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Picnic Parties – Strive for sustainable events 

March 5, 2024

Picnic season is just around the corner and with picnic parties comes food, decorations, and a lot of waste. The Metroparks challenge you to host more sustainable picnics this spring and summer. Here are a few things you can do: 

  1. Avoid plastic – Swap out a plastic tablecloth for a linen one. You can easily find affordable linens at your local thrift store, and they also look more polished than a cheap plastic one! Always avoid plastic utensils by bringing metal cutlery from home. Bring reusable plates if possible or opt for eco-friendly paper plates that can be composted when you’re done with them. 

  1. Say no to balloons! – According to the Ocean Conservancy, balloons are #3 on the list of deadliest ocean trash. Not only do balloons turn into microplastics, but they also harm aquatic life and wildlife. Animals in the parks may mistake popped balloons for food which causes harm to their digestive system and can lead to death. One alternative to balloons is biodegradable tissue paper Pom Pom’s. These Pom Pom’s are a great balloon swap, and they are extra beautiful. 

  1. Confetti is litter – Shiny plastic confetti is not biodegradable. These tiny pieces of plastic pose a threat to our animals. Like popped balloons, confetti is nearly impossible to clean up, and animals mistake confetti for food which causes them harm. Confetti also gets into our waterways causing issues to aquatic life. When planning to use confetti, always opt for sustainable alternatives. There are so many fun forms of confetti alternatives you can use including leaves or dried flowers! 

  1. Always reuse – When you are planning your picnic party, always reuse or borrow items and decorations. Not only does this reduce waste, but it will also save you money!  
  1. Don’t litter – it’s trashy – Lastly, always clean up your picnic mess and properly dispose of the waste you do create in trash receptacles or take it back out of the park with you. Don’t forget the food waste. Leaving food waste on tables and the ground encourages wildlife to eat things they should not and can lead to health risks for them and makes more likely to seek out their next meal from humans. Your efforts will help keep our parks and natural areas clean and safe for the next visitor and the wildlife that call them home.  

The next time you rent a picnic shelter at Your Metroparks or have your own picnic, remember to use these tips, and always strive for sustainable solutions. Then, when the party’s over, always leave an area how you found it. Be respectful to the environment and your community. 

More eco-friendly decoration ideas here: 

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