TOP TIPS FOR LESS PLASTIC IN THE PARK (or wherever you picnic!)
As well as helping our planet you’ll save money with every single one of these.
It’s not news anymore that we use far too much plastic in almost all parts of life, but I was struck by the added load that was considered inevitable, when I headed out for the first picnic of the year last month. This time last year I was buying plastic water bottles and happily recycling them, so I’m the first to feel the shame and need to change every step of the game.
It seems the disposable part of eating outside is synonymous with old habits of grabbing things that we then chuck, forks and spoons, pots of food, bags to carry it in and of course the endless plastic water bottles.
So I had a think about a few things we could all add to our picnic baskets without too much fuss, or expense, that we would use again and again, making our picnic game stronger, and the whole spread way more delicious.
Glass reusables ( Leifheit Glass Bottle, 1000 ml) instead of plastic.
The first thing to go for me, there’s just no need to cart plastic bottles around anymore.
Fill up your bottles with water at home, and keep them in a cool bag and you’ll save plenty on those bottles over the year as well as not leaving a wake of plastic.
Use old olive oil bottles, or whatever you have at home or you can buy a couple of these and you’re the chicest person at the picnic.
TOP TIP: I sprinkle a few frozen berries into the top before I leave the house, keeps the water cold, makes it look pretty and pink – see pic below – and the kids love sucking them afterwards!
Leifheit Glass Bottle, 1000 ml have a decent stopper and a nice label so you can use them as presents too.
For any other drinks, salad dressings or milk etc needed, I take an elegant 1/2 litre cordial bottle you can mix up some fizzy water with a splash of fresh juice, squeeze of lemon, lime or a sprig of mint.
2. DIY DIPS N CHIPS
Homemade in an Elephant Box instead of supermarket plastic pots
I always used to make the bulk of the picnic and then make a last minute dash into the local shop for some dips and extras to make it a bit more of an event, but with a tiny bit of forethought you can fix the tons of plastic that that generates in all the little pots, by making your own, try these, and you can do any of them the night before to save you on the day: Zesty Lime Houmous, Favourite Guacamole , Beetroot Dip etc and then use an Elephant Box pot to stash it in.
+There is a whole chapter on lunch boxes perfect for picnics in my book Lizzie Loves Healthy Family Food including crackers, oatcakes and plenty of finger food to lay out in the sunshine.
See POTS below:
3. WRAP IT
Bees Wax Wraps instead of Cling Film
If you’re up to speed on the homemade plastic pot free side of things, you may, like me, have sued miles and miles of cling film in your kitchen, especially in the summer. Covering salads and sandwiches and almost anything that might spill.
Well cling film isa plastic disaster, and ends up harming plenty of sea life as well as polluting the countryside.
I’ve talked about my love for Bees Wax Wraps many times since I discovered them last year, but they really come into their own at this time of year.
They are beautiful, smelling of delicious beeswax and they stick to whatever salad bowl or half a lemon you have to chuck in the picnic basket. Best, breathable covering for bread and cheese also.
I am a huge fan of small businesses run by women that care about what they do, and Carly and Fran are just amazing, so you’re doing all sorts of good at once. They also gave me a nice little 10% discount by using: LIZZIE10.
Hurry and grab the gorgeous lobster ones, or the striped blue and white below, so stylish and so totally reusable.
I use my regular salad bowl to fill with green leaves, cover in a wrap and dress when I get there.
Then if you want to add extra interest I add my favourite Lentil, Feta, tomato & balsamic summer salad with a wrap on top or if you’re going further in an Elephant box with a lid.
4. EATING IRONS
Anything instead of the plastic cutlery
You can pack your own knives and forks from home, or if you don’t want the clanging, there are cheap and easy eco versions like these:
Or smart gingham picnic sets that you can bring out every time without taking the dining room with you:
And if you want to truly embrace the whole picnic spirit, and upgrade on it all, this luxe picnic rucksack is totally my favourite thing about picnics now, since we got ours last year.
It has everything for the finest al fresco dining from cotton knapkins tucked in the wine glasses, to salt and pepper shakers, a steel corkscrew and a mini chopping board.
All that attached to a cool bag that fits everything you can eat in too.
Picnic Party Cups instead of the Single Use Cups
One of the conundrums of the picnic is packing things that normally are glass, but without smashing things before you’ve even got the rug out.
So, despite some of these options being made of plastic, because they are designed to be used again and again, and not for hot drinks to leech plastic into your drinks, I think they are still infinitely better than a packet of cups that are left in the park bin. Imagine how many you’d get through a year?
Enamel is my favourite and these are lovely, old school chic with the classic blue and white as well as really pretty pigeon grey and beige, in mugs and cups. Use the code MAYFINDS for 10% off
On the other end of the style spectrum for some kid colour and bling, this super colourful pack for wine or water or whatever that are a bargain:
And I have NEVER tried a collapsible sillicone wine glass before but I have read a lot of great reviews on these, and you can find them sold as singles for £2 which may be worth the road test just to see:
6. POTS AND TINS AND ALL FOOD HOLDERS
Elephant Box instead of all the other plastic ones
For all the chopped carrots and crunchies, berries, pickles, or whatever your game is, you can fins a little round pot, a big clip lock one, and with water-tight rubber seals there’s no spills.
As mentioned in the dips part, your own containers are the way forward. Preferably not the plastic ones, as they can leech into the food you’re eating.
I love the brand Elephant Box, small, family run and made in India, these aluminium containers are beautiful and hardy. They have a range of shapes and sizes, your food doesn’t need to be smothered in plastic either.
+Do look at the pretty berry water, its not all rosé!
So all that you need is a sunny day, some willing picnickers lined up and a bit of prep in the kitchen.
Enjoy your picnic with less of the plastic angst!