Plastic Free Picnic Tips for you & your family!
We’ve been going on loads of picnics recently, and most of them have actually been in our back garden! It can make mealtimes a novelty (rather than a slog, as it can sometimes be, especially when we are trying to persuade our little ones to eat healthy options rather than beige food!!). We have also taken our picnic basket and picnic bag to the park, the beach, the forest, the riverside, the dog park and many other places that I’ll recall when I scroll back through my photo stream on my phone. Lockdown during the summer months in the UK has meant that staying at (or near to) home is a must, so we’ve been doing it loads and really enjoying it.
But are there ways to have a plastic free picnic with your babies, toddlers, and kids? Of course!! Yes, we can certainly all do our bit to make sure that we are not littering the world with single use plastics. Often, the plastic free alternatives make the picnic that much more special too, I find. Call me a hipster, but I love a recycled jam jar to take food and snacks in! :-)
So, what are some good plastic free picnic options? Are there some good plastic free habits that we can get into, that also help the rest of our week become plastic free too?
Here are some ideas:
Reuse! - Bring your own FLASK and WATER BOTTLE - this is a no brainer. There are some lovely options on the market at the moment, just make sure that the material that comes into contact with the fluid in your flask or bottle is not plastic. Try these by Panda Packaging. I also like to have a cup tea with me in the car on the way to our picnic site, and this reusable & biodegradable rice husk mug is super for journeys (I’ve even walked around forests and meadows with it in my hand, and it’s super)
Recycle! - GLASS JARS - I have talked before about how much I love a recycled glass jar. They have SO many uses, including being perfect for holding anything from fruit, jams, spreads, dips or even little finger sandwiches for little ones. Particularly popular with my son are little glass jars with raisins, or berries, homemade biscuits or crackers, bits of cheese, and cut up cucumber or carrot. I’ve carried glass jars with his provisions around with me since he was weaning. Is it a little heavier than plastic? Yes, but I think it’s worth it for not having to worry about the toxicity of the plastic. Does the glass break in your bag? No, I’ve got to say I’ve NEVER had a glass jar break in all the time that I’ve been carrying them around with me with snacks in (there was a moment when I was heavily pregnant, however, when I was carrying around a glass bottle with water in it. It broke due to my clumsiness, at the checkout at a shop. People look on, aghast, thinking that my waters had broken! Thankfully it wasn’t!).
Ice Ice Baby! - FREEZE GRAPES - A nice little plastic free picnic hack, to keep your picnic cool in the summer weather and also avoid those plastic freezer packs, is to freeze some grapes before you go, stick em in your water bottle and pop your water bottle in your basket. A 3 in 1 - it’ll chill your water, keep your picnic food cool AND you can snack on the grapes when you sit down for your picnic. Bonus! Use a bottle or flask such as these ones by Panda Packaging.
Prep a bit - BRING HOMEMADE SNACKS - the worst offender of single use plastic at a picnic are the snack pots and snack trays that encase shop-bought snackage. Think of the plastic trays that olives or falafel or sandwiches come in. If you can plan ahead, this will make the world of difference to your plastic waste. I like to bring some homemade hummus or tzatziki in jars with us, or decant other snacks from the fridge into little jars - such as olives from a big jar into a little one for the basket. Use leftovers from the fridge, instead, that works a treat - like wrapping up a few cold pizza slices from the night before, for example. Homemade bread, scones, bannocks, etc, are also a very popular addition especially when there are toddlers and weaning babies around! Good finger food all round.
From the seed - GROW YOUR OWN - to really cut down on the carbon footprint, toxins and also plastic waste of your picnic snacks, consider bringing some home grown snacks with you. Summer is bursting with options, depending on how much space you have in your garden or home - even a little window box can provide delicious cherry tomatoes or basil for garnishing your dips. This year, our garden has done us proud, and we have taken raspberries, blackberries, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots in glass jars with us on picnics. Also we are now in the middle of our courgette glut! So I like to put together a little salad for me in a jar - sliced courguette, lemon, and salt is perfect (and all the more for me, because Finn is not a big fan of this!)
Don’t forget! - BRING YOUR OWN CUTLERY - I like to use lightweight plastic free cutlery for our picnics. We LOVE these coconut cutlery sets by Panda Packaging and these brilliant bright and cheerfully coloured bioplastic cutlery and cups from eKoala. They are a firm favourite with my son, and are as light as normal plastic, but don’t have the toxins / BPA / phthalates and are totally biodegradable too!
Plus, you can use code ‘10PICNIC’ for an exclusive Plastic Free Baby 10% off these eKoala bioplastic cutlery sets!
Wrap up - REUSABLE WRAPS AND CLOTHS - Instead of bringing loads of baby wipes and loading up sandwiches in rolls and rolls of foil or plastic wrap (which after a while, becomes expensive and is obviously not a good choice for the environment), try reusables. We use these reusable travel wipes on our picnics, plus some other homemade ones which I made on my sewing machine. They are more effective for clean ups than baby wipes, too, I find. And try using wax wraps for wrapping up sandwiches, pizza slices, and similar; try your hand at making your own DIY wax wraps using this lovely kit by Tabitha Eve.
Cover up - STAY SAFE IN THE SUN - I wrote a whole blog on making your own homemade plastic free sunscreen, which you can read here. I also really recommend taking some Life Balm and Sun Downer After Sun Balm from The Coconut Bee with you in your basket, too. It’s great for if any of the children have a little graze on their knee, or after you’ve been outdoors around the sun.
And lastly, don’t forget to clear everything up after you’ve had your picnic. Hopefully this goes without saying. We just take all of our waste home with us, and deal with it all appropriately there as it’s the easiest way to sort through the recyclable, from the food waste bits, and so on. But sadly, there is a word for it when you leave bits of picnic behind after you - PICTIPPING! Yikes.
Have a great time on your picnic! Let me know what other plastic free picnic ideas and tips you have!
Let the snacking commence.
DISCOUNT!! Use code ‘10PICNIC’ for an exclusive Plastic Free Baby 10% off these eKoala bioplastic cutlery sets.