3 simple ways to make your picnic more sustainable
With warmer weather on the horizon, packing up your picnic hamper and enjoying a spot of al fresco dining is the perfect way to soak up the season.
To minimise the impact on our planet, and to help our local nature spots to stay as lovely as they are, here’s our guide to a few simple swaps for a more sustainable picnic…
Get kitted out with earth-friendly picnic gear
It’s not a picnic without a blanket! You can re-use throws, old bedsheets or tablecloths to make a perfectly cosy picnic rug - or to take things up a notch, we love these recycled wool blankets from Bristol-based homeware boutique These Two Hands.
Taking washable, reusable napkins makes clean-up easier, more cost-effective and far less wasteful. Cutting up old clothes and re-purposing the fabric squares for napkins and cloths is a great way to make the most of thing you don’t wear anymore, and they can simply be popped in the washing machine after your picnic.
To transport your picnic supplies, canvas grocery bags or wicker holiday baskets make for a great picnic basket. If you need something purpose-made, this handmade woven basket from Bristol-based Frankly supports families living in the Mandalay region of Myanmar to achieve a consistent income.
Pack up a green feast
Grabbing pre-packed picnic supplies can be tempting, but can also be heavy on both your wallet and the planet.
You can reduce your plastic waste by prepping your food at home. Packing fresh fruits and seasonal veggies is a great way to keep things quick, easy and low on waste – picking up some small loose carrots or sticks of celery makes for a great crudité to dip into your homemade hummus, and fruits with a skin are already packaged by nature, ready to go into your picnic basket.
Raid the fridge for any leftovers, and take them with you in a reusable container. Leftover pasta, pies and quiches are all delicious served up with salad on a warm day.
If you’d rather leave the prep to someone else, Bristol’s lovely local delis and plant-based restaurants have fantastic takeaway options, and plenty of them will allow you to bring your own container – keeping your picnic waste to a minimum.
The Mall Deli in Clifton even offers a zero-waste picnic, ready-made and ready to collect in their reusable jute bags or wicker hampers!
Enjoy the outdoors by ditching the car, and walking or cycling to your picnic spot – you can swing by your favourite bakery on the way to pick up a freshly-baked baguette or pastry, too.
Picnics can be fraught with cling film, which is heavy on the carbon footprint and sadly not recyclable. As an alternative, we’re big fans of The Beeswax Wrap Co, who create plastic-free, long-lasting, and eventually biodegradable natural food wraps.
Reusable bamboo straws also make a great eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic or paper straws, and are light enough to add to your picnic supplies to bring a bit of flair to your drinks.
It's always a good idea to pop a tote bag in your pocket, so that if you need to pick up some food on-the-go, you’re always prepared to say no to the plastic carrier bags. It’s handy for taking any rubbish home afterwards, too.
Keep hold of glass jars from pasta sauces and jams, as they make the perfect container for dips, juices and even salads!
Single-use plastic plates are a thing of the past. But if you don’t fancy taking your favourite crockery out and about, why not pop by your local charity shop and pick up a pretty vintage set? You’ll save the plastic, support a local charity, and have a new picnic set for just a few pounds.
Lastly, don't forget to leave no trace! There’s nothing more disheartening than seeing your favourite park, beach or woodland tainted by litter.
If there’s a bin available, use it. If not, take your rubbish home with you and recycle whatever you can - and leave the local area looking just as you found it, ready for future adventures.