Hands up who is loving all this sunshine?! We know we certainly are, and one of our favourite ways to enjoy the beautiful summer weather is to put together a picnic! With current social distancing guidelines, a summer picnic is also a great way to meet with friends whilst staying safe. However, picnics although lots of fun, can sometimes cause a lot of unnecessary waste as we often buy pre-packaged foods, disposable cups, plates and cutlery which are often made of single use plastics. But an ethical, sustainable picnic may be much more easily achieved than you think! With a little bit of preparation, there is no need for excessive waste or nasty disposable plastics, and you can have a beautiful, guilt-free picnic instead.
The first thing we think of when we think of picnics is ... the blanket! Not only does your picnic blanket keep you comfy when sitting on the ground, it also provides the perfect backdrop for all those food pics you'll be posting to Instagram later. Our Tanzanian textiles make great picnic blankets, whether you opt for the smaller Lime Green Grid Tablecloth or the larger Hand Woven Throw in Cobalt Blue, both are made from luxuriously comfortable 100% Tanzanian cotton, dyed by hand and woven on traditional wooden looms by a women's cooperative in rural Tanzania. And for an extra touch of comfort, we recommend bringing along some pillows to your picnic. Our Indian Indigo Monkey Puzzle Cushion Covers in the large 65cm x 65cm size are ideal for picnics as they are a great size to be used as floor cushions and are made from 100% cotton, making them gentle on the skin but hard-wearing enough to be used outdoors. They are even machine washable on your coolest cycle. And once you've finished grazing, you can kick back and relax in ultimate comfort (and style!).
In place of disposable or single-use cutlery, we recommend either just bringing some normal table cutlery along from home or finding some good, reusable cutlery sets. Our Hand Carved Olive Wood Picnic Set comes with everything you will need to enjoy your picnic, without the need for single-use plastics. Made in Nairobi, our picnic sets are hand carved by our friend Zephania and his small team from sustainably sourced wild olive wood, alongside pretty bone accents that are a bi-product of the farming industry. These reusable picnic sets are a great investment as they are small and lightweight enough to carry around in a handbag or pocket, meaning they are ideal for those of us trying to live a lower-waste lifestyle. Instead of paper or plastic plates that will get thrown away, we suggest reusable bamboo plates instead. We love the Lekoch Harmony Series Bamboo Dinnerware Set for its modern, colourful design as well as the fact the plates, bowls and cups are dishwasher safe and fully recyclable once they have reached the end of their life cycle.
When it comes to packing your food to go, there are plenty of options available! We recommend trying to avoid plastic packaging and Tupperware as much as possible, and instead use more environmentally friendly alternatives. For home-prepared foods, we love to use metal or glass food containers. Elephant Box have a great range of metal food containers, we particularly like the size of the Original Elephant Box and the Leakproof Tiffin, both of which are made from stainless steel and are safe to put in the fridge, freezer and oven (up to 240 degrees celcius) meaning you can get all your picnic food prep out of the way and have your food ready to go. All of Elephant Boxes products are ethically made in a small-scale factory in India and are members of 1% for the Planet, meaning each purchase gives something back to environmental organisations. We also love using beeswax and soy wax wraps in place of cling film or tin foil for packing food. BeeBee & Leaf have a huge range of colourful, British-made beeswax and vegan wax reusable wraps to keep your food fresh. We think the Mixed Size Pack is perfect for picnics, and we particularly love the 'Botanic' design, which also happens to be vegan-friendly.
One of our most important picnic essentials is, of course, the basket! Our Ghanaian Bolga Baskets are perfect for carrying all that delicious food, and the thick straw that they are hand woven from means that they are incredibly hard-wearing and the leather handle makes them comfortable to carry. Our top pick is this beautiful Large Zig Zag Mono basket, with plenty of space for carrying all your summer picnic essentials. Speaking of essentials, with British summer weather hitting the heights that it has been, we think a fan is pretty essential! Our Ghanaian Fan Collection is ideal for those scorching summer days, and will look equally as lovely hung up on your walls during the cooler months. We recommend the Wax Cotton and Leather Fan in Orange & Teal Feathers as it folds up nice and compact to fit in almost any bag. And often forgotten, but nearly always needed when picnic-ing ... hand sanitiser! We absolutely love the Hand "Gin"itiser by 58 Gin as it smells divine and leaves absolutely no unpleasant sticky residue on your hands. It also comes in a hand spray bottle, making it ideal for use on-the-go. If you are in need of some delicious picnic food inspiration, we love these 3 delicious, fresh, summery dishes from Lauren Caris Cook's blog. The artichoke pesto pasta salad is so quick to whip up and tastes absolutely incredible, you won't want to miss out on this one.
We hope you enjoyed reading all about our ethical summer picnic essentials! We think we'll be packing ourselves a fabulous beach-side picnic very soon. What's your favourite food to take to a picnic? Let us know, we would love to try out some new recipes. We hope you are all enjoying the sun and remember to stay safe.