As spring and summer arrive each year, the drive to get outside and enjoy the outdoors increases exponentially. Picnicking, whether on your own or with friends and family, tends to also go hand-in-hand with warmer weather and can be a great opportunity to reconnect with the environment. However, this timeless activity can, without planning, produce a significant volume of needless waste. From single-serving dishes packaged in plastic to single-use plastic bottles, cutlery, and more, a simple picnic can quickly result in a pile of avoidable waste.
Because we love picnicking and every opportunity to get outdoors, we have put together our list of great eco-friendly products for your picnics this year. With a bit of planning and the right zero-waste products, you will soon be enjoying the outdoors and warmer weather while also doing your part to protect the environment.
Reusable Water Bottles
Ditching single-use plastic bottles and bringing your reusable water bottle with you is arguably the simplest way to reduce waste when you are heading outdoors. In the U.S. alone, 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour. Packing your reusable bottle every time you head out the door can help reduce the sheer volume of single-use plastic bottles that are used.
For a great and stylish reusable bottle, check out our Glass Water Bottle by Neon Kactus.
Reusable Food Wraps & Bags
The centerpiece of any picnic and/or outdoor dining will be the food we bring with us. But rather than bringing a prepackaged meal wrapped in plastic that will be thrown away afterward that you grabbed from the store before heading out, bring your own food with you wrapped in either a reusable food wrap or bag. For context, the EPA estimated that 82 million tons of containers and plastic packaging were thrown away in 2018. Reusable food wraps and bags can significantly reduce the volume of plastic waste tossed out, and even better, they can be used again and again. Plus, your picnic spread will look fantastic on display with beautiful reusable wraps and bags.
Stainless Steel Food Containers
Along the same lines of reusable food wraps and food bags, reusable stainless steel food containers make an awesome plastic-free zero-waste option for picnicking. If you are looking to pack a salad, soup, or other food that needs a bit more protection, then stainless steel food containers are for you. These lightweight, durable, and timeless reusable containers make a great addition to every picnic.
Shop our favorite stainless steel food container, the Solo Rectangle by ECOlunchbox.
Palm Leaf Plates
Single-use plastic and styrofoam plates have unfortunately almost become synonymous with outdoor gatherings and picnics over the years. After being used a single time, these plastic and synthetic plates can take over 500 years to break down in landfills - that’s a long time for a simple plate to be decomposing after being used for such a short period of time. The good news is that there are outstanding eco-friendly alternatives. Plates made from fallen palm leaves are a great lightweight, durable, and sustainable substitute for plastic and styrofoam plates.
At Lochtree, we have both rectangular and circular Palm Leaf Plates available from Cycle of Life.
If your picnic involves much more than a sandwich and some fruit, you may be interested in having cutlery with you. Plastic utensils unfortunately have become ubiquitous with dining out and in the US along an estimated 40 billion single-use plastic utensils are discarded every year. You read that correctly - 40 billion. Bringing your own cutlery with you as you head out picnicking is a simple zero-waste solution. Packing either stainless steel or biodegradable utensils will have you dining both sustainably and in style.
For biodegradable cutlery, check out our Eco Astrik set by Knork.
Sugarcane Drinking Straws
Enjoying a cold drink outside is as much a part of a good picnic as anything else. However, if you plan to use straws, ditch the single-use plastic straws for either a reusable stainless steel straw or a biodegradable sugarcane straw. SIngle-use plastic straws have gained a lot of attention recently for their environmental impact, you can learn more about them in our blog discussing The Impact of Plastic Straw, but the good news is that replacing plastic straws is an easy zero-waste swap to make.
Check out these great biodegradable Sugarcane Drinking Straws by Cycle of Life. They come in a convenient 100 pack and will complement any picnic.
Eco-Friendly Carrier Bags
An often overlooked part of heading outdoors for your picnic is how you bring all of your food and supplies with you. Too often an afternoon in the park results in heaps of plastic shopping bags stuffed into park rubbish bins when pickners head home. A simple way to reduce the waste from your afternoon out is by packing your picnic in your own reusable bag. Whether a backpack, a basket, or a reusable tote bag, all help keep unnecessary plastic out of landfills. Plus, you are going to look like an experienced picnicker.
Getting outside and enjoying the outdoors, whether in your local park or further afield is important part of developing an appreciation for the environment and the world around us. However, as we venture out the door whether for a picnic or something more, treading lightly and helping to preserve the environment for both the next visitors and future generations is vital. With a bit of planning and awareness of the impact each of us has, we can all help play our part. Integrating eco-friendly products that can be purchased at zero-waste stores like Lochtree will help you enjoy the outdoors while protecting them.