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How To Have A Zero Waste Picnic On National Picnic Day

Yesterday on Earth Day, some of our team put together a Zero Waste Picnic for us to share with you on National Picnic Day! Here’s how to go on a delightful picnic with friends, sans waste:

1) Borrow A Picnic Basket

We are all well aware at this point of the negative impacts that the mass over consumption of stuff is having on the planet – stuff that mostly sits in storage, closets and basements not even being used most of the time. A Picnic Basket is one of those items that you really just don’t need to own. So if you are trying to make your picnic truly zero waste, borrow a Picnic Basket from you local Library of Things. If you don’t have a Library of Things yet near you, download the app Peerby to see if your neighbour has one up for lending!

Our picnic basket comes with two blankets (one soft and one to put under to avoid getting wet), two wine glasses and a set of reusable cups.

2) Gather Your Zero Waste Ingredients

Here’s where it gets a little tricky – depending on your diet and food preferences, you will likely have to hit up several places to get all the ingredients you need to make your meal zero waste. There are rumours that Toronto will be getting a Zero Waste Grocery Store this fall (one stop zero waste shopping, can you imagine!?), but for now – we run all over the city. So it takes some planning. For this trip we found:

  • Bread at Cobs on the Danforth and put it directly into a cloth bread bag
  • Eggs from a farmer just outside the city (but you can get loose eggs and put them in your own container from Karma Food Coop)
  • Fruit and veggies from a fruit/veggie stand on the Danforth, placed into cloth bags
  • Nuts that we created a trail mix with from Bulk Barn, which now allows you to bring your own reusable containers
  • Chick Peas, purchased from Bulk Barn in our own reusable container
  • Homemade mayonnaise using ingredients purchased from Karma Coop in bulk, in our own containers

Check out this Zero Waste Guide for more ideas on where to find zero waste products in Toronto.

3) Reusable Containers

Now that you’ve got your exercise for the week running all over the city collecting the ingredients and you’ve successfully created your picnic meal, put all that good stuff into reusable containers and place the reusable containers in the picnic basket.

4) Make Sure You Have Everything You Need

A good way to make sure you don’t end up needing disposable napkins or cutlery while you’re out is to prepare in advance – make sure you have everything you’re going to need. We brought reusable napkins, some stainless steel straws, chop sticks and our own cutlery.

5) Head To A Park

Find a park that is accessible via public transit, walking or riding your bicycle so that you don’t need to take a car. If you are riding a bicycle, make sure you can secure the picnic basket comfortably on your bike.

6) Enjoy Your Picnic!

Chill out in the park on a sunny afternoon, snacking and enjoying the company of good friends (and don’t worry about feeling a little smug about the fact that you are not generating any waste – you worked hard for this).

The Picnic Basket doubles as a little table!

7) Return The Picnic Basket

Here’s the best part – you get to return the Picnic Basket! No need to keep this thing that you only use occasionally in your own space when you can put it back in a community hub so that others can use it while you are not.

Become a member of The Sharing Depot today and start borrowing!


This is a guest blog by @itsahashtaglife, who has been perfecting the art of online storytelling as a method to amplify the important messages of non-profits and charities in Toronto for the last three years. She takes the tools and techniques of traditional digital media marketing and applies them to organizations working hard to shift our world into a new story – one that is more sustainable and supportive of people and the planet.

The Sharing Depot Blog

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