How to have a low waste picnic, without being a dick

Picnic season has arrived! If, like me, you’ve been trying to cut down on your plastic usage, picnics will suddenly have an extra challenge. I wanted to share some tips with you on how to cut down on waste yourself, and some things you can apply to the whole group, without feeling too much like a kill-joy.

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Bringing real cutlery

This is an easy one! Many a picnic involves several bags of single use cutlery, but they’re a super easy one to cut out. Empty your cutlery drawer into your bag and let everyone know you’ll be supplying cutlery for all. Your own kitchen knife will work a lot better on that baguette than a plastic one anyway!

Invest in reuseable cups

Bring one for yourself, or the whole group. My parents were a big fan of the ‘camping mug’ and last week I finally bought a set of my own. Lots of supermarkets stock them this time of year, so you might even be able to pick them up on your last minute food shopping trip. If you’re going with a group, you can let them know you’ll be bringing cups for everyone or invite them to bring a cup/mug of their own.

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Make some food swaps

Strawberries are always a treat, but you can’t seem to avoid them coming in plastic at the supermarket. If you’d like to cut down on some extra plastic, visit your local market for plastic free berries or pick some fruit at the supermarket (especially the bigger locations) that doesn’t come in plastic. Why not pick up some mangos, apples, pears etc. and prep them at home.

Jump into the kitchen

Now is the time to dig out your best banana bread recipe, make a cold pasta salad, blend your own hummus, or bake some savoury tarts or muffins. It will probably end up being cheaper, but does require a bit of pre-planning. Pictured below is a batch of vegan snickerdoodles, though it wasn’t my most successful attempt at this recipe!

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Get a cooler bag to reduce food waste

Who hasn’t thrown away an almost untouched pot of hummus, after it’s been roasting in the sun for most of the day? Keep your drinks cool and reduce food waste by bringing a cooler bag. I just put in my order for a very cute cooler bag covered in adorable ducks, so I’ll be extra ready for the rest of summer. If you don’t want to spend the money on a cooler bag, even just getting some freezer packs and using them in your backpack will do the trick.

Get your recycle on

If you’ve purposefully chosen to bring drink in cans and glass, make sure they don’t end up in any old bin. Bring a bag to gather any plastic, glass and paper that can be recycled. Obviously this might not work if you’re with a massive group, but is great for smaller gatherings.

Extend the invitation

Not everyone might be in a position to have a plastic free picnic, but you can alway extend the invitation to try and create less waste to anyone who is keen to join in. More and more people are being conscious of our plastic consumption, so you might be surprised by who’s on board.

If you’ve got any other tips of experiences, please leave them below. See you in the park!