Family Fun Good To Know

Easy Steps for Earth-Friendly Picnics

By Sandra Ann Harris | Contributor

Now is the season of picnic parties with friends and family. Before you stock up on throwaway picnic staples like plastic cups, plates, utensils, and napkins, take a minute to tune-up your eco-friendly lifestyle and learn how to ditch needless plastics.

There’s no need to fall back into wasteful habits and trash our planet with needless single-use plastics, 

Here are a few tips from her book to help you reboot your picnicking habits.

Step #1: Ditch the Car

Reduce your carbon footprint and pick a picnic spot you can walk, bike, boat, or get to with public transit. If that’s not possible, carpool with friends.

Step #2: Pack Reusables

Bring reusable picnic blankets and decorate tables with washable tablecloths instead of disposables. We love adding a little extra joy to our celebrations with candles, fresh-cut flowers, or found objects from nature in our table arrangements.

Step #3: Shop Local

Shop at your local Farmer’s Market or produce stand for a local and organically grown menu. Great produce makes the chef’s job super easy! Think simple. Finger foods like cut fruits, nuts, or local honey and peanut butter sandwiches are simple and nourishing for all ages. Also, some cheeses, like Brie and Camembert, are lovely softened in the sun and spread over fresh baked bread.

Bonus tip: Make your own beverage and serve in a pitcher. That way you don’t have to deal with all the cans and bottles.

Step #4: No Excuse for Single-Use

Too often outdoor celebrations generate excessive waste because organizers are concerned about using breakable tableware outdoors and the hassle of cleaning up. One idea is to ask picnickers to BYO dishes, water bottles or cups, cloth napkins, and utensils. If that is not your style, pack a sturdy cardboard box with reusables to share with your guests. We suggest stainless steel picnic plates, assorted reusable utensils, cotton washable napkins, and mason jars or stainless steel cups.

Step #5: Clean Up Responsibly

Have bins or boxes for recycling, compost, and waste clearly marked and available for use by your guests. If you hiked or walked in, make sure to pack out all your waste. If you are in a park that does not offer recycling or composting, take it home and use your own compost and recycling bins.

Step #6: Make It Happen

A little planning goes a long way when it comes to avoiding a ton of trash during picnics. It might sound like a ton of work to pack reusables for your events, but doing the right thing for our planet is a team sport.

About the Author

Sandra Ann Harris is the author of Say Goodbye To Plastic: A Survival Guide to Plastic-Free Living. She is founder and president of ECOlunchbox, a mission-based consumer products company. Her passion is protecting the oceans by reducing people’s dependence on plastics. ECOlunchbox, a certified B Corporation and California Green Business, innovates and sells high-quality, plastic-free food container solutions. 


Written by Sandra Ann Harris
Foreword by Dianna Cohen
978-1-57826-860-3, $15.00 paperback
978-1-57826-861-0, $7.99 eBook

Published by Hatherleigh Press.
Distributed through Penguin Random House.
Available wherever books are sold.

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