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How to have an earth-friendly picnic

Mind, Fitness

Longer days and warmer weather means it’s time to welcome back the return of picnic season. But while picnicking at your favorite park or beach can be very fun, it can also contribute waste to these beautiful spaces.

So in honor of Earth Day this April, we’re sharing tips for planning an environmentally conscious picnic. Keep reading to learn how you can be a more responsible outdoor diner.

1. Reuse. Ditch the disposables.

Sure, plastic utensils are convenient, but you can cut down on plastic pollution and help keep waste out of the landfills by bringing reusable tableware.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Skip the plastic utensils. The simplest solution is to pack some forks, spoons and knives from your own kitchen drawer. Or, for a long-term solution, you can buy reusable eco-friendly camping flatware online.
  • Pack food in sealable, reusable containers instead of plastic bags. Remember to keep raw and cooked foods separate at all times during your picnic.
  • Bring reusable or recyclable dishes in lieu of paper plates.
  • Ditch the plastic drinking straws. Both brick-and-mortar and online stores sell nonplastic reusable options made of stainless steel, glass, bamboo and silicone, for example.
  • Use cloth instead of paper napkins.
  • Bring your own refillable water bottle or container. Tip: If they’re freezer safe, freeze a few water bottles overnight so your supply will stay good and cold all day.

2. Recycle. Leave no trace.

Properly dispose of any recyclable items you happen to bring, like aluminum soda cans or glass bottles. Do a quick check for recycling and trash bins before you dig in, so you’re not left toting your trash around aimlessly. Don’t leave any food scraps behind, and resist the temptation to burn trash in a campfire. That can cause pollution.

For those of you going farther afield, plan to tote your trash and recyclables back with you. When visiting beaches and parks, the rule is to take back everything you bring in in order to leave nature undisturbed.

3. Reduce. Bring only what you need.

When it comes to being a conscientious picnicker, less is more. Avoid bringing more food and supplies than you need. This can help cut down on the amount of waste you need to dispose of at the park.

And if you do think you’ll have leftovers, bring an ice-filled cooler to keep food cool.

Bonus move: Leave the car at home.

If possible, consider walking or riding a bike to your picnic spot. You’ll get some exercise—and shrink your carbon footprint.

This option might make it harder to bring an ice-filled cooler, a must for keeping perishable foods safe to eat. So you may need to pack nonperishable foods, like:

  • Peanut butter and whole wheat bread.
  • Dried fruits.
  • Canned tuna.
  • Oranges, apples and bananas.

Spend more time outside

If it’s picnic season, it’s also hiking season. Discover the health benefits of hiking.