In the midst of Throwback Thursday, National Doughnut Day and National Siblings Day (a few of the latest and greatest holidays trending on social media – don’t worry, you weren’t supposed to get cards for anyone), you may have missed International Picnic Day, typically celebrated on June 18.
Well, here are two pieces of good news: 1) you can still celebrate International Picnic Day, and 2) you can keep your casual celebration green and environmentally friendly with the following tips and ideas.
When planning a green picnic, the most important thing to remember is to leave only your footprints at your meal site – no napkins or plastic water bottles, etc. left behind. The goal: generate the least amount of trash possible. Use non-disposable utensils, cups, plates, coolers, food storage containers, and of course, a big, cloth blanket, rather than the disposable variety. If you’re in the U.S., reusable plastic containers made of polypropylene that have the “#5 PP” symbol on the bottom pose no health risk.
If you’re thinking about what to pack in those containers, choose local, organic whole foods from a farmers market instead of the processed fare you find at the supermarket. Eating local cuts down on the miles it takes for food to get to you, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced in long transit times. Because locally grown foods don’t need to stay fresh for long periods of time, they aren’t treated with the pesticides and other chemicals that are toxic to our health and the environment.
Tote all of your reusable products and local bites in a picnic basket made of bamboo or natural willow. Or, if you don’t have anything to refrigerate, use a canvas, reusable shopping bag.
After your meal, work off those calories with a game of Frisbee or a toss of the football. You can take a nature hike and explore nearby trails or the natural scenery (if you’re in a not-so-woodsy area). If you’re near a lake or the ocean, head out on a kayak or in a canoe or practice some catch-and-release fishing.
Once your day is done, take all of your trash and recyclables with you, as anything left behind can contaminate the water and land around you and is harmful to animals. Recycle and compost what you can, and if you have any melted ice left in your cooler, use it to rinse your dishes or water the plants and flowers around your campsite.