Did anyone watch Top Chef last night? Picnics and barbecues are the food highlights of the summer, whether on your deck, in your back yard, at the park or on the beach. They're a great way to enjoy some of the freshest moments of the season. It's too bad Top Chef used mostly disposables, but we know better — having all the right tools make going on a picnic super easy, so we've made a list of our favorite eco-friendly picnic gear to get you ready for the upcoming holiday weekend.
One of the easy aspects of picnicking are your tools don't necessary need to be fancy, and can take a bit of a beating. Many of these items you probably already have, and can scavenge from your own kitchen rather than buying new. If you can set aside a few of these things and put them in a nice tote, you'll always be ready to go!
Reusable Utensils, Plates & Cups: It's easiest that you choose items that are unbreakable and lightweight because, other than the food, the tableware will be some of the heaviest items you bring.
- To-Go Ware Utensils & Containers
- Top Ten Reusable Utensil Sets
- Compostable Plastic Cups
- Aladdin Plastic Cup & Straw
- Funky Picnic Plates from the NY Botanical Garden
- 4 Awesome Alternatives to Plastic Dinnerware
- Bambu Reusable Bamboo Veneerware
Sealable & Reusable Containers: For wet foods make sure that you're using leakproof and/or lined containers. For everything else use containers that will hold food before and after the picnic.
- Reusable Sandwich Bags: Lunch Skins
- Lined Reusable Sandwich Bags by MamaMade
- Reusable Snack Bags by Plum Creek Mercantile
- 10 Plastic-Free Lunch Boxes
- Klean Kanteen Wide Insulated
- Cheap & Eco-Friendly: Frigoverre Glass Storage Containers
- Snapware Glass Lock Containers
- Green Food Storage
Cloth Napkins: Reuse ones you already own, buy new or make your own, but whatever you do, don't use paper products!
- No-Cut DIY Cloth Napkins
- How To: Make Your Own No-Sew Cloth Napkins
- Etsy Find: Mod Dots Reusable Cloth Table Napkins
Ice Pack or Ice Bags: Don't forget to keep your food cool to avoid spoilage! Use small reusable ice packs or fills a few reusable bags with ice (also handy for beverages) to chill your food.
Cutting Board & Knife: What's a picnic without sliced cheese or bread? Bring a small cutting board and serrated knife to get the job done.
- Totally Bamboo GreenLite Utility Board - Small
- Top 5: Eco-Friendly Cutting Board Materials
- VivaTerra Slate Cheese Board Set
- Best Picnic Knives
Corkscrew/Bottle Opener: This goes without saying, because you've gotta have a way to drink those refreshing beverages.
Basket: You can just as easily use a bag or carrier you already have, or you can splurge for an insulated tote to keep your food cold. Whatever you use should be easy to carry and large enough to hold your gear.
Trash Bags: If your picnic spot doesn't have garbage, recycling or composting on site, be sure to bring bags or containers to cleanup with and dispose of once you get home.
Blanket: Last but not least, you need a place to sit! You probably already have an old blanket that can do the job, but lined ones are good for keeping you dry.
- Marimekko Picnic Blankets by SewnNatural
- Zip-n-go Lined Outdoor Blankets
- Indoor/Outdoor All Weather Travel Blanket
- Simple Green: Focus on Reusables for Picnics
- Picnic Tip: How To Make a Watermelon Sling
- Flickr Finds: Ironing Board Picnic Tables
- Outdoor Dining: Fine Dining Al-Fresco to Picnic Perfect
(Images as linked above)