With warm weather upon us, and outdoor gatherings still the safest option, picnics have never been more popular! They can, however, result in a lot of excess rubbish if we’re not careful. Today I thought I would share some tips for a low waste picnic, and I’d love to hear your ideas too!
Avoid single use options
It’s always so tempting to just throw some disposable plates, cups, cutlery and napkins in your picnic basket, but avoiding these is such an easy way to have a low waste picnic. You don’t have to have special reusable picnicware either, especially for things like cutlery and napkins. Just bring along your whatever you normally use! Plates and cups might be more difficult if you’re worried about things breaking, but there are lots of lightweight reusable options out there that you can keep using for years and years.
Don’t go overboard with food
Often at the end of a picnic there is a lot of leftover food, but because it’s been sitting out for ages it ends up in the bin rather than being taken home. To avoid this, scale back how much food you think you need to bring along – especially if other people are bringing food too! One option is to allocate food categories amongst attendees so you don’t end up with way more cheese or dip than anyone can ever get through in one afternoon. Alternatively, just reduce the number of options you take along yourself.
Bring homemade, or packaging free, food options
It can be very tempting when packing for a picnic to just pick up lots of pre-made options, but this usually means significant amounts of packaging. An easy low waste picnic option is to whip up some delicious treats yourself (dip is way easier to make at home than it might seem!), or to choose package free options at the shops. You can easily get standard picnic foods like baguettes, cheese, meats and nuts by using your own bags and containers at the shops – it just takes a little planning ahead.
Opt for finger food
A simple way to reduce the amount of waste you might create at your picnic is to focus on finger foods. This way you can reduce the number of plates you need to bring, and can probably avoid cutlery altogether! Little sandwiches, quiches, dips, tarts – the options are endless and delicious. They’re often super simple to pack as well as they will be less messy than salad dressings and the like too. Win-win!
Store your food in reusable containers
Bringing all your food along in reusable containers is a super simple way to have a low waste picnic. Then you have no need for cling wrap or aluminium foil, and you’ll have an easy way to pack up any leftovers you might have as well. For a casual picnic you can even serve straight from the containers, reducing the need for serving platters which is one less thing to carry, and one less thing to clean afterwards!
Choose the largest option of anything packaged
If you can’t avoid pre-packaged options due to time or lack of available options, then go for the largest option you think you will use. For example, instead of buying lots of individual serves of drinks, go for the large bottle and bring some reusable cups to portion it out to people. Similarly, if you know you’ll use the rest of something later, buy the larger version, store some at home and only take what you need to the picnic. It’s much less waste than buying lots of small bags of things like nuts, crackers or chips.
Easy homemade picnic recipes
Here are a few easy things you can whip up at home for a low waste picnic!
- Simple Crackers
- Pumpkin Feta and Tomato Goats Cheese Tarts
- Sausage Rolls
- Zucchini Pea & Feta Tarts
- Mushroom Kimchi & Cheddar Sausage Rolls