We may earn money from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back.
Home / Recipes / 6 Tips for a No-Plastic Picnic

6 Tips for a No-Plastic Picnic

May 04, 2019

We don’t need to talk about the fact that we’re almost upon the tail end of summer. Let’s just set aside that harrowing concept for a second.

But if we were talking or thinking about it, we might suggest you squeeze in one last picnic before the weather turns. And consider this: Be an environmentalist at this last outdoor fiesta. Skip plastic wrap and plastic forks in favor of the real, reusable deal. Embrace the cheese board shown above, and bring good knives. Here are some other ideas to get you going.

1. Melamine Dishes

There’s something about arriving at a picnic at which the featured dishes are not flimsy paper or plastic party plates, but gorgeous, real plates. Melamine is light, shatterproof and made to look like antique earthenware. Serve up the potato salad, corn and pulled pork on these beauties, and take pleasure in knowing that you can pop them right in the dishwasher when you get home.

2. Stemless Wine Glasses

By the same token, there’s nothing like a gorgeous stemless wine glass. These are far-and-away superior to the plastic cups you can get at the discount store, and they, too, are dishwasher-safe. Inspired by Mexico’s renowned art glass, Sonora outdoor cups are shatterproof and BPA-free. Don’t drink wine? No problem; these little numbers look incredible alongside a golden pitcher of lemonade.

3. Picnic Basket

Like the idea of everything at the picnic matching just so? We do, too. Consider this English hamper-inspired picnic basket set. Including a fluffy fleece blanket, porcelain plates with navy-and-khaki borders, handblown wine glasses, a cutting board, knife, napkins, and a whole lot more, it’s as impressive at a tailgating party as it is at your local park. Even salt-and-pepper shakers are included, so you could bring a bunch of fresh tomatoes, slice them, and eat them on the spot. (French charcuterie looks particularly good with this spread.)

4. One Big Sandwich

What is it about sandwiches that they taste so much better outside? Whether you’re able to wrap mini sandwiches in wax paper, such as these knockout chicken-pesto numbers, or build one big sandwich on a baguette, you’re doing it right. Our favorite? Split a big baguette lengthwise down the middle. Shellac with butter. Add thin-sliced pieces of high-quality ham or prosciutto and a smear of mustard. Add lettuce and tomatoes if you have ’em. Press the whole thing together and cut pull-apart marks using a knife. Boom: A shareable sandwich that will be the heart of the party.

5. Cloth Napkins

Whether they’re vintage or new, bright or subtly shaded, cloth napkins make as much of a sophisticated impression at an outdoor fte as they do indoors. We particularly love these delicately shaded Italian linen specimens, which add an Instagram-worthy aspect to any gathering.

6. The Right Cooler

If you tend to show up to the picnic with half a dozen plastic bags or three plastic water bottles you try futilely to keep in the shade, consider being, well, cooler. Why not bring food, aluminum cans and glass bottles and stack them neatly in a cooler (which feels a lot more sociable, to boot)? According to the pros, it’s important to eliminate open space when packing. Don’t forget to condition the cooler itself in a freezer or fridge before you set out. Finally, remember that a good cooler can also “hot-hold” your barbecued brisket or whatever else you just slaved over to bring to the picnic. It’s a way to use one less dodgy plastic bag. And who among us doesn’t want to brag, “Oh, my cooler is full of BBQ, not beers, sorry”?)