A Perfect Low-Waste Picnic
It’s picnic season! A shady spot in a grassy park, a rocky beach beside a river, a picnic table at a campsite… There are so many possibilities for enjoying a meal al fresco with the people you love or as a solo endeavour. With just a little extra effort and thought, picnics can easily be plastic free and low waste, which makes the whole experience even sweeter. Here is your formula for a picnic that honors the health of the earth while you get to enjoy its beauty:
We find that it’s best to stick with foods that don’t require refrigeration to stay fresh and that can be assembled once you’ve found your perfect picnic spot. A few ideas to fill your belly:
- Sandwich fixings like sliced tomato, avocado, sprouts and hummus
- A baguette from a local bakery (ask to forgo any plastic wrapping)
- Jarred olives, sun dried tomatoes, or artichoke hearts
- Cheese from the bulk counter, carried away in your own glass container
- Homemade pasta salad or herby tabbouleh
- Stone fruit, apples, and oranges
Jars are one of the best ways to transport your picnic meal, especially if you plan to bring a salad that needs to be mixed-up with dressing once you arrive -- just add the dressing, screw on the lid, and shake! Glass food storage containers may be heavier than their plastic counterparts, but once the lid is removed they double as pretty and sturdy serveware that will last for dozens of picnics to come. If you can’t afford to splurge on a set of containers, consider fabric or silicone bowl covers. We also can’t say enough about the wonders of a simple beeswax food wrap for packing a hunk of crusty bread or a chunk of cheese.
Instead of packing up paper plates and plastic utensils, opt for a little extra clean-up -- and a much better environmental pay-off -- by bringing plates or bowls from home. Layer cloth napkins between them to keep them protected if they jostle around on the journey, which can also be used while you eat. Using your own metal utensils keeps things classy but we also love to use bamboo. If you plan on sharing larger beverage bottles, consider bringing tin cups (easily found anywhere you find camping supplies) or a few cleaned-out jam jars.
There are reasons why picnic baskets are the carrier of choice! Beyond their aesthetic appeal, they offer roomy accommodation for all your food and supplies, and the flip top makes everything accessible and easy to organize. Check your local thrift store to see if they have any, but don’t fret if you can’t find the basket of your dreams just yet. A reusable cooler has all the same advantages, and a backpack or tote bag work great as well.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
You’ve planned the meal, packed the bag, and invited your best friend to meet you at the park, now don’t forget a soft blanket to land on and protective sunscreen. If you plan to picnic during sundown, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a little candle for (safe) ambiance. Most importantly, remember to look around you with gratitude that we get to live on and enjoy such a beautiful planet!