Make Your Picnic Sustainable
We’re almost half way through summer. Released from the confines of the indoors and cooler weather, people seem happier and more relaxed (hey, who doesn’t love wearing less layers of clothing?) Parks, beaches and backyards fill up with people coming together to enjoy the warm air, each other’s company, summer sports and, of course, picnics and barbecues.
Traditionally, picnics and barbecue’s are very wasteful events. Paper/plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic bowls, plastic eating utensils and disposable napkins are the norm (click here for reasons to go plastic-free.) The trash bag can fill up pretty quick.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. So, here are 8 simple ways to have an eco-friendly picnic:
- Bring your own cup and/or water bottle. Check out this lightweight stainless steel cup for picnics and camping.
- Bring your own plate, bowl and/or lightweight reusable food container.
- Bring your own knife, fork and spoon. Check out these bamboo eating utensils for eating on the go.
- Bring your own cloth napkin.
- Sun tea anyone? Rather, than buying a plastic container of juice or soda, make some herbal iced teas (fresh from your garden or the farmers market, no less) and/or lemonade. It’s very easy to do and super refreshing!
- Encourage others attending to do steps 1-5. If you’re the organizer (or, perhaps, you can suggest this to the organizer), it should be pretty easy to get in touch with attendees to let them know you’re doing a green picnic theme . This next bit of information is very important and will make your green picnic a success: Tell attendees to also bring one extra plate, bowl, set of utensils and cup for people who might forget theirs (people often do). It’s as simple as that! The added bonus to this method is that no one person is stuck with doing all the dishes. Most importantly, landfills are spared traditional picnic waste. Not to mention, plastic is pretty darn polluting to produce and does not biodegrade. Plus, we can help spare some trees from the fate of being paper plates and help save forest habitats. It’s win-win across the board!
- Also, invite the celebration of summer and the farmers markets’ bounty. Encourage guests to bring dishes using local and organic (or sustainably grown and raised) fruits, veggies, eggs, cheeses, etc.
- Grill sustainably. Forgo the conventional charcoal (charcoal releases 100 times more carbon dioxide and VOC’s than than propane grills and also comes from a rain forest or some other unsustainable source) and propane grills. Instead, opt for an electric or FSC certified certified charcoal (if it’s United States sourced, even better). The best option, however, is a new technology that uses the power of the sun to grill your food. Check out this nifty solar grill.
Careful not to get dubbed the green nazi. Find the element of fun in having a green, luscious picnic or barbecue. Think abundance, not policing. Some people might not follow the suggestions and that’s okay, but you’ll surely inspire others.
Have any other green ideas for a fun picnic? Share them in the comments section below. Happy summer everyone!