Green Picnic Guide

Green Picnic

Get Outside and Leave no Trace

Owning a true well-stocked picnic basket means you are ready for outdoor meals basically anywhere, anytime. This is a big deal to us as it facilitates getting out into nature, usually with friends or family and enjoying food and the environment. Of course all too often there is a lot of extra trash generated from the average American picnic and in many other places we are sure. The popular Showtime network television show called Mad Men, set in the early 1960s, in one episode shows the Draper family when done with a day at the park shaking out their blanket, leaving all the trash lie while Don, tosses yet another beer can on the grass for some else to find. This is a well off educated family. Yes it is fiction but is it really that far off? When you visit the park on a nice day is it clean? Not always, that's for sure. Aside from enjoying wonderful sights, food, and friends always keep in mind that these places of natural beauty be they your front yard or Yosemite National Park are yours and there for you to enjoy. Please leave them better than you found them so they will be there for generations to come. Here in our guide you will find a list of everything you will need to have a successful green picnic outing.

Get Set up at Home

We like to get out for as many meals as we can during the nice weather here in Western Washington, living in a rain forest and all. So it helps to be prepared. A great method for regular bistro style meals anywhere is to cook up extra batches of pasta or make a potato salad and put them in smaller containers to use for different meals. We of course have to mention that Ashley Eneriz of Good Food for the Week shows you how to cook all your meals for the week on the weekend and has a lot about batch cooking with new menus every week.

The Well-Stocked Picnic Basket

With just a little planning—a basket packed with essentials such as silverware, and plates, and cloth napkins (see below for our full list) and a fridge stocked with picnic favorites in reusable containers is really a snap. We find The Container Store basically has everything you could ever conceive of for this purpose. By planning ahead and making sure you have what you need on hand, it will keep you from reaching for last minute disposable bags, which are not good when thinking green as they are not recyclable.

Green Picnic Basket Checklist

  • Awesome Basket or Totebag - we like Picnic Time and Lands End
  • Inexpensive Flatware - settings for 8
  • Plates - ceramic or there are also some Green plastic options
  • Cups & Glasses - if your basket came with your all set otherwise just grab some you do not care too much about and make them for that purpose, you will be far happier than drinking out of plastic when sipping your Chardonnay.
  • Reusable Bottles - for juice or water they can be found anywhere but be sure they are liquid safe and research shows you should not refill old juice bottles as eventually they break down and start giving off chemicals.
  • Water - water is really important for a lot of stuff when picnicking. Make sure you have about a 1/2 gallon in a reusable bottle or two.
  • Cloth Napkins + Tablecloth - these are so much better looking, feeling, and environmentally friendly it is not even funny, and if you can't find a table, your all set.
  • Trash Bag - of course we leave things better than we found them. You should also bring along a container for things that can be tossed into the compost when you get home.
  • Wine Chiller Sleeve - these basically just keep a bottle of wine.
  • Corkscrew - need we say more.

The basics of keeping your outdoor picnic green are not too difficult to master. Take a bit of time to prepare. Get the things you need so you stop buying stuff that winds up in the landfill. And above all, follow and teach your family to leave the places you visit better than you found them. You will feel great, getting outside and enjoying a nice male, and of course did I mention you will probably spend about a fifth of what you would have at the waterfront bistro. Enjoy. About the Author Chris McGrath, is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of T&G. He writes about sustainability, urban design and development, DIY, organic food, and simple living.
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