This July is National Picnic Month, and when the sun finally makes an appearance, you can guarantee that al fresco dining will be back on the cards. So if you’re thinking of heading to the local park with a delicious feast in tow sometime soon, don’t forget these five simple ways to make your summertime picnics that little bit more eco-friendly.
1. Prepare from scratch: Rather than nipping to the supermarket round the corner from the park to get all your tasty picnic treats, get ahead of the game and prepare everything at home. While supermarkets might sometimes be more convenient, their food-to-go is often packaged in lots of unnecessary plastic – and when you’re out and about, it’s even harder to make sure all of this gets recycled properly. Cooking at home not only helps to avoid this, but also means you can pick lots of healthy and organic ingredients too.
2. Avoid single use picnicware: Instead, why not invest in some reusable travel cutlery that you can use year in, year out, no matter what the occasion? You can get some great bamboo sets that are sustainably produced.If you’re a regular picnic-er you might also want to invest in some light metal plates too.
3. Buy loose fruit and vegetables: While it might sometimes be more cost-effective to buy packs of fruit and veg, it’s definitely not the most eco-friendly choice. Buying multi packs of fruit and veg means more unnecessary plastic that you might struggle to recycle when you’re out and about. Instead, head for the loose section in your supermarket and buy only what you need – that way you can avoid the plastic and reduce waste!
4. Ditch non recyclable packaging: Although the ease of crisp packets is tempting, they’re not generally recyclable or biodegradable. Instead, try making homemade popcorn as a snack alternative. Drizzle popcorn with olive oil and sprinkle a light coating of salt and pack up in tupperware. Instead of buying packets of biscuits – batch cook a tray bake like flapjacks. You can even freeze them which will save time for your next picnic!
5. Think local and organic: Support your local community, and buy healthier, organic and additive-free foods, by shopping locally. Whether it’s your nearest butchers for tasty meats you can cook at home first, your local farm store for fresh eggs, cheese and milk, or your highstreet greengrocer for fresh and tasty veg – there are so many benefits to shopping locally for your picnic feast! Just grab your reusable shopping bags and head into town to find out what’s on offer.
6. Lower your food’s carbon footprint: Although it might not look like it, food production produces a lot of carbon emissions. Try and reduce this by decreasing your meat consumption with alternatives such as free-range eggs or pulse-based snacks. If you want to buy more ethical animal produce, support your local community by heading out to your local butcher or farm shop as supermarket meats are mainly produced in intensive factories. Instead opt for high-welfare British produce which is more environmentally friendly and ethical.
7. Compost what you don’t use: Even when you think you’ve planned your picnic to a tee – the chances are you’ll probably be left with some half-eaten things. Rather than chucking them away, pop your waste into an empty Tupperware so you can take it home and compost it – the planet will thank you for it!