Food & Beverage · Sports & Outdoors

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Picnic

Don’t you just love spring? What could be better than moderate temperatures, cool breezes and beautiful flowers and foliage? Now is the time to step away from your house or office, prepare your favorite foods and move your meals outside. Pack lunch, dinner, dessert or simply a mid-afternoon snack. Find a park, a sandy beach or a cozy spot near your local playground. Then pull up a blanket and enjoy a relaxing meal.

Earth Day is transitioning from a one day celebration to a month long observance of eco-friendly activities that can help lessen our impact on this world. When preparing for your picnic this spring keep the health of our planet in mind. Skip disposable cups, plates and utensils in favor of reusable options that can be used time and time again. Bring along an old blanket and re-purpose a backpack as a picnic basket for all of your supplies.

If you can’t find everything you need among your possessions check out a nearby thrift store for previously used gear. After you’ve explored your second hand options it’s time to search for eco-friendly picnic gear that will last for years and years to come. Here are a few tips for a sustainable, earth conscious picnic.

Pack Food Made with Local Ingredients

Before you prepare for your picnic stop by the farmer’s market for fresh, local, in-season fruits and vegetables. Use these ingredients to prepare simple picnic friendly meals. When you purchase directly from farmers you cut down on the amount of transportation needed to ship food to nationwide grocery stores. You also decrease the amount of wasted packaging we typically find in those stores.

Purchase a Reusable Utensil Set

We all know that household cutlery would be quite heavy to lug around in your picnic basket. While it might make sense to bring silverware from home we also don’t want you to get weighed down unnecessarily. This is where Preserve’s reusable utensil sets come in handy. Unlike typical plastic cutlery that breaks and chips, Preserve’s 24 Piece Reusable Utensil Set is guaranteed to last, which means it will still look as good on its 100th use as it did on the first one. This product is BPA free and constructed of 100% recycled plastic. Best of all it’s dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to waste time washing them by hand. Look for these in a full range of colors from Walmart.

Use Cloth Napkins

More often than not when you try to save the planet you save money too. Did you know that a family of four typically spends between $300 and $800 every five years just on the purchase of disposable paper napkins? Purchase a set of cloth napkins before your next picnic. Even a beginning-level seamstress can make her own napkins with a small amount of fabric and a trusty sewing machine. If you’d prefer to buy a set check out the beautiful options available at Pier 1. Make the switch from paper to cloth and you’ll reap long-term financial and environmental rewards.

Carry Reusable Water Bottles

Americans used more than 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. Of those bottles it is estimated that only 23% were recycled, which means nearly 38 millions of bottles were improperly disposed of. This year choose a reusable water bottle like the Stanley Classic Vacuum bottle that can keep drinks hot or cold. This leak-proof, easy to pack bottle is perfect for your next outdoor adventure. It’s constructed of stainless steel that is guaranteed not to rust. When you return home from your picnic simply drop it into the dishwasher. It is both dishwasher-safe and naturally BPA free. Look for this reusable bottle and many other options available from REI. Get free shipping right now when you use REI store pickup.

Natural Bug Repellents

We all know that the smell of tasty food will lure every bug within a five-mile radius to the site of your picnic. Try ridding your picnic of flies by covering your drinks in between sips and placing a small glass of red wine a few feet from your food. Flies will sip from that undisturbed cup and will typically avoid landing on your other food. If ants are a concern sprinkle a border of cornstarch around your picnic area and if mosquitoes tend to nip and bite at your ankles add the smell of lemon oil to your blanket or tablecloth. Mosquitoes are naturally repelled by that scent.

Preserve your environment with these quick and easy eco-friendly ideas. A few simple changes will ensure your next picnic site will look just as clean and beautiful as this one did.