A selection of picnic food

How to pack a sustainable picnic

28 Mar 24

Scottish summers can be a bit hit or miss. One minute its ‘taps aff’ and the next minute you’re running to take cover from a torrential downpour.

We're eagerly watching the weather forecast to find out if it’s wellies and waterproofs or picnic chairs and plaid blankets. 

From shop-bought sandwiches to disposable cups, plates and cutlery. Picnics can generate a lot of waste with most of it ending up in landfill after just one use or worse still, littered across our parks and countryside spoiling others’ enjoyment of the great outdoors - and causing harm to our environment and wildlife. 

Read on to find easy ideas on how to pack a more sustainable picnic…

Scotland is stunning. Let’s keep it that way. Remember to pack up everything you took with you and take it home for next time.

People enjoying picnics in Glasgow

Everything but the kitchen sink

You’ll most likely find that you have everything you need for a waste-free picnic hiding in your kitchen. Think plates, cutlery, cups, Tupperware, reusable water bottles or flasks for hot drinks. Tea towels can be used to wrap up food and as an added bonus can double up as napkins.

Hold on to your jam jars as these are great for dips! Love Food Hate Waste Scotland have a great recipe for homemade hummus that can be whipped up in no time.

You don’t need a fancy wicker picnic hamper either, a reusable shopping bag will do. Just make sure it’s wipeable or washable though - you can’t take the kitchen sink so those dirty plates have to go somewhere.

Buy loose

Carrot sticks go great with your homemade hummus, just be sure to buy them loose, or take your own vegetable bag, to avoid the packaging. Same goes for celery, peppers, apples...if you’re into a healthier picnic.

For traditional picnic favourites like sliced cold meats, cheese or pork pies, try your local butcher or deli.

Make your own

The best thing about making your own sandwiches? Picking the fillings! If you want tuna, cheese and pickle, or some other equally random combination, you’re not going to find it in the supermarket ‘to go’ fridge. So let your imagination go wild. 

Feeding a group? Try making a pot of tomato pasta or potato salad. Need snacks? Forget packets of crisps and try your hand at vegetable crisps for extra picnic points. 

Making your own saves money, keeps waste low and is definitely tastier.

Making your own picnic food saves money, keeps waste low and is definitely tastier.

Waste not want not

It’s often tempting to want to take everything with you when dining alfresco just to be on the safe side. Think about portion control and how much you’ll really want to eat when you get there. 

Overpacked? Panic not! Take a couple of extra containers to pack away any leftovers that can be taken home and eaten later or turned into another meal. 

Scotland is stunning. Let's keep it that way.

Remember to pack up everything you took with you and take it home for next time. Find out more here and follow the campaign on social media using #BinYourLitter.