Has the brilliant sunshine inspired you to bring out the blanket and picnic basket? The good news is we can celebrate a summer meal outside without making a bear-sized mess. As usual, zero waste starts with planning. Perhaps ironically, it is helpful to be prepared for a spontaneous lunch at a park or snack at the beach.
1. A set of dishes, cups and cutlery should top the list when thinking zero waste. We all know too well how quickly an innocent treat can end in a mountain of disposable cups, straws, ketchup packages and to-go containers. Even paper plates are not ideal as they still make use of raw resources and chemical bleaches, and have some added transportation karma at both ends of its short life.
2. Leftover plastic cutlery from a previous meal out can be stored in the car or in an easy grab-bag at home for the next meal-on-the-go.
3. To reach the next level and avoid using a mound of paper napkins, get crafty and make fabric napkins from scraps around the house.
4. Investing in a backpack or grass basket may provide inspiration to spend more time in the great outdoors.
5. A picnic is not complete without food for the ants and dog to nibble on. Think pre-cut veggies and easy-to-eat fruit such as strawberries and grapes. Bulk bread, buns and homemade dips can complete the treat.
6. Do not forget beverages. Go for portable water bottles that can be refilled at a fountain. Homemade sun tea made from garden herbs such as mint, steeped in the sun, can quench anyone's thirst on a hot day.
7. Potluck-style picnics are another easy solution to approach zero-waste. Encourage friends to bring a dish from home rather than over-packaged, store-bought goods.
Plan ahead and pack some consideration for the planet alongside the carrots and dip.
Let’s Talk Trash is Powell River Regional District’s waste-management education program.