Conservation Corner: It’s Picnic Time
Nothing says 4th of July (or summer) like family picnics, but that favorite time outdoors can be bad for the environment if you aren’t careful. Here are a few tips to make sure your favorite picnic haven remains a memory-maker for years to come:
Pack finger foods - Opting for foods that can be eaten by hand eliminates the need for dishes or cutlery -- items that typically are disposable and quickly fill the garbage bag.
Use reusable containers - There’s no need to individually wrap sandwiches or other meal items in plastic bags or wraps that will be thrown away, when picnicking with your family. Use glass, stainless steel, or reusable plastic containers to transport foods. The same applies to beverages. Skip the prepackaged juice boxes and water bottles and fill a thermos or large bottle that can distribute servings in reusable cups.
Serve local - If possible, serve locally grown, or at least in season, fruits and vegetables which travel less from field to consumer, and consequently a smaller carbon footprint.
If single use serveware and cutlery are your only options, try to find those that are recyclable and sustainably sourced, whenever possible. Your one picnic may not seem like much waste, but the EPA estimates that 1.1 million tons of plastic cups, cutlery, and plates were discarded last year!