As the summer fades into autumn, the weather is perfect for soaking up the last of the summer sun. Picnics are a great opportunity to connect with friends we haven’t seen through the busy summer months. As the allure of picnics beckons, imagine embracing a zero waste picnic. It's about savoring the pleasures of nature while leaving behind nothing but footprints – no plastic wrappers, disposable containers, or single-use cutlery. By adopting a few simple practices and rethinking our choices, we can transform our picnics into an eco-friendly celebration of both taste and the planet.
From selecting sustainable and reusable containers to crafting delicious, waste-free recipes that captivate the senses, this blog post will guide you through every step of the process. Discover how to create a picnic that not only delights your taste buds but also respects the environment, incorporating locally sourced ingredients and mindful consumption.
Prepare to embark on a journey that merges sustainability with summertime bliss. Read more for picking the right foods and pairings for your picnic, the best picnicware out there, travel-friendly locations, and how to leave no trace.
Picking the Right Foods
The best picnics start with selecting the right foods to bring along. While you’re packing up your picnic basket, you want to include all your favorites, your guests’ favorites, as well as foods that are easy to eat and clean up. Putting together the perfect picnic is a little like building a charcuterie board: it’s best to keep things simple, but also a little adventurous.
Here are our recommendations for things to include:
- 2 cheeses (if you eat dairy): pick one soft cheese, like a goat cheese, and one hard, like a sweet aged cheddar. If you or your guests don’t eat dairy, we recommend dips, such as Toby’s Original Dip or Kite Hill Cream Cheese.
- 1 protein, such as salami, tempeh, or deli meat that pairs well with cheeses
- Crackers or fresh bread, depending on your preference
- 1-2 bottles of wine
- 1 sweet, such as dark chocolate
When it comes to ensuring your choices are sustainable and not producing additional waste, here are a few things to consider when making choices:
- What’s it wrapped in? When possible, choose products that are wrapped in paper or beeswax wrap instead of single-use plastic or foil. However, when this isn’t an option, choosing items (such as the Kite Hill Cream Cheese) that come in containers you could easily reuse is a great option.
- Can you recycle the packaging? Plastic that has come into contact with food often can’t be recycled. However, if you choose packaging that can be reused, such as lidded containers, that’s a great choice. If you purchase cheeses and meats from the deli counter, you can request that they place them in lidded containers or wrapped in paper instead of being wrapped in plastic.
- Is it easy to take with you? Taking too many items, including containers that can’t be easily carried out, is a recipe for disaster. Keep your list short so you can take everything with you when you’re done.
Picnicware Made Easy
Nothing says a picnic quite like taking along items that make you feel put together. Plus, the things you bring along can help you be more sustainable: no paper plates, plastic utensils, or ziploc baggies necessary. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Pick a basket you love (and that you’ll use for years to come). We love this one from Anthropologie.
- Grab a blanket. Many of us have great outdoor blankets that we’ve owned for years, but if you’re looking for a new one, this one from Anthropologie folds up small enough to keep in the car.
- Bring beeswax wraps along. Beeswax wraps are a great option for wrapping up leftovers.
- Pick the right cutlery. Everyone needs an extra set of cutlery for day-to-day so you can avoid using disposable utensils. We love these bamboo sets. Don’t forget a travel straw.
- For wet scraps, a wet bag is great for carrying out anything that can be composted.
Share Your Zero Waste Picnic
Planning a zero waste picnic has never been easier. With sustainability at the forefront of so many of our lives, it’s easier than ever to make choices that both feel good and look good. However, the most important thing is to enjoy your time with your friends, especially as the summer days fade. So open a bottle of wine, grab your friends, and head out to picnic in style.