There are vegetable starch based replacements for plastic bags and packaging that very quickly break down in landfill. I'd be willing to pay extra bucks for an environmentally friendly TP created specifically for camping and backpacking. If they can do it for bags and packaging, then it can certainly be done for TP, couldn't it?
I suspect a lot of human waste is dug up by animals.
A good project for myth busters. I have my doubts about Sierra critters being interested in poop as a food source.
Have you ever been on a farm? I've seen plenty of domestic animals eating poop, and they aren't lacking for food. Sierra critters are fighting for survival and don't overlook any food sources. Most poop still has a lot of nutritional value in it. To humans it smells bad and seems disgusting, but animals don't have those sensibilities.
Most animals eat poop. We have an aversion to eating crap for good reason but overall most animals eat s?!$. I have been inspired by these resent threads and the last two trips have used natural materials to wipe and finished off with a very small amount of tp. It works very good and I feel better about my contributions to the environment. Thanks to this site my views have adapted yet again.
I have been on a farm and have witnessed plenty of animals, mostly dogs, eating each others poop, but the High Sierra is not the farm. Digging 6 inches into fragile alpine soil is not going to stop a determined sierra mammal with claws to dip up a midnight snack. Why bother?
Freestone, I have returned a year later to campsite areas where we've dug cathole trenches and marked them with rocks lined up over the top and found the rocks undisturbed. I've also seen an area near a packer's camp on the River Trail with a literal field that appeared to be growing ten TP plants. We haul out our TP and, frankly, eschew backpacking where we'd need to haul out the waste.
I think the "why bother" answer is that it's the responsible thing to do.
I do not have control over animals digging up my droppings, but I DO have control over TP being dug up- I always carry it out. I however will not carry a trowel, as suggested by the authorities! Rocks and sticks serve the purpose just fine.
LOL, somehow Mother Nature doesn't give me much advance notice when she calls. I have to dig that hole in a hurry. I've been trying to cut down my base weight and keep cost analyzing what's worth new investment. I finally broke down and bought a titanium trowel that's under a half ounce. It will flex torsionally and seems like it could buckle forward. The way the guy designed it though, it doesn't seem like it's going to bend at all when I lever back on the handle. It's made of 1 piece of sheet Ti, is short, thin, and so full of holes and crease lines that it looks like it was designed by aeronautical engineer. I'll let you gals and guys know how well it works after my next trip.