“Green” Your Summer Picnics

Summer is time for picnics and barbecues. Be sure to remember the three R’s while you’re enjoying the great outdoors. Here are simple tips for reducing, reusing, and recycling at your next picnic:


• Plan ahead so that you don’t have too much food. Potlucks, in particular, often lead to a lot of food waste (which translates to wasted money and time on food purchases and preparation). Rather than asking everyone to bring food, consider assigning other tasks, such as bringing cloth napkins or monitoring recycling bins.
• If you’ll be somewhere without running water, take along a jug of water and soap or a bottle of hand sanitizer rather than moistened towelettes or wipes.


• Select washable plates, cups, and silverware. For outdoor use, especially around swimming pools, rivers, and the ocean, use plastic and metal rather than glass.
• Instead of paper napkins, which can easily blow away and become litter, take along washable napkins, small hand towels, or washcloths.
• If you need a new cooler, select one that is sturdy and will last for many years.
• Consider washing and reusing “disposable” plastic cups, plates, forks, and spoons.


• Collect bottles and cans for recycling. You can put empties back into your cooler or use a bag or box.
• Place empty recyclables into bins provided at parks, or take the recyclables home for recycling in your bin.

For more about recycling away from home and reducing food waste, check out Recycling on the Road and Food for Thought.

Photo credit Sofia World | iStock | Thinkstock

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