Planning a picnic? Forget single-use cutlery, plastic food bags and disposable plates which will end up in landfill, and opt for one of these tried and tested eco-friendly alternatives, so you can pack a picnic knowing you’re doing your bit for the planet.
Whether you’re taking homemade picnic treats to the park, the beach or on a camping trip, we’ve rounded up some of the most practical buys, including reusable cups, cutlery, plates, napkins, food boxes and bottles. We looked for products that are lightweight enough to be packed up and carried easily; sturdy and durable enough that they can be used time and time again for years to come; easy to clean; and made from compostable, recyclable or recycled materials.
From colourful cotton napkins and comfortable, recycled picnic blankets to reusable cutlery and crockery, read on to discover the best eco-friendly picnic products for summer 2021.
13 of the best eco-friendly picnic products
Recycled Welsh Weave Wool Picnic Rug
Made in the UK, these soft, traditional Welsh weave wool picnic blankets are made from recycled yarn, either obtained from old clothes, or saved from landfill and put back into production.
SIGG Traveller Bottle (0.6l)
A good reusable water bottle is a must for staying hydrated at a picnic. Our managing editor Lulu Grimes swears by this large, durable, reusable bottle, which keeps drinks cold on a hot day and lasts years (five and counting for Lulu!). Choose from a variety of different sizes and a range of trendy colours.
Eco lunch bag
This insulated, paper-bag style food bag not only looks trendy, it’s great for keeping food fresh, including tall items and sandwiches – just pop an ice block in with the food on a hot day. As well as picnics it’s perfect for taking lunch to school or the office.
Elephant Box stainless steel cups
Made from food-grade stainless steel, these are not only sturdy and long lasting, they’re also lightweight, dishwasher safe and won’t impart any flavour to drinks, making them ideal for taking on picnics, camping, on a walk or to a festival.
Eco picnic cups (set of 6)
This set of coloured tumblers is great for both kids and adults. Made from a mix of bamboo and corn fibres with melamine resin, they’re lightweight yet durable and are fully biodegradable at the end of their life.
John Lewis & Partners Levantine Square Cotton Napkins (set of 4)
These brightly coloured napkins can be machine washed and reused time and time again. Great for a picnic, they also look lovely on a summery dinner table.
Marley’s Unpaper Towels – rainbow
If you’re hosting for more of a crowd, this pack of 12 colourful cotton towels is really practical – not only are they great for wiping hands, they’re also absorbent enough to clean up any spillages (and great for cleaning kitchen surfaces with at home, too).
Coral reef plates (set of 4)
Not only are these striking coral-reef design bamboo plates lightweight, they’re also dishwasher safe and part of the profits made from their sale also goes towards helping restore coral reefs.
Shopwithgreen lightweight wheat straw plates (set of 4)
Slightly smaller than the ones above, these durable, pastel plates are incredibly lightweight and have more of a curved edge, meaning less food spillages. This makes them ideal for picnics or taking camping, especially for serving children. Made from wheat straw fibre, they’re completely compostable at the end of their life.
Berghoff Leo stainless steel cutlery set
Stainless steel cutlery might be heavier than bamboo or plastic, but it feels much nicer to eat from, it’s easy to clean, and it will last forever. We like this neat set, kept together in a silicone pouch – great for taking to picnics or for lunches in the office.
Stainless steel spork
Packing really light? If you want to downsize even further from the cutlery set above, this pocket-friendly spoon-fork combo is a great option, which comes in a little cotton pouch to keep it clean in your bag.
Yellow bamboo bowl with lid
Sturdy yet light, this bright bamboo box is great for keeping small salads or snacks in – the silicone band keeps it firmly shut, while the bamboo lid is useful for chopping on. Picnics aside, it also makes a fab lunchbox.
Cheeky Panda biodegradable handy wipes
Unlike most anti-bacterial wipes on the market, these contain absolutely no plastic as they’re made from 100% natural bamboo fibre, so they’re fully biodegradable and can break down in compost in three weeks. The packaging is fully recyclable, too, making these a great sustainable option for wiping sticky hands and killing 99.99% bacteria.
Waxwraps cotton food wraps
Don’t wrap up extra bits and bobs for your picnic using clingfilm – these reusable wraps come in three sizes for wrapping snacks on the go. Made from cotton infused with beeswax and jojoba oil, these are reusable up to 200 times and fully biodegradable. They’re also useful for covering up leftovers in the fridge the next day.
This review was last updated in June 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org