There’s one more bank holiday on its way and one final half-term left before the summer holidays officially start for those who are teachers or for those who have children. As the sun has finally decided to make an appearance and the days are finally getting warmer, surely the first thing that has popped into your head is to have a picnic? But how can we make sure that our summer picnics aren’t harming the planet and are as eco-friendly as possible?
Eco-friendly picnics are a great way to enjoy the outdoors whilst minimising your impact on the environment. Whether you’re planning a picnic with your friends or family, there are so many different ways you can make your picnics more sustainable.
How do I have an eco-friendly picnic?
- Choose reusable picnic bags instead of disposable bags. Not only will they last you this summer, they will be in your cupboard for years to come.
- Choose reusable plates, cups, bowls and cutlery instead of single-use plastic ones that will take 100 of years to decompose.
- Avoid using single-use plastic wrap and aluminium foil. Instead you can use reusable food containers or beeswax wraps to keep your food fresh.
- When making your picnic food - opt to use up things that need to be eaten in your fridge and cupboard to make something delicious! Shopping for locally produced food is also a great way to be more eco-friendly this picnic season as the food will have a lower carbon footprint compared to food from larger supermarkets.
- Another option food wise is to create some vegan recipes that you haven’t tried before.
- Buy a reusable water bottle - this will reduce plastic waste and will save you a lot of money in the long run.
- Opt for eco-friendly bug spray if you find yourself being bitten a lot as well as eco-friendly sun cream. A lot of insect repellent and sun cream can contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
- Bring a separate bag to put any waste into and dispose of it properly. If you have anything that needs recycling, keep it with you until you find a recycling bin or recycle it at home.
- If you can walk, cycle or take public transport to your picnic location you will reduce your carbon footprint.
- Lastly, enjoy the natural beauty you are in and make sure you leave the area exactly as you found it.
Eco-friendly Citron essentials for your picnics
Not only are reusable tableware sets more aesthetically pleasing than disposable ones, they are also a lot better for the environment. In the UK, a huge number of single-use plastic food products - like the ones many of you may have used for picnics in the past will be banned. Items like single-use plates and cups will be discontinued because of the amount of time they take to break down once disposed of, which is creating huge issues for the environment. Instead, opt for eco-friendly tableware sets like our Citron sets which are available in two different colour ways. They are also super light-weight as they are made from 100% plant-based materials making them easily transportable to any of your picnic locations this summer. If you want to get technical our eco-sets are biodegradable as they are made from corn starch and sugarcane (mad we know).
The majority of picnic foods are eaten cold, but how do you keep them at a cool temperature when you are transporting them? At Citron our small and large food jars will keep your food cold for up to 7 hours - so if you have planned a long walk before you enjoy your picnic you won’t need to worry about your food going off. Although cold picnic food is often more favourable, it can be nice to have a warming pasta dish on the side. No need to worry, our food jars also double-up as an insulating jar which can keep your food warm for up to 6 hours.
Having a reusable picnic bag in your cupboard to take out at any picnic opportunity is a must in our opinion. But what picnic bag do you choose? At Citron we have one specially designed for picnics! Our large insulated picnic bag will keep your food at the right temperature so it will stay cool even during those hot sunny days. With 3 external pockets for extra storage, our picnic bag is more like a Mary Poppins bag that can fit a lot of picnic essentials in!
When you’re out on your picnic you might have a lot of picky bits that you can eat with your hands, but what do you eat your pasta salads or dessert with? Having a cutlery set that can stay in your picnic bag for all your picnic occasions is one of our biggest tips this picnic season! Browse through our website to view our stainless steel sets that come in a silicone case of our new eco-friendly cutlery sets that are made from 100% plant-based materials.
Instead of wrapping your sandwiches or sausage rolls in cling film or putting loose fruit at the bottom of your bag that will just end up getting squished, why don’t you put them in one of our snack boxes? Our snack boxes are designed with 3 mix-free compartments to keep your different sweet and savoury snacks separate and protected. Our boxes are made from shatter-proof material and they can double up and boxes for school as well as picnics.
