How to Host an Eco-Friendly Picnic

Entertaining in the great outdoors is a lot of fun. Instead of buying dishes and decorations for each event, think about your overall entertaining style and invest in some reusable items that will be kinder to Mother Earth and your pocketbook in the long run. Pick out classic designs in coordinating color schemes to get the most mileage out of your picnic supplies. Swap out single-use items for items you can pull out of your picnic basket year after year.

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Upgrade your picnic entertaining style by investing in reusable plates, serving dishes, and cutlery. You can go high-end and shop at department stores, but you can also find beautiful, economical options at discount stores. No matter your budget, you can host a low-waste picnic for your friends and family.

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Some people choose paper or thin plastic tablecloths for easy cleanup, but that creates a lot of waste at the end of your party. Why not pick out a versatile blanket or tablecloth that can be washed or wiped down after each use? You’ll spend far less time wrangling flyaway tablecloths in the spring breeze if they’re thicker than tissue paper!

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Nothing adds a classy touch to an event like offering a guest a real glass. For the great outdoors, swap out thin glasses for acrylic tumblers or even sturdy mason jar glasses. You’ll throw away far less at the end of the day by giving people a reusable beverage container.

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Party decorations can be tricky because hosts often want to change themes and styles with each occasion. Think beyond the streamers and dollar store throwaway centerpieces, and opt instead for fresh flowers in classic mason jars. Tie a scrap of fabric or ribbon around the jars to add a festive touch. Or, consider making or buying fabric bunting flags in your favorite colors that will add your personal style and flair to each gathering.

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No one wants to get dehydrated at a picnic, but you can go through a lot of bottles and cans in an afternoon party, especially when you’re outside! Consider providing drinks in large dispensers instead of serving individual beverages. People can use their reusable tumblers or mason jar glasses and curb the amount you’ll have to recycle after the party.

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Make cleanup easy on yourself at the end of the day and bring trash and recycling tubs to your picnic spot. If you’re handy, try making a recycling tub cart out of PVC pipes and wheels to make transporting the tubs a little easier. 

Nothing beats a great spring picnic. Swap out one or two items each season until your picnic basket supplies are totally reusable. If you’re worried about transporting glass mason jars or other breakable items, consider buying a yard or two of felt and sliding felt discs between plates and serving dishes. Use old towels to twist between mason jars and tuck them into a tote or a sturdy box. Wash up at the park water spigot with a portable tub, dish soap, and wash cloth. Just remember to pour your leftover suds down the park bathroom drain to protect the environment.

Now, get out there and have a picnic!

— Christina Files
Posted on Jun 1, 2017

Summary: Entertaining in the great outdoors is a lot of fun. Instead of buying dishes and decorations for each event, think about your overall entertaining style and invest in some reusable items that will be kinder to Mother Earth and your pocketbook in the long run. Pick out classic designs in coordinating color schemes to get the most mileage out of your picnic supplies. Swap out single-use items for items you can pull out of your picnic basket year after year.