Spring, Summer and early Fall in Atlanta represent terrific times of the year to host a picnic. Whether grilling out in the backyard or gathering around a picnic table at one of Gwinnett County’s award-winning parks, it’s important that you do your part to keep it as green and environmentally-safe as it is tasty and fun. Here are four easy tips for hosting a planet-friendly picnic:
- Shop Local and Pack Fresh: By shopping for your picnic locally, and gathering some of your items from the farmers market or fruit stand up the road – you will drive fewer miles AND be supporting your neighboring farmer at the same time! Fresh tomatoes, watermelon, blueberries, jams, nuts, breads and cheese all make terrific additions to any picnic! If you plan to grill out, consider buying organic beef from a farmer or butcher near you. But please avoid using petroleum-based lighter fluid to light your charcoal – opt for a metal charcoal chimney instead.
- Great Occasion to Use the “Good” China: Rather than packing up convenient to use-and-toss styrofoam plates, paper napkins, and plastic utensils, consider using reusable picnic ware. Picnics are a terrific time to kick it “old school” with an actual picnic basket, cloth napkins and table cloth, non-breakable plates, recyclable/compostable containers, and reusable utensils. If you find that you’re more comfortable packing use-and-toss materials, be sure to buy plates and napkins made from recycled materials.
- Picnic Close to Home: Getting in the car to drive dozens of miles to host a planet-friendly picnic doesn’t make much sense, does it? Hosting a picnic in the backyard, at a community pavilion or at a park near your home means you don’t have to drive far (or at all) – which equates to fewer CO2 emissions and air pollutants. If you’re close enough to walk or ride a bike to your picnic destination, those are two other eco-friendly solutions that are good for you, too!
- Put Litter in its Place: If you host your picnic at a local park or favorite scenic spot, be sure to clean up when you’re done. Place all of your trash in the nearest trash receptacle, but in the event that it’s full from all of the picnics that preceded yours – it’s always wise to pack a trash bag so you can haul your trash home, if necessary. Unless there is a recycling bin present, you may also want to pack all of the recyclable items up and take them home to your own recycling bin.
- Get Out and Explore: A picnic is the perfect occasion to reconnect with the natural world that surrounds us. After lunch, take a leisurely stroll and discuss all of the things that make Mother Nature so beautiful. Also talk about ways that you and your family, friends and associates can KEEP her clean and beautiful. This is a terrific way to foster a love of the environment in children (AND rekindle that same love within you.)
Image Credit: Nicolas Raymond/Stockvault