A few years ago when the idea of “being green” started getting really big I was already using vinegar cleaning supplies, cloth diapering, and using reuseable sandwich bags and wraps. One day we were packing up for a picnic and I had already put a bunch of cut up fruit into a Tupperware container and packed the paper plates. It crossed my mind that I try so hard in other situations to reduce my waste, why not on a picnic?
It seems like an easy concept, but it takes some prep and not a lot of people, including myself at the time, know much about it. So by trial and error, we have perfected the “greenest picnic” that we can.
First, use smaller containers to load up your food. That way everyone can eat directly out of their containers if you don’t want to pack up a bunch of dishes. Bento Boxes are great for this. Wrap snacks and sandwiches in reuseable and waterproof wraps and bags. You can find these on Etsy but my favorites come from MamaMade or the ones I made myself. Make sure you pack all your plastic and non breakable dishes, your utensils, and your cloth napkins.
Now you are going to need three bags. 2 will need to be “wet bags” than go into the washer and dryer. Once again, check Etsy or purchase yourself some PUL and cotton and make your own. The third bag will be a small plastic trash bag if you are going somewhere that doesn’t have a public trashcan. Place all your dishes and utensils in the first wet bag. Place all your sandiwch bags and cloth napkins in the second bag. Then, place all your trash in the trash bag.
When you get home, fill your sink with soapy water and place the contents of the first bag into the water. Then throw that bag along with the second bag and its contents into the washer and start it up. Don’t forget to throw your picnic blanket in there too. Wash the dishes or throw them in the dish washer and hang your wet bags and napkins out to dry.
And viola. With little more work than a dinner at home, you can have a picnic in the great outdoors without worrying about damaging the nature that you so love.