The Community Zero Waste Picnic Baskets

If you’re just catching up, I’ve officially declared this the Summer of the Picnic.

Now that we live just a short drive away from the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline beckon to us on sunny days. I’ve always got a basket at the ready and a plan of action for transporting our meal.

I’ve always been a picnic enthusiast, no matter the season. When the kids were little we bundled up for snow picnics, complete with hot cocoa and warm cookies.  My backyard garden inspired many a vegetarian picnic, and I’ve always found a reason to plan a fall picnic. They are good, simple family fun and we make the best memories every time we adventure out of doors with our dinner.

Earlier this spring, I did a massive sorting of all of my picnic gear and found I had plenty to spare. I decided to put together a few baskets for sharing around my community – zero-waste, plastic free picnic baskets with everything required for an outdoor feast.

The Community Zero Waste Picnic Baskets

These fully-prepped baskets are my small attempt to enable folks who may not have all the gear to get outside with their friends or families. I’ve set them up to be completely plastic free and as eco-friendly as possible. This means cloth napkins instead of paper, melamine dishes instead of Styrofoam and enamelware cups instead of plastic – and that’s just the start.

Once I had assembled the baskets, I share a few photos on my social media channels and offered them free of charge to my local community. The requests slowly started coming in and we were off!

I do require the borrowers to treat my picnic baskets as their own and return everything clean. So far, so good. I consider this a step in the right direction for sustainable community building.

Here’s what is in the baskets! Perhaps you’ll borrow this idea and make your own zero-waste community picnic basket, too.

Picnic Set for 2 (photo below)

  • 2 enamelware plates
  • 2 bamboo utensil sets
  • 2 cloth napkins
  • 2 enamelware mugs
  • mini wooden cutting board/platter
  • Small thermos
  • berry baskets
  • small jars
  • pocketknife

Large Picnic Basket for 4+ (pictured below)

  • 8 melamine plates
  • 4 melamine bowls
  • 6-8 enamel cups
  • 6 cloth napkins
  • 1 tablecloth (round)
  • roll of Coleman silverware (set of 4)
  • Berry baskets
  • Pie/cake server
  • serving spoon
  • corkscrew
  • compost bag
  • silicone cutting board
  • Large hot/cold thermos
  • few small jars jars
  • 1 pop-top glass bottle
  • salt and pepper shaker
  • pocketknife

Nearly all of this lovely gear is thrifted or gifted. My baskets are from garage sales and the contents have accumulated over the years. It’s so fun to have it out of boxes after a long winter – and an out-of-province move.

Here’s to many more picnics and a summer spent exploring Nova Scotia from end to end.

Are you a picnic enthusiast? What do you think of a shared community picnic basket?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. What a wonderful idea! Cutting back waste is so important and this is a fine example of being creative. Looking forward to more of your insights and ideas.

  2. How fun! I think I’ll go pack up my camping dishes in a fun basket just to get us out the door faster for both picnics and camping!

  3. What a neat idea! And everything is so pretty–that’s part of the adventure (and later the memory), too.

  4. Such a great idea! I haven’t gone on a picnic for years, but your picnic pics sure are tempting.

  5. Frédérique says

    That’s amazing Aimee!! ♥️ we have picnics at least a coyote times a year and we end up using our zero waste lunch containers and pack our regular cutlery and everyday cloth napkins. We have a picnic blanket and often use back packs to carry it all! Water bottles get filled with water and iced tea! I wish i had your neck of the woods to pic Nic in though!!! ♥️

  6. Colleen Gander says

    We received a picnic basket as a wedding gift some 33 years ago, filled with zero-waste dishes, napkins and utensils. A small portable cooler keeps our food items cool. I guess we were ahead of the current trend. I like your idea and it should introduce you to your new community. We relocated to NS and like to use our basket for day trips to explore new-to-us corners of our new province.

    • Colleen, you were so ahed of the trend! Although to be fair, much of my gear is vintage, so I guess we are just returning to the good old days.

      • Colleen Gander says

        We are campers from way back too and I am always amazed at the “helpful” hints to make RVing easier. Even though most people have all kinds of conveniences in their trailers and campers, these hints usually involve using paper plates or other disposable single use items. Vintage is good as it keeps more useful stuff out of landfill.

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