Tips and conscious essentials for a waste-free picnic
The more that we care for the green spaces we enjoy the more we’ll be able to use them in the future
We all feel the irresistible lure of the great outdoors during the summer months. From pub gardens to picnics in the park, there’s nothing better than a little al fresco dining. But sadly, the places in which we while away those balmy summer afternoons are often treated with little respect. The overflowing bins at the entrance to our parks say it all. And, not only does litter ruin the beauty of the spaces we love, it is also incredibly dangerous to wildlife, the RSPCA receives 7,000 calls a year about litter-related incidents, from badger cubs with plastic can holders embedded in their necks to hedgehogs with their heads wedged in empty tins.
The summer months always feel so uplifting and freeing, even in the cities, and we would never dream of suggesting that you don’t embrace the magic of picnicking. Instead, in hope of inspiring positive change, we have put together some simple tips and tricks to help you create the perfect waste-free picnic.
Here’s our waste-free picnic advice:
No one enjoys that last minute rush to the supermarket when everything’s running out. Planning ahead means avoiding the dreaded, last-minute shop and helps to reduce waste. Make dishes from scratch the night before, think about how you’re going to carry your necessities to your chosen location, fill water bottles you already have and invest in some light-weight flatware. Whether you’re heading out into the countryside or simply down to the local park it’s a lot easier to avoid unnecessary waste when you plan ahead and avoid the supermarkets.
Cutlery, glasses, plates, bottle openers. There are multiple bits and pieces we need to make a picnic run smoothly but there is simply no reason for single-use plastic to be involved. Here are a few tips for gathering the essentials:
Head to a charity shop or vintage market and pick up a collection of affordable cutlery you can take out and about when needed
You can do the same with plates, although these can be heavy and we’ve found enamel plates are a great alternative
Fill bottles you already have with water to keep everyone hydrated
Glasses can also be found in charity shops, very affordably
Something to sit on, we generally find there’s no need for those cheap mats with plastic on the bottom, a couple of blankets layered on top of each other will do just fine. Luks Linen have a lovely collection if you haven’t yet found one
Something to put any rubbish in so that you can leave the area as you found it
Candles for when it gets dark. Have a look at the collection from Self Care Co. or try making your own with tea lights and jam jars.
If everyone can bring something it means a lot less work for one person and makes cleaning up when you get a home a lot easier too!
Have you ever tried making your own Hummus? This could be the perfect opportunity. It’s really easy to prepare and can be taken along in a tupperware box for all to enjoy. This Farmdrop Hummus recipe is one of our favourites.
Picnic food doesn’t need to be complicated. Sandwiches, salads, something sweet and a few bits and pieces to pick at. If you collect a few small jars, these work well for transporting dressings or salt and pepper. You could do things like make your own kale crisps, cook a piece of locally-sourced meat the night before and enjoy it cold, and try out no-bake desserts like these Hemsley + Hemsley Piña Colada Fingers.
Take your water along in bottles you already own and invest in a cool bag, there’s nothing worse than warm drinks on a hot summer’s day. If you want to make cocktails when you’re there try to grab some glass bottles of what you need instead of plastic ones. One of our favourite ideas is taking frozen grapes instead of ice cubes, you’ll avoid buying plastic bags of ice, they’ll keep your drink cool and you’ll have something to eat at the end! For those not drinking, alternatives like Seedlip or Kombucha are great and very refreshing!
Avoid disposable BBQs whenever possible, there are biodegradable options but these can be harder to dispose of. Sticking to cold food is often a lot less hassle when it comes to a last-minute picnic, but if you’re setting up in the park for the day invest in something you can use again and again. Or, create you'r own using an oven rack and a few bricks.
Enjoying time outdoors is something we advocate and the more that we care for the green spaces we enjoy the more we’ll be able to use them in the future. If you have any clever picnic tips share them with us by tagging us on Instagram @morethis_lessthat.