Plastic-Free Picnics

Picnics with Less (or Zero) Plastic

You may be surprised at how much trash we generate from what might seem a  low-impact picnic. Reducing picnic waste—especially plastics—is particularly important at a time when scientists are sounding the alarm about the buildup of small particles, or microplastics, in the Great Lakes

Zero-Waste Picnic vs Typical Picnic

Zero-Waste Before: sandwich, chips, pear, carrots, fruit salad, cookies, water

Zero-Waste After: reusable container, reusable water bottle, cloth napkins, metal silverware

Typical Before: sandwich, chips, pear, carrots, fruit salad, cookies, water

Typical After: plastic wrappers, single-use plastic bags, single-use plastic water bottle, plastic silverware, paper napkins

Tips for a zero-waste picnic:

  • Plan out foods that don’t generate a lot of waste. Finger foods make great picnic fare. Sandwiches, crackers, cheese and meats, whole fruit and vegetables, cookies.
  • Bring an apple and an orange instead of a pre-cut fruit salad.
  • If you do want a salad (greens, potato, pasta, etc), put it in a reusable container and bring your own reusable forks and spoons.
  • Be creative in packaging: putting chips or crackers in a reusable container (versus a single-use plastic bag), or wrapping items in a cloth.
  • Bring your own water bottle filled with water or a summer drink, like lemonade or tea.
  • Bring plates you don’t have to throw away. Buy reusable plates made of a lightweight, less fragile material.
  • Bring reusable cutlery, plates and glasses. You can encourage everyone to bring their own (which saves you on washing up); if you do, remember to bring some spares just in case anyone forgets.
  • Make sure not to leave any trash behind, and recycle what you can.


Pro tip: Check out the FLOW Store for a Great Lakes water bottle!

Happy picnicking!

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