As we settle into summer, we eagerly return to some of our favorite outdoor activities such as swimming, going to the beach, and having barbecues or picnics with friends and family.
While we are assembling a variety of salads into disposable plastic containers, wrapping sandwiches in plastic, and buying single use utensils and plates, an assortment of plastic beverage bottles, plastic straws, and single use cups, most of us forget to think of the end destination of these products.
Before you pack your checkered blanket, take a look at these five simple picnic tips intended to keep your future picnics enjoyably earth conscious.
Picnic Tip #1: Food
If you search for salad recipes online, you will find what seems to be an endless list of results that can be made at home.
Before you run to the store to buy your potato and macaroni salads, check your cupboards and refrigerator. Food that is quick to expire is always good for salads, and chances are you will be able to find a recipe that includes them. Store the salads in reusable containers and you will not only eliminate potential food waste, but will also eliminate plastic waste in the way of store-bought packaging.
When it comes to the rest of the meal, bring sandwich fixings in reusable containers rather than preparing them ahead of time to reduce the risk of sandwiches going untouched and getting thrown away. You can also check with guests before the picnic to ensure you are bringing along some crowd favorites. Whatever goes unused simply goes home.
Chips, crackers, fruits, and vegetables are great for snacking, but their packaging and accompanying dips can easily go to waste when left out in the open. That is why we suggest putting them in reusable squirt bottles. This is not only a great way to keep ranches and salsas fresh, but it’s also a good way for everyone to only take the amount they will use. As a bonus, it’s less messy!
Picnic Tip #2: Beverages
Before the picnic have everyone bring their own beverages in reusable containers and make sure everyone seeks out recyclable packaging for their beverage of choice. Drinks bottled in aluminum cans are a great option since they are a simple and easily recycled in most areas.
Picnic Tip #3: Utensils
The most eco-friendly utensils you can use on a zero waste picnic you almost certainly already own. Open your cutlery drawer and bring your everyday utensils, and encourage your guests to do the same, for one of the simplest, greenest, and most cost-conscious things you can do when you picnic.
Picnic Tip #4: Plates and Napkins
Plates can be handled in the same way as the utensils, but if you are reluctant to bring breakable dishes that took you three months to pick out, there are other options, including:
- Consider ordering a set of reusable plates and silverware for camping or picnics. There are several affordable options online that can end up saving you money in the long run by cutting out the cost of single-use plates or utensils.
- If you don’t want these reusable items taking up space in your home, consider using palm pressed plates, bowls, utensils, and more. These are biodegradable, compostable, and a wonderful, affordable alternative to paper and plastic products.
Cloth napkins make great additions to a sustainable picnic. They can also be used as placemats for uneven surfaces or weathered picnic tables.
Picnic Tip #5: Baskets
While the idea of the picnic basket is one that charms most would-be picnickers, the truth is that these items are usually only used once or twice a year. As an alternative for the casual picnic participant, we recommend transporting your feast using any reusable bags that you have on hand.
Amy Koonin Taylor is Marketing Content and Media Manager at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.