Rethink Picnic Waste

When we reflect back to one of our favorite pastime activities during the height of the pandemic, outdoor picnics were among one of our favorites. We hope this guide will help introduce a more sustainable way to picnic by applying the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

  1. REDUCE: Plan ahead for the menu
    1. Prepare finger foods and bite sized items: Cupcakes, cookies, pastries, cheese boards, sandwiches, chicken wings, pizza, hot dogs, and burgers are examples of finger foods. Pre-cutting fruits and vegetables also eliminates the need to bring plates and extra utensils. Please note that not all parks have compost receptacles/services; therefore, composting the undesirable and inedible parts at home helps divert more organic materials away from the landfill.
    2. Bring a reusable cooler with reusable ice packs to keep drinks cold or pre-chilling drinks and keep in a portable cooler. It keeps drinks cooler without wasting water/ice cubes.
    3. Avoid plastic garnishes in drinks. Spice up your drinks with herbs, spices, and fruit instead. Not only are the garnishes edible, but also elevates the flavor profile of any drink.
  2. REUSE: Bring your reusables
    1. Use cloth napkins. Use cloth napkins that can be washed and upgrade a picnic experience and avoid paper ones.
    2. Use reusable sandwich bags and containers, to put your food in and for leftovers!
    3. Use reusable utensils and straws. Eliminate single-use utensils, by bringing your own silverware and reusable straws. Single-use utensils not only contributes to microplastics into the environment, but also creates additional unnecessary waste.
    4. BYO cups and/or bottles. Avoid single-use cups, instead bring reusable cups or reusable water bottles. Water bottles can keep drinks colder and longer and can be used for any occasion.
  3. RECYCLE: Use what you have
    1. Picnic Blanket– If you don’t already have one, try using a throw blanket around the house or DIY a picnic blanket out of old clothes.
    2. Table cloth– Try covering picnic tables with an older tablecloth instead of using plastic table covers.
    3. Picnic Basket– Utilize your reusable grocery bags to carry your picnic materials.   

There are so many different ways to re-think picnic waste by reducing, reusing and recycling. Share how you are rethinking picnics this year by tagging us on social media on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook! However you choose to picnic this year, remember to continue to sort your waste by placing any single-use utensils and soft flimsy plastics in the garbage bins at parks!