Zero Waste Picnicking Tips & Recipes
Picnic season is here! Picnics often mean a lot of plastic-wrapped snacks in single-use, sliced portions on plastic trays and salads in single-serving plastic bowls or wrapping. The result is a mountain of garbage that needs to be dragged to the nearest trash can (hopefully not left there but taken! ).
You can keep them plastic-free with some planning and thought when you have time. Or, you can use some trash less techniques during a last-minute picnic.
Here are some tips for making picnics waste-free, including some easy and quick recipes.
How to plan a zero-waste picnic
You can prepare and homemaker most of the items for the picnic in advance. Pack or borrow reusable picnicware for your picnic.
- Stock up on bulk snacks or make your own crackers and vegetable chips. (For example, slice thinly and sprinkle salt over the top, then pour oil and bake. (Or try a no-oil baked vegetable chip recipe).
- Make your own spread, salad dressing, and/or hummus in a re-used jar
- Buy bread, bagels, or rolls in a bag and slice them at home
- You can get items such as olives, cold cuts, and cheese in their own containers (you can even get the cheese from a large block that is wrapped in beeswax).
- Buy packaging-free produce and cut it into sticks and slices before packing.
- Pre-make your lunch or a salad or platter to share with friends and family at home. Put it in a container or just a small bowl covered by a fabric or beeswax cover.
- Rent reusable picnic crockery (like the party kit network), or bring your own reusable plates, cups, napkins and cutlery.
Pulling off a last-minute, plastic-free picnic
The weather is suddenly sunny, and it has been suggested that we meet at the park within an hour. How can you avoid buying plastic-wrapped picnic picks from the supermarket or eating at a drive-through that leaves a lot of trash?
- You can also check your pantry, fruit bowl, and food plants to see if you have any leftovers.
- Make some bliss balls in a flash (no need to cook; simply mix together oats and seeds, dates, honey, nut butter or syrup, and nuts).
- Popcorn is a great snack to bring with you.
- If you don’t have them already throw your reusables into your backpack – water bottles, cups, containers, napkins, and cutlery. Our Black+Blum sandwich box container works well for spontaneous picnics, as the lid doubles as a cutting board. However, most container lids can be used to make plates.
- Bulk bins are on their way
- Grab some fruit or produce that is not packaged
- Grab some bagels, rolls, or bread in a plastic bag and a glass jar of spread to put on top.
- Takeaway that is trashless in your container
- Choose a drink or smoothie that is available in a reusable cup.
LIST OF EASY SHARED SNACK & FINGER FOOD RECIPES
You’re looking for an easy recipe for homemade dips and snacks that you can make yourself and enjoy with friends while relaxing on a picnic rug? Here are some simple recipes and ideas for sharing snacks and dips to make your outdoor event home-cooked and free of single-use packaging.
- easy baked vegetable chips (oil-free)
- Easy homemade plain crackers
- By cutting the bread thinly and brushing it with oil, you can turn it into crostinis. You can also add any herbs or seasonings that you like.
- Hummus (find out our favorite recipe here) paired with carrots and celery.
- Falafels: (if you have the homemade dried falafel mixture, you can use it to quickly make falafels at any time. You can buy this mix in some bulk food stores).
- flatbread/ lavash (you only need water, salt and flour)
- Pesto (the carrot pesto recipe that we use here) or dip (some easy vegan dip recipes (here) and (here).
- Salad dressings are easy to make – just throw the ingredients in a jar, shake and enjoy! From a simple combination of olive oil, salt, and balsamic to a creamy, cheesy dressing with tahini and nutritional yeast or a dressing with balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander, depending on your salad.
- Popcorn with your favorite toppings made using kernels and spices/toppings purchased from bulk food stores
- recipes for bliss balls and variations, you can use anything in your pantry or fridge
What are some tips to make a trip trash-free in order to sit on grass at the park? Have you got a favorite zero-waste recipe for a picnic, lunch or dessert?