Green Picnic Guide
Gearing up for a summer picnic? Here are some earth-friendly ideas to help you keep your outdoor gatherings fun, simple and green.
- Pack plenty of local, in-season fruits and vegetables and organic meat for you and your guests. Remember, fresh fruit “wraps” itself – no additional packaging needed! Check out American Farmland Trust’s list of the top 5 farmers markets in your state for some local favorites.
- Consider re-purposing your canvas grocery tote as a picnic bag or try searching your closets for backpacks or holiday baskets to tote your food and picnic supplies.
- Try to choose a picnic destination that’s easy to get to by biking, walking or using public transportation. Check out Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Trail Link database to discover new hiking, biking and equestrian adventures that await you and your picnic basket.
- Skip the individually packaged drinks and opt for coolers (or kegs) filled with your favorite party beverages. For food storage and leftovers, pack reusable tins and canisters.
- Choose washable, reusable cloth napkins and tablecloths - check your closets again for old bandanas and bedsheets that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- If reusable isn’t an option for cups, plates and utensils, choose biodegradable items or look for products made from recycled materials. Planning to grill? Look for recycled aluminum foil.
- Stick to sunscreen and insect repellents made with fewer chemicals and avoid spraying your entire picnic area with toxic pest products. For more on picking safe, eco-friendly sunscreens, check out our Sunscreen Green Tip.
- Think green for your picnic activities and entertainment. Bring your favorite nature and wildlife field guides along with some binoculars and a journal for outdoor exploring. To get started, check out National Audubon Society’s online guide to birding basics, or log on to National Wildlife Federation’s interactive Wildlife Watch program, where you can learn more about the plants and animals you may see on your outing. Visit us on Facebook to share your post-picnic stories, observations and pictures!
- Remember to take your waste with you. Leftover picnic food in trashcans is often tempting to park animals. Bring an extra storage container for food waste and a tote bag for recycling. Also, consider using your melted ice to rinse reusable dishes and utensils.