3 Eco-Friendly Picnic Essentials


You’ve wrapped your artisan bleu in unbleached cheesecloth and you’ve got your local organic grapes, almonds and figs stowed snugly in eco-friendly paper (more on that in a minute). The biodynamic California pinot is packed and your favorite handmade blanket is rolled at the ready.

Planning picnics in the park? Don’t miss these essentials:


Eco-friendly Disposable Utensils

When the local burrito shack replaced flimsy plastic to-go utensils with vegetable-based alternatives, I was impressed. Why did we ever think it was a good idea to ruin the fun of a meal on the go or an outdoor picnic with toxic plastic waste? (To be honest, I have just never “gotten” the use of disposable plates and forks when they aren’t completely necessary. Dishes, I can handle. Laundry is another subject.)

But if tossing is a must, choose a biodegradable version like these innovative recyclable plates, cups and utensils by Bagasse. They’re made from a byproduct of sugar cane, making them eco-friendly and compostable. They’re substantial enough to handle your favorite olive oil and they stand up to heating and freezing, too. ($5.50-9 for sets of 50.)


A Fair Trade Basket

This two-layer smoked rattan lidded basket by Ten Thousand Villages is similar in style to traditional open-weave bamboo dim sum baskets but will work perfectly for picnic outings. And when you’re not using it for toting finger foods you can fill it with sewing supplies or stockings. Fair trade, $48.

About That Wrapping

Plastic baggies and disposable plastic containers are among the worst things for the environment (you don’t need Al Gore to know that our efforts should be focused on reducing petroleum consumption). Many people have turned to wax paper, thinking this biodegradable food covering is an eco-friendly, healthy alternative. Not so. Wax paper, though unbleached, is usually coated in paraffin wax, which in addition to being terrible for you is also derived from…petroleum.

There’s a Canadian company that makes a soy-coated paper, but good luck buying it (evidently it’s a touch smelly, too). The best choice is the most old-fashioned of all – simply wrap your goodies in pretty, organic cotton cloth napkins. If you’re not interested in carrying around the cloth, then you’ll want these biodegradable napkins.

Image: top code poet