From mid May to the end of August I worked 68 miles of the Appalachian trail in Connecticut and Massachusetts. In that time I picked up around 300 gallons of trash. The most common item was toilet paper!
Mostly the t.p. stood alone, unaccompanied. I buried human poop only a handful of times. I think most people use the privies, there are privies at every shelter and campsite. So why all the aimless t.p.?
Ladies, when you pee, consider using a bandanna or soaking it up with a leaf, smooth rock, or stick. But if you must use t.p., PACK IT OUT! The Appalachian Trail is not a septic system; the t.p. doesn’t disappear on it’s own.
I also picked up a lot of wet wipes. I’m no scientist, but I gather that wet wipes do not decompose as well as t.p. Instead of wet wipes, clean yourself with water and a small amount of biodegradable soap at least 200 feet from the water source.
More on this: HOW TO POOP IN THE WOODS