Summer is here, yay!
But while many of us associate summer with seeing friends, eating out, taking holidays, sitting in beer gardens, and generally enjoying the great outdoors, the coronavirus pandemic means we might not be able to do all of our favorite things.
The good news is that you can still enjoy a sustainable summer picnic under a bright blue sky with your (socially distanced) friends.
In fact, International Picnic Day just passed (yes, it’s a thing), and the day reminded me how glorious a picnic can be no matter what’s happening in the world. Picnics are all about friends, family, good times, good weather, and good food. And if you’re worried about going into a bar or restaurant at the moment, they make for a fabulous, safe alternative.
Not sure where to start with a sustainable summer picnic? Let’s take a look.
Pick a suitable, nearby location
If you don’t want to travel too far (for various reasons), having the picnic at a nearby location is a very sustainable thing to do. Especially if there are a few of you going, it saves lots of energy.
Have a think about some suitable, nearby locations. Use Google Maps to find parks you weren’t even aware of before, or just google “great picnic spots near me.”
If possible, try to find a certified picnic area as it will come with trash cans for your waste.
Create some really easy vegan recipes (100% picnic-ready)
I know it’s tempting to prepare some absolutely epic picnic food, but overdoing things in the kitchen can cause you a lot of stress before the picnic has even got started!
So why not try some of these really easy picnic recipes that are 100% vegan? They’re yummy, shareable, and really easy!
Where you source your food is equally important. If you want to be more sustainable, check out some organic stores near you. You could visit a farmer’s market, too.
Prepare your own iced tea
Provided your friends absolutely love tea (who doesn’t?!), you might want to think about making your own tea and taking it along to the picnic.
Making drinks is always cheaper than buying them, and it’s more sustainable, too.
Learn how to make some iced tea for your picnic here:
And if you want to take some straws along too, make sure to take reusable straws (instead of plastic ones). I would say avoid glass straws because they could break, which will cause a mess.
Make your own hummus
Hummus is the king of snacks! It complements literally anything, from carrots to crackers. It’s also really easy to make.
Learn how to make your own hummus here:
Wrap your food in beeswax paper
Wrapping food can actually be really taxing on the environment, which is why it’s always a good idea to look for a more sustainable alternative to plastic.
How about beeswax paper? It shapes easily around your food, it’s reusable, and can help to minimize the amount of plastic pollution that’s going on at the moment.
For things like sides and condiments, meanwhile, you could use Mason jars.
Take your own cutlery with you
If you remember family picnics as a kid, you probably remember the reusable plates, forks, knives, and cups. But — of course — all that stuff just contributes unnecessary waste.
It’s a much better idea to take your own reusable cutlery from home with you. If you think it’s going to be too heavy, why not ask everyone to pitch in by taking their own?
Take a cutting board along with you
If you’ve got edible treats that need to be sliced, diced, and divided up when you get to your picnic destination, it’s a smart idea to take a cutting board along with you.
Make sure to take some reusable cloths and napkins, too, so that you can easily wipe up the mess afterwards.
Don’t forget your umbrellas!
In Britain, rain often catches us by surprise. One moment we’re baking in a heatwave, and in the flick of a switch there’s a crack of thunder, followed by a downpour!
But while umbrellas are important to take along to a picnic in case it rains, they also provide some much-needed shade if it’s too hot.
To that end, don’t forget your sunscreen! You can find some great organic sunscreen brands here.
Picnics are some of the most fun things to do during the summer. They combine two of the best things ever (friends and food), and they don’t have to wreck the environment. If you’ve got a dog, you could even take them along for the ride as well! (Whisper it, but dogs absolutely love a picnic.)
Whatever you do, make sure you clean up afterwards. On that note, because cleaning up can be a little exhausting (especially if people have had a drink), it might be a good idea to plan ahead. Sort out who’ll be cleaning up what beforehand, and you’ll be onto a winner.