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Living Less Unsustainably: Picnic!

Plastic utensils in a bed of brown leaves and compost
John Fischer
Disposable utensils labeled as "compostable" do not break down and no composting facility will accept them.

Hi all, Master Recycler John Fischer here with KLCC's Living Less Unsustainably. It's picnic and festival season. We'll be eating more meals outdoors for the next few months, and unless we change our habits, many people will be throwing away more disposable plates, cups and utensils.

Picnics are easy. Bring your own reusable dishes, silver, and cups - napkins too. You don't throw away the picnic blanket after eating - I hope - why the dishes. Making a paper plate uses 100 times as much water as washing a re-usable one. If you're inviting friends, bring dishes for them too. That's what our parents and grandparents did.

And never use - do you see my quotation marks "compostable" cups or flatware. They aren't compostable. No composting facility will accept them. And their manufacture has a much bigger impact than throwaway items. It was an idea that didn't work.

Now to the festival!! Fortunately, more and more outdoor events are turning to re-usables, and you can help the switch happen faster by borrowing a technique from the past.

This method may be confusing to some of you, but If you just walk up to the food truck vendor and say ''please switch to re-usable dishes", they may think you have a screw loose. And if two people do that, they might think they have a nut and bolt loose. But if fifty people a day - imagine fifty people a day walking up to order and saying "please switch to reusable dishes".

Well, they may think it's a good idea, because it is, and it has to happen eventually, even if the price of the food goes up by 25 cents.

Enjoy your oven baked, gluten-free, organic-vegetable, non-dairy cheese pizza!!

I'm John Fischer, Living Less Unsustainably.

John Fischer is a Master Gardener and Master Recycler and the host of KLCC's Good Gardening and Living Less Unsustainably.