Biodegradable plates, reusable containers and more environmentally-friendly options for dining alfresco.
How you pack and serve your picnic can have a big impact on the environment if you consider the entire life cycle of the
products you’re using. We asked sustainability expert Pablo Päster for his advice on the best ways to enjoy an eco-friendly
Use Your Hands. By serving finger foods, you can avoid the need for plates or cutlery. Just
remember to pack a few cloth napkins for clean up!
Reuse Your Reusables. Reusable cups, plates and picnic baskets are only eco-friendly if you
actually use them. Since they take a lot more energy to make than disposables, a durable item that collects dust is actually
less environmentally friendly than a disposable one. For instance, a stainless-steel travel mug has roughly the same impact
as 24 paper or 46 Styrofoam cups.
Go Biodegradable. If using your own durable goods isn’t an option, consider using
biodegradable materials like paper plates and cups (preferably recycled) instead!
Ditch “Compostable” Plastics. There are conflicting claims about the true compostability of
so-called “compostable” plastics. In addition, many recycling centers can’t process them. The result? These “green” plastics
often wind up in a landfill. It’s often better simply to use traditional plastics and recycle them instead.
Beware of Bamboo. Bamboo is heavy, and since it’s usually shipped from abroad, its carbon
footprint can be pretty big—even compared with plastics shipped the same distance.