Top tips for a planet-friendly picnic
There’s nothing like whiling away an afternoon in a scenic spot with delicious food to share. Embrace summer in eco-conscious style with our planet-loving picnic guide.
One of the great pleasures of the warmer months is the opportunity for outdoor gatherings – spending precious time with friends and loved ones enjoying delicious food, surrounded by natural beauty, whether on a beach or riverbank, at a local reserve, or your favourite national park picnic spot.
Of course, while soaking up the beauty of our natural surroundings, we want to tread lightly, taking only photos and leaving only footprints, as the saying goes. Here are three great ways to enjoy a planet-loving picnic.
1. Make it plant-based!
When it comes to our eco-footprint, the most significant individual action we can take is to embrace plant-based eating. By growing food directly for human consumption, we could reduce land use by 76 percent – offering a cascade of environmental benefits, from reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions to opportunities for rewilding, ecosystem restoration, and carbon absorption on a massive scale. It’s a win-win-win for nature – and delicious to boot.
From sandwiches and wraps to pastries and quiches, vegan picnic recipe options abound. A great approach is to think about your favourite picnic foods, then … veganise! Here are just a few tempting vegan recipes, perfect for your summer picnic hamper:
Vegan ‘chicken’ sanga‘Chicken’ sangaRECIPESausage rollsVegan sausage rollsRECIPEQuicheSpinach and onion quicheRECIPECurried potato saladCurried potato saladRECIPELayered pasta salad with pestoLayered pasta saladRECIPEZesty lemon coconut muffinsLemon coconut muffinsRECIPE
2. Keep it low-waste
Whether it’s your picnic bag or basket, your utensils and straws, or the picnic rug you sit on, there are great eco-options to ensure you’re not contributing to the world’s plastic waste problem. The best approach is to choose reusables wherever possible – think: bamboo or titanium cutlery sets, metal straws, coconut bowls, and stainless steel keep cups and drinks bottles. A smart tip to avoid single-use anything is to encourage your companions to bring their own utensils from home.
When it comes to your picnic essentials such as your basket, blanket, and folding chairs, it pays to invest in high-quality, responsibly made items that you will use and love for years to come. A picnic rug from Saltwater Picnic Co. is a case in point. Arising out of a passion for picnics and our planet, this Aussie company makes family size padded blankets from 100 percent recycled plastic, with each beautiful design saving 96 bottles from landfill and waterways, and mangrove trees planted with every purchase.
3. Leave only footprints
When packing your picnic, you won’t want to forget the all-important sunscreen and insect repellent. Fortunately, responsible brands have stepped up to meet demand for planet and animal-friendly formulations. From reef-safe vegan sunscreens packaged in recycled bottles or tins, to aerosol-free bug sprays made with non-toxic essential oils, there’s a range of options that don’t involve environmental harms or health risks. Extra bonus points if you make your own insect repellent in a reusable glass dispenser, or source it from a bulk supply shop.
Naturally, you’ll take care not to leave any rubbish behind. The best bet is to avoid any throwaway items in the first place, especially single-use plastics. Bringing homemade food items in reusable containers or plant-based wax food wraps is a great way to do this but, if buying food to bring, you can avoid plastic packaging by purchasing fresh food from a cafe, deli, or bulk food store. Ideas include takeaway wraps and pizzas which come in paper or cardboard, deli salads packed in your own container, or bulk veggie chips, nuts, or other nibbles that you scoop into your own cotton or parachute bags.
With the holidays around the corner, the great outdoors beckons, and the pleasure of picnics awaits. You’ll enjoy this time-honoured tradition all the more, knowing that you’re nurturing nature while benefiting from its gifts.
Images: Saltwater Picnic Co.