When the sun's out and the temperature is warmer, there's nothing better than gathering with friends, family, or colleagues for a picnic.  

It's time to trade your spot on the sofa for a picnic

Summer's here (finally) which means it's time to head outdoors, soak up some Vitamin D, eat, drink, and indulge in the company of your loved ones. When organising an outdoor get-together this year, why not opt for a picnic without plastic? 

The impact of plastic pollution

In Scotland alone, it is estimated that 300 million plastic straws, 276 million pieces of plastic cutlery, 50 million plastic plates, and 66 million polystyrene food containers are used every year. Add the billions of plastic packaging our pre-made sandwiches, snacks and treats come wrapped in, and we’ve got ourselves a plastic waste tsunami.

Getting outdoors and connecting with nature is incredibly beneficial for us but it doesn't have to come at the cost of polluting our green spaces, and consequently our Ocean, with plastic and other litter. 

Only around 10% of plastic waste get recycled, with the rest ending up in the natural environment like landfill or our Ocean. Did you know Ocean Conservancy lists cutlery among the ‘most deadly’ items to sea turtles, birds, and mammals? 

Does your picnic without plastic make an impact?

We don't need a handful of perfect environmentalists. We need millions of people to be imperfect environmentalists to propel the change our Ocean needs.

We believe everyone can start making a difference right here, right now. Thinking about how we prevent using plastic in the first place is the first, most crucial, step to stopping plastic from entering our Ocean. 

"I honestly believe that most people care about the planet but often feel overwhelmed by the onslaught of negative predictions about its future, so they feel helpless.

Taking part in the Picnics Unwrapped challenge is one way that everyone can address their plastic footprint and hopefully continue to replace single-use items and kick that habit for good," says Jo Ruxton, founder of Ocean Generation 

We're launching our Picnics Unwrapped Challenge to offer guidance on how you can plan a picnic without plastic.

In collaboration with Plastic Oceans Australasia, we're providing 10 tips to host your own picnic without plastic and reduce the impact of plastic pollution on our Ocean.

Picnics Unwrapped was created to encourage people everywhere to reduce the impact of their plastic and food waste. Ocean Generation's 'Picnics Without Plastic' and Plastic Oceans Austalasia's 'Picnics Unwrapped' have come together to engage picnickers in a fun and engaging way that benefits our Ocean. 

Our picnic without plastic campaign was taken up by teams at companies like Acre, Audley Travel, and Gill Marine last year.

“The team at Acre have been supporting the vital work Ocean Generation is doing for the last few years. Our team is taking on the Picnic Without Plastic challenge and found the simple but effective tips easy to follow. What would our environment look like if we all did our bit?” says Richard Wright, Chief Executive at Acre. 

How to have a picnic without plastic: 

Here are a few simple switches you can make to be Plastic Intelligent when planning your picnic.  

1. Make your own Meal: Avoid plastic-wrapped foods, show off your baking and cooking skills and make your own meal! Check out the Zero-Waste Chef for some recipe ideas, like homemade hummus, sourdough breads, and naturally carbonated lemonade.

2. Get loose: Choose loose fruit and veg wherever possible, and get your meat and cheese from a fresh counter to avoid plastic packaging or wrappers. Did you know the average lifespan of a plastic bag is 12 minutes; is only used once; and will never fully degrade? 

3. Reusable containers: Forget about using cling film and plastic plates. Bring your delicious creations in reusable containers​or use beeswax wraps. 

4. Dine in style: Forget flimsy plastic plates and cups. Grab a couple of reusable plates and glasses from home to add a touch of style to your gathering. Or reach for your durable mason jars for your wine or coffee, and don’t forget the lid and avoid any spillage. Sip on your Pims in peace.

5. Buy in bulk: Whether you’re bringing water, beer, juice or wine think about buying in bulk to cover all your plastic free picnickers. This saves on packaging and makes it easier to clean up after.   

6. Cut the Plastic Cutlery: Why not pop your metal cutlery in your bag and avoid the flimsy plastic cutlery? If you’re feeling fancy, you could even invest in a bamboo picnic set or custom order yours from  Ebb and Flow Eco! 

7. Wipe away the waste: Ditch those wet wipes that turn into microplastics that have been found littering the Thames. Why not wet a few washcloths, roll them up in your cooler with the ice and rest of your drinks, and clean up on the go with a reusable damp cloth. 

8. Light it up, again: Swap your plastic lighters for a box of matches to set your BBQs or candles alight. In our documentary 'A Plastic Ocean' we found 4 plastic lighters in one young seabird alone. 

9. Keep on carrying on: Carry your feast in a tote, backpack, or a cute picnic basketIf picnicking seems like a reoccurring activity on your calendar, why not create a designated picnic bag or basket and keep a list of all your picnic without plastic needs in there? That way you can ‘grab and go’ to ensure you remember to continue your Picnic Without Plastic again and again!   

10. Make it beautiful: You’d dress up and decorate for a dinner party or festival, so why not make an extra effort to deck out your picnic with an added touch? Hang up your material bunting, string your fairy lights or roll out your favourite blanket.  

BONUS TIP: Take your trash: There’s nobody waiting to clean up after you. Those overflowing bins? They don’t cater for recycling. If it fits in your bag on the way here, why not take everything back home with you? 


No matter whether you manage to go 100% zero plastic, or reduce your plastic use significantly, take a moment to celebrate your efforts.

  • Snap a pic of your sustainable, picnic without plastic and share it on social with the hashtag, #PicnicsUnwrapped.
    • Tag your friends who came along and don’t forget to tag us - @OceanGeneration - and our friends at @PlasticOceansAustalasiaWe always want to see your picnic spreads and reshare your picnic unwrapped moments!

Join the Ocean Generation

The Ocean Generation is coming together to restore a healthy relationship between humanity and the Ocean. Because as the first generation to understand ocean issues, we are also the last generation who can stop them. We are all the Ocean Generation. Join the movement. 

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