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This picnic season, keep waste to a minimum (and fun to the max!) with picnic product developer Charlotte Goose’s top tips. Plus, we have plenty of recipes and products to try.
Whether you’re heading to the park or making a trip to the seaside, a picnic with friends or family is one of best ways to celebrate summer. Plus, there’s something about eating outdoors that makes the food taste even better – right?
And while picnics can require a fair bit of kit, that doesn’t mean they can’t be kinder to the environment. I’ve put together some of my top tips for planning a picnic, with less plastic and less waste to show for it. Grab a blanket and let’s start prepping!
Top tips for a low-waste picnic
- Recycle all soft plastic! Save the film lids, crisp packets and bread bags that you’d normally throw away after your picnic, and look out for Co-op recycling units in your local store. These are for the soft plastics that you can’t normally recycle at home. Just take them with you to Co-op and recycle next time you shop. Simple!
- Bring your regular plates Paper plates and wooden cutlery might be easier to recycle than plastic, but they can still cause lots of unnecessary waste. You can just use your own plates and cutlery from home – at least you know they won’t fly away with the wind! Wrap them in your picnic rug to prevent breakages.
- Think clever for cups Don’t throw away glass jars! Any food item that comes in a jar – think curry pastes, jam,peanut butter and chutney – can be washed out and used as a drinking glass. Serve with a metal straw (no plastic straws here, folks) for a better way to enjoy your drink.
- BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) Whether you’re shopping for picnic fare or carrying your feast to the park, make sure to choose sturdy, reusable bags – preferably ones that are plastic-free, such as a tote or canvas bag. Co-op compostable bags are a great option with a second use, too. When you’re done, simply use them to line food caddies or kitchen compost bins – clever! Or, skip the bags altogether and pack everything in cardboard boxes. The idea is to minimise single-use plastic where possible.
These recipes are all a breeze to prepare, travel well and are easy to eat with your hands. Whip them up in advance, then pack away in a reusable lunchbox to take with you.
Vegetarians, rejoice! This typically meaty snack has been veg-ified, by swapping the sausagemeat coating for one made with peas, cheese and breadcrumbs.
Looking for a sweet treat that travels brilliantly? Go retro with these crispy rice triangles. They only take 15 minutes to prepare and don’t require any baking.
Also known as a frittata, this filling dish packs maximum flavour into every slice. It’s gluten-free too.
More on-the-go ideas
Complete your picnic with a few quick-fix products that will take your outdoor feast to the next level. If you don’t have time to make the veggie scotch eggs above, pick up a pack of Co-op scotch eggs, which make an easy and affordable alternative. And when it comes to added extras, nothing beats Co-op mixed olives and feta and Co-op cream cheese stuffed peppers to get you in the summer spirit. Don’t forget – all of Co-op’s picnic range is recyclable, so remember to rinse the packaging when you’re done and recycle any soft plastics instore.
Finally, it can sometimes be tricky to conjure up vegan options that compete with classic picnic fare – but that’s where Co-op’s GRO range comes in. Whether it’s ready-made savouries, such as the GRO falafel and houmous wrap, or delicious sweet treats, including GRO dark chocolate chunk cookies, we’ve got you covered. Plant-based alternatives should always be easy and accessible, no matter the occasion.
Check out the full summer picnic range 2021 for more ways to level up your picnic!
Picnic product developer