By: Sandra Ann Harris Founder, ECOlunchbox July 2014
As summertime begins and families head to the beach, the park, the mountains and other favorite spots in the great outdoors, it’s a good time to remember there are easy ways to celebrate our love of Mother Nature by throwing a green party.
Step 1: Location, Location, Location
Pick a picnic spot you can walk, bike or boat to or arrive by public transit. If that's not possible, carpool with friends.
Step 2: Choose an Eco-friendly Invitations
Whether throwing a baby shower, a beach party, birthday picnic or backyard BBQ, you’ve got to let your guests know about the green fun you're planning in eco-friendly style! If it's a neighborhood party, print invites on recycled paper and personally hand them to guests. Or use electronic invitations, which are convenient and don't waste paper.
Step 3: Green Menu Planning
Great produce makes the chef's job super easy. Think simple. Finger foods like cut fruit, nuts, local honey and peanut butter sandwiches are simple and nourishing for all ages. Also, some cheeses, like brie and camembert, are lovely softened in the sun over fresh-baked bread.
Farmer's markets have the freshest and tastiest fruits and vegetables available from the area. Organic products are hormone and pesticide-free, making them safe to eat.
Make your own beverage and serve it in a plastic-free pitcher. That way you don't have to deal with all the cans and bottles.
Step 4: Waste-Free Dinnerware
Say goodbye to throw-aways and plastics. Ask picnickers to BYO dishes, water bottles, utensils, etc. This can be done tastefully if you explain you're hosting a zero-waste party and need some help to accomplish this.
If that’s not your style, pack a sturdy cardboard box with reusable items to share with your invitees, such as non breakable stainless steel picnic plates, reusable bamboo utensils, reusable straws, washable cotton napkins and sturdy mason jars for use as cups.
Sure you may have to do some washing, but much of this stuff will naturally decompose. Plus, you're saving money by going waste free.
Step 5: Showcase Mother Nature
Nature’s beauty is inspiring when it comes to setting the table in eco-style. Leaves, flowers, pinecones, twigs, seashells and other natural treasures can be showcased on your eco-friendly BBQ or green a beach party blanket.
Step 6: Clean up!Clearly mark bins for recycling, compost and waste for your guests. Since most public parks don't separate waste and your efforts will end up in the trash, toss your separated bags into the trunk to put out with your trash pickup at home.