Rubbish! No matter how simply we try to live we still create it. Living on land or at the marina disposing of it requires just a short walk to the rubbish bin. But what about when we're at sea or at anchor in beautiful, remote parts of the world? What do we do with our rubbish then? Burn it? Dump it over the side? or stash it on the boat somewhere? Or a combination of all three?

As cruisers we spend our lives on the sea. We see the effects of irresponsible practices, such as fishing nets and lines cast off and left to drift, harmful plastics injuring animals or entering their food chain, oil and fuels left to spill and kill.  As inhabitants and lovers of the oceans we have a duty to make responsible and sustainable decisions about our trash. Making us in effect the ocean's custodians. With that in mind we've put together a collection of blog posts that explain how fellow cruisers deal with rubbish onboard. 
Topic Coordinator: Sarah, Blue Water Dreaming

According to Liesbet (It's Irie), disposing of trash responsibly in remote cruising grounds is a matter of careful sorting.

For Behan on s/v Totem dealing with garbage is a serious issue especially after seeing what should be idyllic beaches in Indonesia littered with rubbish.

Dan N Jaye from Life Afloat conducted an interesting test with plastic bags highlighting just how dangerous they are for marine animals. 

Go grab a cuppa, Carolyn from The Boat Galley has done a whole series of posts about trash management

Devi aboard Arctic Tern is a bit obsessive about her trash and abides by one golden rule: No plastic in the sea!

Tiff and Greg of the Coast Guard Couple explain their often confronting decisions to throw garbage overboard

Stephanie from Rode Trip explains how she thinks of rubbish disposal as a matter of reduce, reuse, manage.

s/v Saben reminds us that we cannot police the rubbish disposal practices of others, and can only take responsibility for our own disposal decisions. 

Harmony (Take to the Sea) presents a "photo-play" of "taking out the trash."  Her point: to paint a realistic portrait of life aboard.

Hi, blogger! Do you have a blog post about rubbish that you'd like to share? Please post your link with a brief description in the comment section below and we'll add it to this list.

Already have a link on this page? Feel free to link back here so that your readers can find other posts on this topic. We have low-tech and high-tech instructions:

Low-tech instructions: Copy and paste this text onto to the bottom of your blog post:

Visit The Monkey's Fist to find other posts on this topic:

High-tech instructions: Copy the code below and paste it into the html at the bottom of your post to give your readers a link back to this page.

The Monkey's Fist


  1. As we think about garbage...I know a lot of cruiser cr@p, literally and figuratively, goes overboard. Here's a video from the Monterey Bay Aquarium that addresses some of the figurative stuff that is worth a watch. http://t.co/GIQpz1fuxz

  2. Our cruising so far has been limited to one to two week stretches. Trash is pretty easy to manage during these short cruises. So I don't have a lot to offer on this topic

    But I do have this post I did earlier this year that might add a little motivation to handle your rubbish responsibly. (http://svsmitty.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/)

    Please remember, its reduce, reuse, recycle in that order. The best strategy for trash management is to never generate it to begin with (not really possible but it's good to have lofty goals).

    Fair winds,


    1. Hi Jesse, it's not the first time I've seen that video and every time it makes me sick and ashamed of what we're doing to our oceans. Thanks for sharing your blog link and continuing to spread the word. I agree trying to avoid generating the trash in the first place is the ideal way to go, but it is so hard, almost every thing these days is over packaged, usually in some form of plastic. We reuse as much as what we can on Tygress but I still feel guilty about what goes in the bin.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. SV Serenity shows that sometimes taking your garbage out can be a pain or an adventure.

    This is what taking your garbage out looks like: http://www.taketothesea.us/blog/2012/11/14/this-is-what-taking-your-garbage-out-looks-like-sailing-blog-sv-serenity

    1. Thanks Harmony - we added your link. A picture's worth a thousand words, right? :)