Maybe not this year, COVID kind of threw us off our routine and plans for this summer. But we are a road trip kind of family. Every summer we go camping at least twice or three times which includes a short road trip going and coming back plus a road trip to Okanagan. We have a system that works for us, even the kids, well more teens’ bickering is accepted and very well tolerated by all in our road trips.
This year however we are going on more picnics than road trips. More because it’s safer and we get to go home at the end of the day.
There a few things I do and have around to minimized our waste as much as possible. Although I have an eco-friendly and waste free related business and mindset my whole family don’t share all those values. I know they are aware of it and better than many but in general if it’s not easy it can be avoided. In general my success in waste free living is my preparedness.
My trick to have a waste free picnics and road trips is to go prepared and make it as easy as A B C for all the people involved to follow through and be waste free as best as they can. And I have to emphasize the “as best as we can” I never aim for perfection just our best effort towards a waste free road trop or picnic.
As much I like to be organized and know about our plans well in advance, picnics are one of those things that happens spontaneously in this house. Well, living in Vancouver you need to take advantage of a surprise sunny day and if a friend is going on a picnic you want to tag along too.
To be able to go on a picnic anytime and be waste free I have a few things prepared in advance, ready to go on a short notice.
Here is the list of things for waste free picnics
- Old mugs
- Old reusable water bottle and to-go mugs
- Old reusable utensils
- Reusable plates, I’m using the set we had when the kids were young (Not plastic but unbreakable)
- Set of wash towels
- Loose leave tea, instant coffee, hot chocolate powder in separate reusable containers
- A set of reusable tea bags
- A few reusable snack and sandwich bags
- A set of old salt and pepper shakers
- Old tea towels
- Brown paper bag (to store food waste to compost either at the site or bring home)
Using my kids’ old lunch bags I have stored the above list in collections.
Mugs, plates, towels, and utensils in one bag. All edible items plus the tea towel, tea bags and the brown paper bags goes in another lunch bags. I always have snack and sandwich bags handy, I will add those to one of the bags as we heading out.
When you have these items ready to go, you won’t scramble around and end up buying disposable plates and cups. This means that beforehand we made a conscious choice to reuse some of our old kitchen wears that we needed to replace. That includes different sizes of plates and bowls, cups and mugs, utensils, tea towels and wash towels. When it was time to replace any of those items I simply stored them in the old lunch bags that I needed to replace and started using those on our camping, and road trips and now on our picnics.
When I have taken care of the things that can easily be replaced by disposable kind, having a waste free picnic will be way easier. I just make sure I have a thermos of hot and cold water with me, that will help us avoid water bottles and to-go drinks.
Of course, we take homemade sandwiches in gogoBags sandwich bags and fruits and salads in reusable containers. For more waste free ideas check out Plasticfreejuly they have a ton of waste free tips.