When the sun's out and the temperature is warmer, there's nothing better than gathering with friends, family, or colleagues for a picnic.
It might be cold now on this side of the globe, but it's time to start planning to host a picnic without plastic this September with Picnics Unwrapped to reduce the impact of plastics in our ocean.
The impact of plastic pollution
On average, Australians use 130kg of plastic per person each year.
Getting outdoors and connecting with nature is incredibly beneficial for us but it doesn't have to come at the cost of polluting our green spaces, and consequently our Ocean, with plastic and other rubbish.
Only around 13% of plastic waste gets recycled, with 84% of plastic used being sent to landfill, frighteningly approximately 130,000 tonnes of plastic leaks into marine environment each year. Did you know Ocean Conservancy lists cutlery among the ‘most deadly’ items to sea turtles, birds, and mammals?
Does your picnic without plastic make an impact?
We don't need a handful of perfect environmentalists. We need millions of people to be imperfect environmentalists to propel the change our Ocean needs.
We believe everyone can start making a difference right here, right now. Thinking about how we prevent using plastic in the first place is the first, most crucial, step to stopping plastic from entering our Ocean.
"Choosing to picnic without plastic is a double whammy for success; even if it’s the least convenient choice. Over time, these decisions will become a habit. You’ll learn to become more prepared and planned, and therefor consume a lot less and save some money while stopping unwanted plastic entering our waterways." says Ricki Hersburgh, Plastic Oceans Australasia.
We're launching our second year of Picnics Unwrapped to offer guidance on how you can plan a picnic without plastic.
This year in collaboration with Ocean Generation our affiliate in the United Kingdom.
Picnics Unwrapped was created to encourage people everywhere to reduce the impact of their plastic and food waste. Our 'Picnics Unwrapped' with Ocean Generation's 'Picnics Without Plastic' have come together to engage picnickers in a fun and engaging way that benefits our Ocean.
No matter whether you manage to go 100% zero plastic, or reduce your plastic use significantly, take a moment to celebrate your efforts.
Snap a pic of your sustainable, picnic without plastic and share it on social with the hashtag, #PicnicsUnwrapped.
Tag your friends who came along and don’t forget to tag us - @PlasticOceansAustralasia and our friends @OceanGeneration. We always want to see your picnic spreads and reshare your picnic unwrapped moments!
How to have a picnic without plastic:
Here are a few simple switches you can make to be Plastic Intelligent when planning your picnic.
1. Make your own Meal: Avoid plastic-wrapped foods, show off your baking and cooking skills and make your own meal! Check out the Zero-Waste Chef for some recipe ideas, like homemade hummus, sourdough breads, and naturally carbonated lemonade.
2. Get loose: Choose loose fruit and veg wherever possible, and get your meat and cheese from a fresh counter to avoid plastic packaging or wrappers. Did you know the average lifespan of a plastic bag is 12 minutes; is only used once; and will never fully degrade?
3. Reusable containers: Forget about using cling film and plastic plates. Bring your delicious creations in reusable containers or use beeswax wraps.
4. Dine in style: Forget flimsy plastic plates and cups. Grab a couple of reusable plates and glasses from home to add a touch of style to your gathering. Or reach for your durable mason jars for your wine or coffee, and don’t forget the lid and avoid any spillage.
5. Buy in bulk: Whether you’re bringing water, beer, juice or wine think about buying in bulk to cover all your plastic free picnickers. This saves on packaging and makes it easier to clean up after.
6. Cut the Plastic Cutlery: Why not pop your metal cutlery in your bag and avoid the flimsy plastic cutlery? If you’re feeling fancy, you could even invest in a bamboo picnic set .
7. Wipe away the waste: Ditch those wet wipes that turn into microplastics that have been found in our drinking water. Why not wet a few washcloths, roll them up in your cooler with the ice and rest of your drinks, and clean up on the go with a reusable damp cloth.
8. Light it up, again: Swap your plastic lighters for a box of matches to set your BBQs or candles alight. In our documentary 'A Plastic Ocean' we found 4 plastic lighters in one young seabird alone.
9. Keep on carrying on: Carry your feast in a tote, backpack, or a cute picnic basket. If picnicking seems like a reoccurring activity on your calendar, why not create a designated picnic bag or basket and keep a list of all your plastic free picnic needs in there? That way you can ‘grab and go’ to ensure you remember to continue your Picnic Without Plastic again and again!
10. Make it beautiful: You’d dress up and decorate for a dinner party or festival, so why not make an extra effort to deck out your picnic with an added touch? Hang up your material bunting, string your fairy lights or roll out your favourite blanket.
BONUS TIP: Take your rubbish: There’s nobody waiting to clean up after you. Those overflowing bins? They don’t cater for recycling. If it fits in your bag on the way here, why not take everything back home with you?
Sally Williams, 'Sustainable Sally' speaks to Ricki Hersburgh, POA Executive Director about Picnics Unwrapped and why you should register to join the campaign!