally serious, mess. You are giving me a glimpse of where "toilet paper" might stand in the list of spiritual challenges on the camino. Thanks for that.
 

Rod Murray

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016) Portuguese Coastal (Sept 2019)
...Another difference- and perhaps the only real negative of the whole time- was that many stretches of the Frances we walked had frequent toilet paper sightings, to the side of the trail or sometimes on it. .... But why not either 1) carry a trowel and bury the toilet paper several inches deep, or 2) carry plastic baggies to put your toilet paper in and carry it out to discard at the next rubbish receptacle? Carrying out toilet paper is required for backpacking in many USA national parks, for example. Perhaps it should/could become expected on the Camino?

Good suggestion about the trowel and burying the paper, or carrying it and disposing in a bin. I'm aware that this is the only way to deal with it in the large wilderness parks in the US. I was surprised that on the CF each village council did not install portable toilets in their town square to make the areas outside the villages stay more pristine (or have the cafes and albergues fought them so as to keep customers coming inside?). At any large event where significant numbers of people are congregating, the simple solution is portable toilets.
 

KerrieG

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Part CF (2016), Camino Frances (2019)
I'd say signs are the only way to get the point across. That leaving toilet paper is an impact on people's experience. That leaving toilet paper encourages others to do the same. etc.
I haven't walked the Camino yet, heading off in a little over 6 weeks! I've read many a thread about toilet paper litter and it really saddens me.
Signs may help, but I wouldn't want to see the Way 'littered' with too many signs either.
I have attached a 'Leave no trace' patch on my pack and am seriously considering carrying a small trowel and will definitely be carrying some plastic bags to carry out the paper. Like @MichaelB10398, I'm not one for berating others when they're not doing the right thing, but maybe I can offer a plastic bag, the use of my trowel and point to my patch.
Leaflets could be made up re toileting practices and generally promoting the keeping of the Camino beautiful and given out by the pilgrims office in St Jean and at other strategic locations - starting places.
 
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whariwharangi

Guest
I haven't walked the Camino yet, heading off in a little over 6 weeks! I've read many a thread about toilet paper litter and it really saddens me.
Signs may help, but I wouldn't want to see the Way 'littered' with too many signs either.
I have attached a 'Leave no trace' patch on my pack and am seriously considering carrying a small trowel and will definitely be carrying some plastic bags to carry out the paper. Like @MichaelB10398, I'm not one for berating others when they're not doing the right thing, but maybe I can offer a plastic bag, the use of my trowel and point to my patch.
Leaflets could be made up re toileting practices and generally promoting the keeping of the Camino beautiful and given out by the pilgrims office in St Jean and at other strategic locations - starting places.

You should seriously consider taking only stuff that you know you will need. Leave the trowel at home. If you must have something ... bring a much lighter Wag Bag.

I can see the trail being littered with leaflets ... some having been used as a substitute for toilet paper.
 
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Albertagirl

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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I haven't walked the Camino yet, heading off in a little over 6 weeks! I've read many a thread about toilet paper litter and it really saddens me.
Signs may help, but I wouldn't want to see the Way 'littered' with too many signs either.
I have attached a 'Leave no trace' patch on my pack and am seriously considering carrying a small trowel and will definitely be carrying some plastic bags to carry out the paper. Like @MichaelB10398, I'm not one for berating others when they're not doing the right thing, but maybe I can offer a plastic bag, the use of my trowel and point to my patch.
Leaflets could be made up re toileting practices and generally promoting the keeping of the Camino beautiful and given out by the pilgrims office in St Jean and at other strategic locations - starting places.
@KerrieG
I have seen plastic bags, and notes about using them to pick up litter, at one or two albergues along the Camino Frances. I don't know if they had any effect, but there was no specific mention of toilet paper.
 

Thomas1962

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2010/2011/2012/2013: Madrid -Salvador -Primitivo 2014: EPW 2015: Amsterdam - SdC
Years ago I also felt irritated when I saw all the toilet paper and other garbage on the camino. Then I read on this forum about the action taken by Rebekah Scott, who sometimes organises a group of volunteers who are going to pick up caminotrash for a week. Although I'm not able to join, this initiative felt very inspiring to me. Knowing that people care, I can also see the camino is relatively clean.

