When the sun's out and the temperature is at that perfect sweet spot, there's nothing better than gathering with friends or family for a plastic free picnic.  

We’re celebrating the UK lockdown restrictions starting to ease, the rule of six kicking off (also known as group picnics in the park) and the sun returning to the weather report (finally). What better way to celebrate than by getting outdoors, sitting in parks and gardens, eating, drinking and indulging in our well-earned Springtime!   

It's time to trade in your PJs for a picnic

And while you’re planning a glorious gathering with family, friends or colleagues, why not make it a Picnic Without Plastic Waste

When the first Covid-19 lockdown was lifted last year, we saw a plastic pollution epidemic take over outdoor spaces.

We saw the condition our green spaces were left in after the spring weather made its debut. The news was covered in footage of our parks being destroyed with plastic and other litter.

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 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.

On the flip side, only around 10% of plastic waste get recycled, with the rest ending up in the natural environment like landfill or the Ocean. The Ocean Conservancy lists cutlery as among the ‘most deadly’ items to sea turtles, birds and mammals.

We're launching our Picnic Without Plastic Challenge to offer guidance on how you can plan a plastic free picnic

"Thinking about how we prevent using plastic in the first place is the first, most crucial, step to stopping plastic from reaching the Ocean. At Ocean Generation, we believe in everyone starting right here, right now. Through our practical tools for achieving what we call ‘Plastic Intelligence’, every person and organisation can make a difference.

Governments and businesses also have a role to play in stepping up efforts to prevent ocean pollution, by reducing plastic use and by eliminating waste.We believe we all can make a choice to be more Plastic Intelligent and ask ourselves, do I really have no reuse alternative to single-use plastic for this? Can I be more Plastic Smart?” says Dilyana Mihaylova, Head of Strategic Insights and Partnerships at Ocean Generation.

The campaign has already been taken up by teams at companies like Acre, Audley Travel, and Gill Marine.

“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. 

Get Involved: 

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

1. Make your own Meal: Got a little bake-happy during lockdown, did you? Avoid plastic wrapped foods, show off your 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, 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 plated 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 and 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 6 plastic free picnicers. Save on packaging and make 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 and roll them up in your cooler with the ice and rest of your drinks and clean up and freshen up on the go with a fresh, 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 plastic free picnic 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: Take your trash: There’s no body waiting to clean up after you. Those overflowing bins? They don’t cater for recycling. If it fit 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 manage to reduce significantly, take a moment to celebrate your efforts.

  • Snap a pic of your sustainable, plastic free picnic and share it on social with the hashtag, #PicnicWithoutPlastic.
  • Tag your friends who came along and don’t forget to tag us - @OceanGeneration – we always want to see your picnic spreads!

If you want to pass on the good vibes, send our post to 3 other friends and challenge them to plan their own #PicnicWithoutPlastic.

Embellish Your Basket

And to add a sprinkle of action in the mix - the person who shares the most exciting #PicnicWithoutPlastic snap & shares it on social will get a few treats from Sea Change Wines and Ebb and Flow Eco to embellish your basket.

Other hashtags: #PicnicWithoutPlastic #PlasticSmartPicnic #PlasticIntelligentPicnic #EcoLiving #SustainablePicnic #ZeroPlasticWaste  

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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