I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready to spend long, lazy days outside having fun and enjoying the sun. One of my favorite ways to spend a summer afternoon is to have a picnic. It’s the perfect way to laze away an afternoon with good friends and delicious food. And after the last eighteen months(!), we all deserve a stress-free day enjoying the outdoors!
Enjoy the Daffodil Festival and happy spring!
Written by Passport to Sustainability
Picnics are a wonderful opportunity to enjoy nature, but shouldn’t be a time to create waste. With just a little bit of planning, your next picnic will be eco-friendly by creating little to no waste. Enjoying the beautiful outdoors with as little impact as possible is always my top priority.
Here are my top seven tips for creating a sustainable picnic.
The first item to organize is some sort of container to carry all your delicious food and drinks. Depending on where you are picnicking and how far you need to walk to get there will decide the best container to use.
I have an insulated basket with a handle that a friend gave me years ago. It’s a perfect size for four people and the padded handle makes it easy to carry.
Coolers work great for hot days but aren’t always the easiest to transport. If you’ve dragged a cooler across a sandy beach you know what I’m talking about!
Backpacks are a great choice when you’ll be walking a long distance and need to keep your hands free to help younger children or to carry other items.
My absolute favorite option is a basket or bag that has specific locations for the plates, cups, cutlery, etc. These make beautiful and unique wedding gifts that will be cherished for years. This style of basket is more expensive initially but will save a considerable amount of time and money over the years. You’ll have exactly what you need when you need it. You’ll never need to buy single-use plastic plates or cutlery because your basket is already stocked with what you need and the pockets or straps keep everything sorted and organized.
There is no need for single-use paper or plastic plates at a picnic! We’ve developed the habit that picnics require driving to the store and buying paper or plastic plates that will be promptly thrown away after the meal.
Simply head to your local thrift shop or discount store to pick up a set of reusable plates. Choose plates that are lightweight and won’t break easily. I was gifted wooden plates several years ago and these are perfect for picnics.
Bring along a bag to put the used plates in to keep the inside of your picnic basket clean. Wash the plates when you get home and then immediately return them to your picnic basket so they are ready for the next trip.
Like the plates, designate a set of cutlery to be used for picnics and keep them in the picnic basket.
Bamboo utensils are lightweight and work great in a picnic basket. I bought each member of my family a set for Christmas last year. They are wrapped in a cloth and ready to pop in a picnic basket or lunch bag. Net Zero Company has a beautiful set that would be perfect for any picnic.
There is no need to spend money, however, if you have extra utensils around the house. Use what you have is always the best choice! A budget option is to pick up utensils at a thrift shop. Metal utensils will last your lifetime so this would be a one-time purchase.
Wrap each set of utensils in a cloth napkin to keep them organized and from knocking against other items in the basket.
Paper towels or napkins create unnecessary waste and expense. Instead, buy a set of cloth napkins that you can use for years. Choose a cotton fabric for absorbency and dark colors which won’t show stains as easily.