When you’re pressed for time it’s really easier to run into a shop and buy a sandwich or some cup noodles to have during your lunchbreak. I have recently started eating picnics and noticed how much waste I was generating – and how much money I was wasting! I decided to try and cut down as much as possible, and I found that, although not completely waste-free, there is a huge difference in the amount of wrapping I throw away.
So, starting with what I’ve done so far…
Bought myself an insulated stainless-steel flask. I already had a stainless steel water bottle, but with the insulated one I can make myself some tea at home and it will stay warm for quite a few hours. No take-away cups (yes, I know this could be sorted with a BYO cup), plus you save time not having to queue for it, and money.
Given up cup noodles: it may be extremely convenient, but for the amount of food you get in one serving, it’s also extremely wasteful. I have yet to experiment and see whether it’s possible for glass noodles to keep long enough and be reheated.
Bought larger containers and reused one smaller bottle. It’s actually a disposable PET bottle, which is terrible. Just one step at a time though. I’ve found one big carton of 100% orange juice with bits which actually fills about 5 half-litre bottles (even more if it’s 250 ml, like I use for this purpose). My next aim is to find a small reusable bottle, possibly glass.
Made my own food for the week. Spend a couple of hours at the weekend cooking, and then freeze it all. At the moment I’m reusing plastic containers from Chinese takeaways. Not the healthiest thing ever, I’m guessing, but again, no rubbish…
And of course, a little towel such as the People Towel comes in handy as well, especially when you’re getting your hands all messy eating strawberries!
I still have a long way to go, but and here is one of the things I have to work on (apart from my alarmingly high chocolate intake): I have actually been using freezer bags, and I’m looking for an alternative to this. I’m actually considering two options – a wax-coated furoshiki style cloth such as Abeego or a PUL-lined sandwich bag like these on etsy (does anyone know how unhealthy PUL is when in contact with food?).
So what about you? How waste-free are your picnics? Do you have any little tricks I have missed out?