Hydration is key throughout the year, but during the summer months you will need to drink even more water to keep your body functioning. At Citron we have 4 different size water bottles that come up in a range of patterns and colours so everyone in the family can have their own one. All our water bottles will keep your drink cold for up to 24 hours thanks to their triple-wall design and therefore make the perfect picnic and summer essential.
Easy picnic recipes to try
Now onto the fun part - the food! If you are planning on having a greener picnic this summer, there are a number of ways you can do that with your food choices. Food waste is a huge problem in the UK, with 9.5 million tonnes wasted in a single year. To make your picnic that little bit more eco, it is a good idea to rummage through your fridge and cupboards to see what delicious dishes you can make with food that is about to expire.
Here are just a few tasty recipes that might use up some of those bananas that are turning brown in your fruit bowl or those noodles that have been sitting in the cupboard for the past few months.
1. Veggie spring-rolls
Not everyone loves eating sandwiches and it can be a great idea to mix things up from time-to-time. A fab alternative is our veggie spring rolls that are fresh, delicious and will use up a lot of veggies from inside of your fridge.
- 1 portion of rice noodles
- 1 pepper
- 2 radishes
- Half a cucumber
- 1 Carrot
- A handful of salad leaves of your choice
- Rice wrap papers
- Sprinkle of sesame seeds
Cook your rice noodles and cut your vegetables into thin strips
Soak your rice wrap papers in cold water for a few seconds
Fill the wrap with the veggies (you can add in whatever ones you prefer)
Gently wrap your roll - either leave it whole or you can cut it in half
2. Banana muffins
If you have never had a bunch of bananas turning brown in your fruit bowl before, tell us your secrets. If you have some mushy bananas, then it gives you the perfect excuse to make oaty banana muffins to take on your picnic. The majority of these ingredients you will probably already have in your cupboards as well which will save on food waste.
- 250 g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 75 g rolled oats
- 3 medium free-range eggs
- 175 g golden caster sugar
- 250 ml sunflower oil
- 2 mashed bananas
Preheat your oven to 180°C and line the baking tin with muffin cases.
Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl and then fold in the oats and sugar.
Next mix all your wet ingredients together including your mashed banana.
Finally mix all the ingredients together and spoon it evenly into your muffin cases.
Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
Another way you can be more eco is to make plant-based dishes. The UN said that farmed livestock used for dairy and meat farming accounts for 11.2% of manmade greenhouse gas emissions and if we all went vegan, within 15 years the world's food-related emission would be cut by 68% which would limit global warming. Now we aren’t saying everyone needs to go vegan, but adding a few more plant-based dishes to your picnic and making those little differences. Here are some of our favourite recipes that you might like to try this picnic season
1. Couscous salad
Our roasted veggie salad with pearl couscous and vegan cheese will go down a treat with everyone at your picnic. The couscous will keep you feeling fuller for longer thanks to the high fibre content. Below we have recommended some of our favourite veggies to add into your salad but you are free to use whatever you like and you can use up some that might have been sitting in your fridge for quite some time.
For the full recipe and method - check out our weeks worth of meal prep blog!
2. Iced peach-green tea refresher
Instead of buying a few refreshing drinks at your Starbucks drive-through before your picnic, why don’t you try and recreate your favourite drink at home? One of our favourites is a peach green tea refresher. Our water bottles will keep it cold for up to 24 hours so you won’t need to worry about drinking luke-warm tea.
- 2 green tea bags
- 350ml of peach juice
- 350ml fresh lemonade
- Slices of lemon
Add your peach juice to a pan and heat, once it starts to simmer add in your 2 green tea bags and heat for 3 minutes.
Once heated, remove the tea bags and let the juice and tea mixture cool completely.
Once cooled, mix in 350ml of your lemonade and some cubes of ice into a jug and pour into your 750ml Citron water bottle
Overall, by making a few simple changes to your picnic routine this year, you can help protect the planet and also set an example for others to follow. So grab your reusable picnic bag with all your goodies in and enjoy your green picnic adventure this summer!