With this inspiration I did the Frances last year. At first I made a habid of picking up one piece of garbage a day. But later I took a plastic bag once a day, put it inside out on my hand, picked up as much I could like that and till that bag was kind of full. Often also toilet paper. Sometimes the bag was full after 200 meters, sometimes 1 km. (but hey! Watch out, for the rest I'm an evil person! :rolleyes:)

The good thing was that the garbage didn't bother me that much any more. Instead I felt and still feel good, all together I cleaned the camino for a few kms! The camino gives me so much, happy to do something back and to care.
I don't expect anyone else to do so. It took me years to pick up any first piece, I don't know if I will do it any next camino. Still, if only 1% of the pelgrims clean a part of 300 meter during their whole camino, the whole camino will be cleaned once a month.
(don't tell it anyone, but in fact many people do it already....!)
 
Last edited:

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
On my last two Caminos I took 6 extra zip-lock plastic bags with a nice new small (children's size) cotton handkerchief in each. At the first albergue I give these away to other female pilgrims. My message was that the cotton handkerchief is to pat oneself dry after any wee along the camino, and the ziplock bag for storage. They can be rinsed in the evening, dry overnight, and are ready for re-use.

I've had really nice reactions. If we all did the same thing we could make a difference.
 

KerrieG

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Part CF (2016), Camino Frances (2019)
On my last two Caminos I took 6 extra zip-lock plastic bags with a nice new small (children's size) cotton handkerchief in each. At the first albergue I give these away to other female pilgrims. My message was that the cotton handkerchief is to pat oneself dry after any wee along the camino, and the ziplock bag for storage. They can be rinsed in the evening, dry overnight, and are ready for re-use.

I've had really nice reactions. If we all did the same thing we could make a difference.

I thought I'd take a couple of hankies for that purpose too Kanga. I really like your idea of distributing a few 'little kits' to others, will probably do that too! :)
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
And cotton handkerchiefs are much better if anyone has a cold too! A constantly dripping nose goes through tissues like nobody's business, and then the tissues get strewn around the path. Whereas a cotton handkerchief far outlasts a tissue, is strong enough to be pulled in and out of a pocket, and can be reused and reused.
 

KerrieG

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Part CF (2016), Camino Frances (2019)
And cotton handkerchiefs are much better if anyone has a cold too! A constantly dripping nose goes through tissues like nobody's business, and then the tissues get strewn around the path. Whereas a cotton handkerchief far outlasts a tissue, is strong enough to be pulled in and out of a pocket, and can be reused and reused.

Agree Kanga! I'm a handkerchief user from way back - rarely use tissues. :)
 

SanJo

♥ Gratitude ♥
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (April & May 2017)
Packing out a bit of TP is easy - I don't know why more people don't just put it in a plastic bag and take it with them. I don't think that peeing is a problem, as long as you step off the trail a bit, so no need to pee into a bottle and take it with you if you don't want to, just don't drop the TP.
I only thought of packing out the #1 as I read some complaints last year about certain areas of the camino reeking of urine...
 

SanJo

♥ Gratitude ♥
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (April & May 2017)
I haven't walked the Camino yet, heading off in a little over 6 weeks! I've read many a thread about toilet paper litter and it really saddens me.
Signs may help, but I wouldn't want to see the Way 'littered' with too many signs either.
I have attached a 'Leave no trace' patch on my pack and am seriously considering carrying a small trowel and will definitely be carrying some plastic bags to carry out the paper. Like @MichaelB10398, I'm not one for berating others when they're not doing the right thing, but maybe I can offer a plastic bag, the use of my trowel and point to my patch.
Leaflets could be made up re toileting practices and generally promoting the keeping of the Camino beautiful and given out by the pilgrims office in St Jean and at other strategic locations - starting places.
#Love the idea of "Leave No Trace" patch!
 
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MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
Ahh the TP discussion. It will never leave the forum as we can't control others, the suggestions help I have no doubt. I burn mine in the woods, but that literally creates a fire storm...
 

longwayhome

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJpdP to Santiago ( Sept-Oct 2018)
This is an older thread but I happened upon it today and would like to suggest for the ladies an FUD as an option . The particular Female Urinary Device I prefer is the Pibella http://www.pibella.ch/pibella-travel/outdoor-reisen-expedition/?lang=en . Mine arrived promptly by mail from Switzerland . Being very anatomy friendly (unlike some other models) the use of this device means no blotting required for the numero unos ladies. PLUS you can stand up and take aim and it needs zero training time for proficient use. Comes in handy in unhygienic rest rooms too. Highly recommend them.
 

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    Votes: 399 28.7%
  • October

    Votes: 171 12.3%
  • November

    Votes: 19 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 10 0.7%

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