Make it a Zero Waste week for National Picnic Week
Summer is here. As the days finally get longer and warmer, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the sun and the lovely outdoors with a picnic, trip to the park or even a weekend at a music festival. We shouldn’t however let the carefree spirit of summer sweep your great waste and recycling habits away. Whether you’re enjoying a festival or a family picnic, there’s always the chance to make the most of those long summer days – with as little waste as possible. This year, National Picnic Week runs from the 16th – 25th June and with waste in mind, picnics are definitely a time to think creatively about using up what’s in your kitchen
Whether you’re at a picnics or festivals, you can use some of these top tips to reduce your waste while you’re out and about this summer.
In west London we have some really popular parks/venues that you can picnic in including Richmond or Bushy Park in Richmond upon Thames, Walpole Park in Ealing or Ruislip Lido in Hillingdon. There will definitely be one near you, so why not go out and gather friends and family for some delicious food and fun outdoors. Once you’ve planned your food and gathered your family/friends, be aware of your waste before and after your picnic so…
- Firstly, check out what’s in your fridge before you head out to make sure there is nothing left you have to use up. It’s possible you could find some great inspiration for some snacks. So instead of having to throw food away you might have the perfect picnic food waiting for you at home.
- Secondly you could try not to use plastic disposable plates, cutlery and cups this year. You could bring your own plates from home and if you’re worried about breakage there are some great compostable alternatives. Companies like VegWare or Enviropack offer a wide range of compostable items such as cutlery, cups, napkins and plates and even take away boxes so you don’t have to throw away your picnic leftovers.
If you’re super motivated now, you could even try a Zero Waste style picnic with your friends or check out Zero Waste blogger Lauren Singer.
With summer also comes the festival season. We all have probably seen photos of the waste mountains left behind by the festival goers after a fun weekend. At Glastonbury in 2015 alone, people left behind 5,000 tents, 6,500 sleeping bags and 54 tonnes of cans and plastic bottles according to a Guardian article. Some festivals have tried to make an effort to be greener and more sustainable over the last few years though. The Shambala Festival has already banned disposable plastic to encourage the reuse of water bottles and bar cups and Glastonbury are now encouraging the use of compostable cutlery as well as encouraging the use of reusable bottles according to their website’s green policy page . At the 2016 Shambala event, they saved about 1 tonne of plastic from going to waste and for 2017, they’re incentivising the use of reusable coffee cups on site.
So when you do your packing this year, don’t just think about funky outfits, crazy accessorise and glitter but also remember to take your reusable items. They aren’t heavy or take up a lot of space but can make a difference to your waste footprint. In fact there are many items that either have more eco-friendly options that you thought. For instance, did you know you can buy biodegradable glitter that is more environmentally friendly than the usual stuff? Just something else to think about this year. When it comes to leaving after those wonderful days remember to take everything you brought back with you. Even if it’s broken, you can recycle it at home or might find some great reuse ideas online. And if you just don’t want it anymore you can donate it to your local charity shop.
Do you have any great zero waste tips for the summer or tasty recipe ideas for picnics? If so we’d love to share them. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on our Twitter or Facebook page, so we can share them with the rest of the West London Waste community!
Also come and have a chat with us at our upcoming events.