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Zero Waste-Enjoy Green Nature with a Green Picnic

By Fredrica Syren:

Ahhh summer break is finally here and me and family have 8 weeks of summer fun together. We love spending as much time outdoors as possible and that includes having picnics.There is nothing my kids like more than an outdoor picnic.  We’ll bring a blanket and picnic lunch to enjoy on the grass after any outdoor activities. It’s funny how a meal outdoors on a blanket somehow just tastes better. I like this option better than grabbing a lunch at a restaurant because a bring-along picnic lunch is healthier and cheaper for a family of five.picnic

However, a picnic traditionally can create lots of waste — everything from leftover food, plastic cups and utensils to paper napkins and plates. The good news is that it’s possible to organize a zero-waste picnic.

Here is how you make sure your picnic is as green as the grass that you will be dining on!

picnic basketPicnic basket — Let’s begin with how you transport the food. Forget wasteful disposable plastic or paper bags, and invest in a cooler or a picnic basket made with natural material like bamboo or natural willow. A backpack or a reusable shopping bag can work as well.

bamboo platesSkip the disposable items — Invest in reusable bamboo plates and cups as well as utensils, and use cloth napkins. If you do need to bring disposable plates, etc., then make sure they are made from either corn or potato starch. We always bring a compostable plastic bag to gather food scraps that we’ll either bring to our compost or to a commercial composting facility. We bring the food that we’re going to eat in compostable zip lock bags or in reusable food containers. Another tip for less waste is to skip the kids’ juice boxes because not only do they generate lots of trash but they also contain lots of sugar. A green and healthy tip is to put flavored water or homemade vitamin water or lemonade in reusable stainless steel water bottles with straws for the kids.

picnicMake the menu organic and sustainable — I love going to our local organic farmers’ market and pick up a lunch that we’ll enjoy in nature together because fresh and local food is my favorite food to eat. But you don’t have to go to a farmers’ market to find sustainable food. Just choose seasonal, organic and local food at your local grocery store for your picnic.

Pick up after yourself — Make sure to gather your belongings before you leave. Don’t leave any food scraps, as they might be compostable — but they are not good for wildlife to eat. My general rule is to leave things better than when we arrived.

Happy Picnicking!

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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