Now that we’re heading into June you may be thinking about hosting a picnic or barbecue. Maybe a large event, or maybe just with your immediate family, but no matter the size of your picnic or bbq you can keep it green.
Picnics and barbecues are naturally earth-friendly because they get you, your pals and your family out into nature – that’s a good thing. On the flip side though, the average picnic can take a major tole on the environment. Don’t be that family who leaves a negative impact on nature, instead plan an eco-friendly picnic or barbecue…
Planning your picnic
- Choose a local area: Not surprisingly, traveling miles and miles by car is not eco-friendly. The more localized the event the better. Not that it’s not fun to explore other areas, but long travel is more taxing on the planet.
- Go reusable: Use a reusable picnic basket for a smaller family event or reusable bags and boxes to carry a lot of gear for a large event. Aim for reusable dishes and cups. You can easily take along reusable silverware, reusable sandwich bags, and cloth napkins – tip – head to a thrift store if you don’t have enough old cloth napkins and silverware. You can always use the cloth napkins to clean with later and re-donate the silverware once summer is over. Reusable water bottles for a smaller event are always eco-friendly.
- Go organic and local: You don’t have to plan an entirely locally sourced organic food spread, but obviously organics are a good thing and organics grown locally are even better.
- Mark your event smartly: Balloons used to mark the spot for large barbecues and picnics is not the best eco-idea. Balloons can cause problems for animals and once popped don’t biodegrade they just sit there creating trash. Use recycled colored streamers instead.
- Carpool: If you’re planning a major picnic event be sure to carpool with another person or family when possible.
During your picnic
- Use recyclable plates and cups: If you can’t use reusable picnic gear, your second best bet is easy to recycle options made with recycled materials. I’m not a fan of biodegradable dishes for picnics because I think they border on greenwashing. That’s why I suggest recycled and recyclable goods instead. In my opinion, Preserve products stand out because they’re made of 100% recycled #5 plastic and are 100% recyclable BUT their plates and cups are also sturdy; so sturdy they can be tossed in the dishwasher and used again! Preserve picnic items are also BPA and melamine free and made in the USA. Preserve makes plates, cups and cutlery. Oh, don’t forget 100% recycled paper napkins if you can’t use cloth.
- Green that grill: Green grilling is safer for you and the environment.
- Do not feed the animals: Feeding animals makes for cute (but not always safe) kid pictures and that’s about it. Feeding wild animals on purpose is not kind and does have a negative impact on our natural habitats.
- Protect your skin: Look for a picnic area with natural shade and make sure to wear safe non-toxic sunscreen and safe bug spray. You should also take along your eco-friendly first-aid kit (just in case).
- Take eco-friendly picnic activities along: An earth-friendly Frisbee is always a smart bet for fun times or pick up another kid friendly outdoor eco-toy. Don’t just sit there either. You’re out in nature – take a hike, swim (safely) in the lake and explore.
After your picnic
- Wrap food well: Recycled aluminum foil and reusable BPA-free food containers come in handy at the end of a picnic. Be sure to take some along.
- Take it with you: Make sure to take along a few garbage bags just for this issue. Don’t pollute nature. When the fun is over, put out all fires, pack up and haul out all your picnic trash; and that includes food. Human leftovers are no good for animals.
- Recycle: Often people remember to take bags for trash but not for recyclables and compost-worthy stuff. Yeah, it’s a little more trouble – but why not recycle your cans and paper? Why not compost the food if you have a home compost pile?
Are you planning any picnics for the summer?