Disposable weight?

posted Dec 7, 2010, 9:52 AM by Paul Wagner   [ updated Dec 7, 2010, 10:03 AM ]
If you've read this blog much, you know that we spend a fair amount of time trying to pack light.  Lighter packs mean happier hikers in our book, and we definitely enjoy the benefits of leaving heavy items at home.  On a recent 8 day trip, our packs weighed a total of about 58 pounds---that's for TWO people.  P carried about 35, and M another 23.  And the good news is that each day they got even lighter!
But we have a bit of an ethical dilemma.  We use a very light (3ml) ground cloth under our tent as a vapor barrier.  It keeps the tent drier, and also keeps it a lot cleaner.  And usually it lasts for a season or so before the holes get large enough that we trade it in on a new one. 
But that means we throw out the old one---and that isn't exactly sustainable hiking.  Leave no trace?  Every year we leave a sheet of 3ml plastic in our garbage can at home.  And we're not happy about it.  SO this year we are looking at a slightly heavier ground cover--one that would last for more than one season.  Maybe forever?  That would be perfect.  But it will weigh a bit more.  hmmm.
Anyone else fighting these battles out there?