Lower Impact Picnics

Spring is here! Time to dust off the picnic baskets, with Lil’s top 8 tips for a lower impact picnic. We’ll be headed to the Play Map Picnic with Art Point this Saturday, come see us at Wee Red Upcycles at 11am to join the fun and find the secret picnic spot.

1. The top tip is to remember your containers. Not just for the picnic, but also to the shops. We don’t always have time for a home-made picnic feast as beautiful as this! So if you’re like me and headed to the shops for a picnic scheduled to start in 5 minutes (!) then remember to BYO containers. Why not keep a stash of old containers, even preloved yoghurt tubs, with the bundle of shopping bags? Most delis and deli counters will let you BYO container, or at least use wax paper. Supermarkets are still pouring out some 59 billion pieces of single use plastic every year – that’s 2,000 per household.  To avoid adding to this remember to ask - many supermarkets will put your produce in paper or your container rather than plastic at the deli, but we’ve found you have to ask or they go with plastic!

2. Need a new picnic lunch box? We’ve got you covered for a treat, or reuse an old ice cream or takeaway container and don’t forget your cutlery! Take your own from home in a neat cutlery wrap or for a lighter option take bamboo

3. Ditch the cling film. Use beeswax or vegan wax wraps; or compostable snack bags. These bags hold rolls for my kids really well, or muffins, or popcorn. Anything as long as it’s not too wet. Lil was selling them for £1.75 less than Amazon at the time of writing!

4. Just like a puppy is not just for Christmas your reusable coffee cup is not just for coffee. They can double as hot chocolate cups, hot soup cups, or prosecco/ Pimm’s cups (for picnics in walking distance!). A thermos or insulated bottle is nearly always a winner for a Scottish picnic! Also keeps drinks chilled (hello G&T).

5. Popcorn is a healthy alternative to the ubiquitous crisps. Healthy for you, and the planet. Crisp packets of all shapes and sizes are difficult to recycle and never breakdown. One prominent brand produces 7,000 packets every minute in the UK. Crisps dating back to the 1980s have been found washed ashore.  Popcorn you can buy loose, or in a brown paper bag from Lil – the same bag you can pop in the microwave and take for your picnic. If you end up with crisps, Lil is signed up to the Terracycle/Walkers crisp packet recycling scheme so drop them in with us.

6.  Fruit comes in its own natural packaging. Try to buy loose, and pop in a container if you’re worried it’ll squash. Dried fruit can go in a reusable paper or cloth bag. Lil’s partnership with Phantassie Organics can deliver your fresh fruit and any Lil order too.

7. Remember to take all rubbish home with you. Even compostable fruit peels take nearly two years to break down, which leaves it just as rubbish for a long time. Compostable rubbish that blows to a drain/river/sea will cause as much damage as plastic – it can’t break down in the water.

8. Looking for recipe ideas? See Sarah’s blog on the low impact lunchbox or BBC Good Food Picnic collections. When perusing, remember what we eat is a Lil choice too. The IPCC has said that as part of our efforts to curb global warming we need to eat less meat. I heard a climate change campaigner put it in a way I could digest: eat lower down the food chain. Sarah’s family has a “meat as a treat” policy - eat less, spend the same on better quality, local, extensively reared meat. For me, there’s a matrix to be balanced between this and buying local, seasonal foods. Plus my personal crux at the moment, the amount of non-sustainable palm oil in ready-made puff pastry ☹ If you find a zero waste version that I can buy, please do let me know! I know I could try making it, but I also know my cooking capabilities. Purely thinking of the food waste from my failed attempts, not just how much time it’d take…  😉 x Lou