Go Green: Plan an Eco-friendly Picnic

Posted on Jun 5 2013 - 11:00am by Dayna Hathaway


Picnic table at a campgroundPicnic weather is finally here! I love picnics because they allow me to get the whole family together to enjoy a delicious meal outdoors. Picnics are beautiful and memorable, but I like to take care of nature too by planning eco-friendly picnics. Yes, picnics have carbon footprints just like everything else, but you can take steps to reduce the impact of your picnic.

An earth-friendly picnic can be easy, affordable and fun! When you’re planning your picnic, a big goal to keep in mind is to avoid disposables. That means no packaged food items like pudding cups, bags of chips or bottled water. Instead of including prepackaged food, you can have a picnic with old-fashioned flair, even without turning on the stove! Keep reading to see how.


Choose Lightweight, Reusable Dishes

Photo via Preserve

Photo via Preserve

I don’t blame you for not wanting to lug around heavy, breakable dishes on your picnic, but you do have another option besides disposable paper or plastic dishes. Try reusable, BPA-free plastic plates, bowls, cups and cutlery! My favorite reusable plastic picnic dishes are Preserve. They’re brightly colored, strong, dishwasher-safe and completely reusable until you tire of them! Then, you can recycle them, or use a plate as a Frisbee.

Don’t Sweat the Basket

Consider skipping the big wicker picnic basket. Why? Well, I don’t like to clutter my pantry with items I use just a few times a year, and huge picnic baskets fall into that category. If you already have a picnic basket you love, then use it! If not, don’t buy one. Instead, use an item you already have, such as freshly washed reusable shopping bags, duffel bags or backpacks! If it will be a while before you eat your picnic, use an insulated bag with ice packs. Don’t forget to stash a few cloth napkins or recycled paper napkins in your bag for keeping those after-picnic smiles bright and clean.

Go Local

Shop your local farmer’s market for fruits, veggies, cheeses, breads and more for your picnic. Not only will the food be fresher, it will have traveled fewer miles to reach you. That means your picnic has a lower carbon footprint! Here’s a farmers market guide to get you started. Another way to reduce the carbon footprint of your picnic is to choose a location such as a park or other green area that’s close to your home. If others will be joining you for the picnic, try to select a location that’s central for everyone.

Hydrate Wisely

Don’t forget to take along a large container of water or your chosen beverage and pour it into cups. Not only will you save money over buying bottled water or other bottled drinks, you’ll not have to add disposable plastic bottles to your recycling bin. If you have a stash of reusable bottles, fill those before you go.

Enjoy Gourmet Food without Cooking 

Save energy with a no-cook picnic. Who wants to turn on the stove in hot weather anyhow? Prepare sandwiches, cold soups and fresh fruit salads. Make your picnic even more eco-friendly by selecting organic ingredients when possible and wrapping sandwiches in recycled aluminum foil or reusable sandwich wraps.

Photo via Wrapnmat.com

Photo via Wrapnmat.com

I hope your earth-friendly picnic is fun and tasty! I’ll see you at the park.

Have you planned a green picnic? What are your favorite picnic foods?