Perfect picnics

Sustainability Victoria

With warmer weather on the way, many of us are venturing outside with our picnic blankets to reserve a sunny spot and spend time with our friends.

Picnicking might seem like an innocent, wholesome activity but we can often generate a lot of waste when we head out into the great outdoors with our packed hampers.

Luckily, there are some simple swaps we can make to ensure our picnics are as green as the grass we’re sitting on.

Switch-up your single-use plastics for reusables

Don’t waste valuable space in your shopping trolley loading up with disposable plates and cutlery when you likely have perfectly good tableware at home.

Simply wrap up your plates in a tea-towel or two before placing them in your picnic basket and you’re good to go.

If you’re worried about breaking your best china or losing a fork from your cutlery set, invest in sustainable alternatives that you can use year after year, such as the innovative products from Premier’s Sustainability Award finalist EcoSoulLife. Or explore other options in our guide on Eco-friendly alternatives to disposable dinnerware.

Avoid unnecessary packaging

When heading out to shop for picnic treats, be sure to take your reusable bags. Forgetting them happens to all of us, but you can make it easy on yourself with our Tips to help you remember your reusable bags.

You can also bring containers from home when shopping at bulk-buy stores and delis to cut down on plastic waste.

Try beeswax wraps or other sustainable cling film alternatives to wrap your sandwiches, and you can pack your other homemade goodies in reusable containers and jars.

Check out our Top 10 tips to avoid packaging waste.

Don’t let great food go to waste

We’re all guilty of over-catering from time to time and picnics can be a common culprit.

If you’ve packed too many sandwiches, take them home with you for tomorrow’s lunch or drop them off at a friend’s place and save them the trouble of making a meal.

Wasted food is responsible for around 15 per cent of Victoria’s non-energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of around 29 billion litres of water. In fact, the average Victorian household throws out more than $2,000 worth of food each year.

But you can save money while helping the planet by learning to love your leftovers, and picnics are a great place to start.

Check out our guide to making the most of your leftovers.

Rethink your drinks

You might save time grabbing a plastic bottle of lemonade from the shops, but it’s just as easy to create a healthier, sustainable alternative at home and bring it to your picnic in a thermos or a bottle from your fizzy water machine.

Why not get creative and impress your friends with your own take on iced tea or a summer punch with extra spice?

Disposable cups made from expanded polystyrene can’t be readily recycled. So, wrap up some cups or mugs from home in tea-towels before popping them in your picnic basket so you don’t have to fork out for anything new. Or consider asking your friends to bring their own reusable cups.

Recycle right to give your items another life

It goes without saying that if you have anything to recycle after your picnic, make sure you pop it in the correct bin.

Our recycling can be transformed into anything from children’s toys to plant pots, so it’s important to ensure our waste doesn’t go to waste.

And if the bins at your park are full, take your rubbish home with you to keep our green spaces clean and pristine for the next picnic.

Check the recycling information for your local council.

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