How to create a plastic-free picnic

Who doesn’t love a picnic? Eating outside, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine as bees buzz around after the last drop of juice. Bliss.

But have you ever thought about how much disposable plastic can go into a picnic? Plastic spoons, plastic cups, plastic containers for food, sandwiches wrapped in plastic, plastic bags… All too soon the food is gone and your blissful picnic has turned into a small pile of trash.

A lot of this plastic could end up in the oceans. After you put your rubbish in the bin, it’s probably taken to a landfill. But an estimated average of 8 million tonnes of plastic finds its way into the oceans every year.

It disrupts and can harm ocean ecosystems. Marine life can mistake plastic for food, and it ends up coming back to us in the food chain.

How do we stop this?

Recycling alone isn’t working. Globally only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling. Less than a third of plastic waste entering the waste management system is recycled in the EU.

We need to eliminate the problem at the source. If companies stop producing single-use plastics and embrace alternatives, we can start turning the tide. Governments can bring in laws that restrict disposable plastics and encourage more sustainable, reusable packaging.

But it also comes down to us.

Here are five tips for a plastic-free picnic:

1. When you’re buying food, choose unpackaged, organic, seasonal products. If you need a bag, bring your own or use a recycled paper one.

2. It might seem obvious, but bring a reusable picnic basket. No plastic bags please!

3. Collect reusable food containers. Try reusing empty glass jam jars instead of buying plastic tupperware. Try and track down drinks that come in returnable-for-refill bottles. If there isn’t a deposit scheme near you, try reusing old bottles yourself!

4. Use old bits of cloth to wrap your sandwiches, instead of cellophane. They can also double-up as napkins!

5. Bring reusable cups, plates and cutlery with you. It’s not too much effort to do the washing up, considering the amount of resources that go into producing a single plastic spoon.

Nothing that’s used for a few minutes should end up polluting our oceans for centuries.

Help us fight against plastic pollution every day. And enjoy your picnic!

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