Zero Waste Picnics

Zero Waste Picnics

by The Green Roots Project

Summer is here and outdoor eating is set to be a top activity. No doubt, there’s something wonderful about the combination of food, family & friends, fresh air, and fun. What better way to enjoy Dublin in the sun, than to pick a park and pack a picnic.

To help keep our green spaces clean, here’s our top tips for packing a zero waste picnic.

Before we get started, what exactly is ‘Zero Waste’? Simply put, it is the practice of reducing our waste so much that we send nothing to landfill. Bea Johnson’s 5 R’s help to explain how we can do that. REFUSE what you don’t need. REDUCE what you do need. REUSE everything you have. RECYCLE everything you can. ROT natural materials and food waste in a composter or brown bin. The Zero Waste lifestyle is about ‘Being’ rather than ‘Having’.

Planning your picnic


Photo by Ronan Shaw

1. Use what you have

There’s no need to rush out and buy a traditional picnic basket and fancy blanket. Our top tip is to use what you already have. An old bed sheet or duvet cover and a reusable bag or backpack will do the job nicely.

2. Swap single use items for reusables

Bring plates, cutlery & cloth napkins from your kitchen at home. Chances are you have flasks, lunch boxes, jam jars and everything else you need to pack your snacks in your cupboards already. Lunchbox lids can double up as plates, if you want to pack lightly.


Photo by Ronan Shaw

3. Leftovers & Finger Food

When deciding what to eat, first check your fridge for leftovers. If you want to cut out the need for cutlery, stick to sandwiches and finger foods like chopped fruit, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and homemade hummus & carrot sticks. Mixed nuts, popcorn & pretzels can be bought in bulk and served from small tubs, and are easily brought home if there are any leftovers.

Dublin has a great selection of stores where you can buy in bulk. Remember to bring your own containers!

4. Drinks

Avoid drinks in plastic bottles. Instead bring your own water bottle. You can flavor your water with fruit, berries, mint leaves or lemon. You can use the Refill Tap Map to find refill stations across the country.

5. Entertainment

Pack something for after lunch entertainment, perhaps a deck of cards, frisbee, kite, book or football.

6. The Pick-Up

Remember to repack after your picnic, double check the area for anything you may have left behind. Bring leftovers home for reuse or composting. Leave no trace.

The Green Roots Project encourages green actions, large and small, at home and in the community. Document your actions and share pics of your #zerowastepicnic using the hashtags #thegreenrootsproject and #eatthestreets and we will upload them to our gallery.