As a nation we love a picnic and what better excuse to get the picnic basket out than National Picnic Week (19th - 27th June)? People are already researching picnic spots, with an 80% increase in searches for the ‘best picnic spots near me’. From Tatton Park and Little Venice in London to Hyde Park in Leeds and Edinburgh’s Botanical Gardens there are plenty of scenic spots to choose from.
With picnic season in full swing, it’s feared that the UK could experience a littering epidemic this summer with mounds of litter and picnic waste already piling up in our beautiful picnic spots.
Here at Ideal Heating, we are focusing on developing heating solutions that have as little impact on the environment as possible. Protecting our planet has never been more important, which is why we’ve put together some tips on how to have a sustainable, low-waste picnic in your favourite summer locations.
5 Tips for a Sustainable, Low-Waste Picnic This Summer
1. Lose The Extra Packaging
Did you know that many of your favourite picnic nibbles can be purchased loose? Ditch the pre-packed meats, bread, and cheeses, and shop local instead, where you can pop your produce straight into your reusable bag.
2. Make Tasty Nibbles From Scratch
Rustle up the perfect homemade nibbles to graze on in your favourite beauty spots this summer. Why not get creative and make your own tasty dips and place them in some reusable containers? You could even see what leftovers you have in the house and rustle up an exciting new dish.
3. Ditch the Plastic Cups, Straws, or Plates
If you are planning to crack open the fizz and nibble on some treats in the sun, then don’t reach for the plastic. Grab some reusable enamel cups, plates, and cutlery - a light, unbreakable alternative to plastic. Also, ditch the plastic straws for some eco-friendly bamboo or metal straws, ideal for cutting down your picnic plastic waste.
4. Flasks Aren’t Just for Tea
Flasks are a super versatile picnic essential to transport anything including tea, coffee, soup or even ice cream. Flasks are an eco-friendly way to pack your picnic treats without all the unnecessary plastic. It even means you can take your leftovers home in the same container and save them for another day, reducing your food waste.
5. Transform Leftovers into Meals
Make sure to bring some spare containers with you so you can package your leftovers up and bring them home to enjoy later. This will help to make sure you aren’t leaving any waste or litter in your favourite picnic spot.
14 Ways To Reduce Your Household Food Waste
Food waste fell significantly in 2020, dropping 22% compared to 2019. Lockdown impacted how we shopped for food with 40% of us admitting to cooking more creatively and 30% using up more leftovers.
You can continue to reduce your household food waste by pre-planning your shopping trips, cooking up your leftovers, and following the 14 top tips below.
1. Love Your Shopping List
A study of over 4,000 UK adults found that in the recent pandemic 41% are already pre-shop meal planning. Creating a list is a simple, easy solution to help you stop buying more food than intended.
2. The 3 Bs
Bake, blend, and boil are the three Bs to help reduce your food waste at home. You can make smoothies, stocks, and soups with all your leftover fruits and vegetables.
3. Reminder - Put the Peeler Down!
Many people tend to remove all the peel of fruits and vegetables. This is an unnecessary waste and you are losing out on lots of additional nutrients within the skins.
4. Understanding Expiration Dates
Do you understand the difference between ‘best before’, ‘expires on’, and ‘use-by’? All these different labels on food packaging can be confusing. Understanding what they mean can help stop you from throwing out food that is still good enough to eat.
If a label says ‘sell-by’ this is the date the product must be sold by. The ‘best before’ labels are a suggested date for the consumer to have used the products by and the ‘use-by’ date gives you a clear indication of when your food may not be at its best quality.
5. Compost if You Can
Live a greener lifestyle and start composting! Turning food scraps into energy for plants will have a major impact on the planet and can help to reduce your carbon footprint too.
6. Don’t Be a Perfectionist
If an apple or potato is a little bruised, then use that up first as the ‘perfect’ ones will last longer before getting spoiled. Eat up your groceries and don’t contribute to excess food waste!
7. Feed Friends, Then Animals
Swap your leftovers with family and friends so you can try new exciting dishes and not worry about any waste. If you have animals you can also treat them to some leftovers - just be mindful of any allergies, intolerances, and dietary considerations.
8. Eat Wonky
Many supermarkets have added the option to purchase wonky vegetables that would have once been sent to the landfill just because of their appearance. Pop some ugly veg in your basket and reduce food waste.
9. The First In, First Out Rule
When you’re unpacking your grocery shop make sure to rotate your produce. Whatever you purchase first should be eaten first to ensure nothing goes out of date before you go to eat it.
10. Donate to Your Local Food Banks
Head to your nearest food banks, organisations, or supermarket collection points and donate any surplus food. Not only does this reduce your household food waste, but it is also a huge help to your community.
11. Pre-Pack Your Lunch
Pack your lunch before you head out, helping you to reduce your environmental impact. Rustle up a healthy lunch with the leftovers in your fridge, saving you time and money each morning.
12. Store Fresh Food Correctly
Two-thirds of UK household food waste is due to food spoilage as many people aren’t sure how to store fresh ingredients. Read up and understand how you should be storing your groceries so they stay fresher for longer.
13. Get Creative in the Kitchen
During the recent pandemic, 40% of people have been cooking more creatively, so if you have some food leftover, why not see what you can rustle up before heading out to the shops to buy more groceries? This will give you a chance to try exciting new dishes whilst reducing your food waste.
14. Finally... Shout About It!
There is so much to shout about to family and friends when it comes to tackling food waste. According to Love Food Hate Waste, UK households reduced their food waste by one-third during the COVID-19 pandemic, so let’s talk about the changes we can continue to make this National Picnic Week.
For more tips on positively impacting the environment, visit the Ideal Heating blog.