Preparing for picnics

One thing we love about summer is picnics and barbecues. While enjoying your al fresco dining and the great outdoors, don’t forget the three Rs. Here are simple tips for reducing, reusing, and recycling:

• Plan ahead so that you don’t have too much food. Pitch-ins, 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 lakes, 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.
• If you are hosting an outdoor party or event, be sure to place recycling bins and trash cans near each other so that your guests use the correct bin. Provide signs on or above the bins so your guests don’t have to guess which is which. And remember to check with your local solid waste management authority to determine which containers are recyclable in your community.

Photo credit: fstop123 | iStock | Getty Images Plus

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