Add some eco-friendly thoughts to your picnic ingredients, writes Juliette Sivertsen
It doesn't seem that long ago that climate change was seen as the biggest threat to humanity. And although Covid has overtaken sustainability as the most pressing issue in the world right now, we mustn't forget about protecting our planet.
Picnics are one of life's simple pleasures - a chance to enjoy food in a relaxed setting with good company. But picnics can also be a source of lots of rubbish, such as plastic cutlery, single-use plates and cups, plastic packaging of food items and, of course, food waste, from leftovers that have spent too much time outside in the sun to be kept for another day.
Here's how to pack a picnic that's good for the planet.
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Prep your food carefully
It may seem easier to buy prepared salads, bread rolls in a plastic bag and packaged meats, you'll be left with a lot of plastic waste at the end. Spend a little time planning and preparing your picnic food to help reduce your rubbish. Leftovers are great for picnic lunches. Dips and hummus are easy to make at home with a few basic ingredients, you can bake your own loaf of bread (now we've all perfected it during lockdown). Head to your local deli with a reusable container to buy any meats, rather than purchasing a packet of processed meat, or sausages in a plastic package.
Drink from a jar
Upgrade your picnic style by using glass jars or mason jars as your drinking vessel, rather than plastic or polystyrene cups. Jars also add an instant classy look to your picnic as well. You can also fill jars with salad, dressings, or homemade hummus and dips rather than purchasing readymade options in plastic packaging. Don't forget to bring a Thermos flask if you want tea or coffee, which you can make earlier in the day.
Use reusable cutlery and serving plates
Ideally, picnics are best enjoyed with finger food. But if you do need a knife and fork, bamboo cutlery is a sustainable, lightweight option and can last a long time if properly looked after. Once they've reached the end of their life, bamboo cutlery can be composted. The same goes for plates - bamboo or compostable plates and bowls will last a long time and can eventually be composted.
Cover food with beeswax wraps
Beeswax wraps are a great alternative to plastic cling film wrap. They're a reusable and sustainable alternative to single-use plastic, and they seal over themselves to keep food fresh. If you have a loaf of fresh bread you need to wrap, use a muslin cloth or piece of linen.
Leave nothing behind
Ideally, you won't have much waste after your eco-friendly picnic, but if you do have any rubbish, make sure you take it with you. Don't assume there will be bins near your picnic spot. If you have leftover food that you can't use later, opt for composting it rather than throwing it away.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com