How to Make Your Picnic Environmentally Friendly

Happy (almost) summer! Man, have we had some beautiful days here in NC. It makes you just want to head outside with a picnic, sprawl out in the grass and enjoy the sunshine. There’s warm sun on your face, cool grass under your feet, and a light breeze in the air. You pull out your picnic basket, and it’s full of…trash? Plastic straws, cups, and forks. Paper napkins and plates. Sandwiches, wrapped up in plastic wrap or single-use zip-top bags. But what are you going to do? You can’t exactly bring fine china to the park. Are disposable paper products your only option? Should you just stay at home?

Fear not, my environmentally-conscious friends, someone else has been there before you! There are many options out there so that you can have an easy clean-up, and eco-friendly picnics all summer long.

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1. There has been a huge movement this year to reduce straw usage. Of course, you may choose to simply go without, but I personally love straws. This reusable straw is the perfect solution! It even comes with 2 cleaning brushes.

2. A reusable water bottle is a great thing to have for your day-to-day life. But for your picnic, you might want to consider this one, because in addition to being a great option for H20, it can also hold an entire (750mL) bottle of wine.

3. Stainless steel wine glasses are the perfect balance of reusable and durable. You’ll love these sets of dishwasher safe, stemless wine glasses.

4. Reusable, collapsible cups are better than boring old solo cups. They’re reusable AND pack down nice and small, making them perfect for your picnic, camping, or traveling.

5. If you don’t want to take your metal utensils but are trying to avoid disposable items, these camping reusable utensils are for you. They are a 3-in-1 fork, knife, and spoon so they’ll work for all of your needs without taking up much space. Bonus!

6. Cloth napkins are not just for grandma’s fancy Christmas dinner. These “paperless towels”are durable, washable, and quick drying. You won’t miss paper napkins or paper towels.

7. Of course you can use normal reusable plastic plates for your eco-friendly picnic. But if you’re looking for an alternative, compostable plates are super cool. These are microwave and hot/cold food safe.  They may be a one-time use item, but you can put them into the compost instead of the landfill. Win!

8. Plastic wrap and baggies are such a waste. Try out this hand-washable, beeswax cloth instead. It comes with 3 different sized wraps for sealing up your fruits, veggies, or sandwiches and can also be used to cover a bowl of your favorite snacks. Once you’re done with it for good (and remember, you can wash it again and again) it’s even compostable.

9. If you have any liquid-y dishes to bring on your picnic, these mason jars are a trendy and eco-friendly vessel. Fill them up with soups, sauces, or any other messy dishes for your picnic, then wash and use them again and again.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to reduce your waste and invest in some nifty products for this summer’s outdoor activities such as picnics or camping. Do you have any ideas for having an eco-friendly picnic? How do you reduce waste? Let me know in the comments below! Did you like this post? Share via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and, as always, follow me here on WordPress for more GREAT content like this!

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Destination: Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Rishikesh: A quick look

Language: Hindi

Currency: Indian Rupee

Drinking Age: 21 in Uttarakhand (the state), but alcohol is banned within the city itself

Public Transportation: Rishikesh is very walkable, but taxi and shuttle services are available downtown. The closest airport is in Haridwar, about 20 km away.

Passport: Yes, US citizens are also required to obtain a tourist visa prior to arrival in India. For visits of fewer than 60 days, an electronic visa is the easiest and quickest to obtain

Vaccines: Routine, plus Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Malaria medication may also be necessary; visit your primary care physician prior to leaving your home country to receive vaccinations and recommendations for additional medications based on your specific trip itinerary.

rishikesh

Before you leave:

Known as the “Valley of the Saints,” Rishikesh occupies the beginning of the Ganges river in the Himalayan foothills. In addition to being a very important area in Hinduism, Rishikesh is also a very popular spot for yoga and other spiritual education.

Remember that Rishikesh is a sacred city in Hinduism. Because of this, alcohol, drugs, and meat are banned in the city. Although alcohol and drugs are not hard to find if you know where to go, please be respectful of the culture, and do not use within Rishikesh.

Hostels are usually the best places to stay in Rishikesh. The one we stayed in was on top of the hill, which gave a wonderful view of the Ganges and the surrounding mountains. Many have AC, reliable Wifi, and breakfast included. In addition, a popular activity is studying yoga and mindfulness in an ashram, which often includes lodging.

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Once you get there:

Don’t be afraid of the street food. Classics like chaat, samosa, pav bhaji, and pani puri are all extremely cheap at street stalls. Be careful and ensure the food is hot, and you shouldn’t have any trouble. The best way to find the good stuff is to go with a local.

Use common sense to avoid scams. Scams are incredibly common in touristy parts of India, and Rishikesh is no different. Do some research beforehand on the most common ones and tips to avoid them.

  1. Beatles Ashram

    beatles-ashram-rishikesh

This is probably what Rishikesh is best known for in the United States. In 1968, the Beatles traveled to Rishikesh to study transcendental meditation. At the time called Maharishi’s International Academy of Meditation, it’s now simply known as “Beatles Ashram.” There is so much myth, legend, and controversy surrounding the Beatles in India that I can’t cover it all here. Everyone knows where Beatles Ashram is, and it’s definitely something to see when you’re in the area.

2. Trekking/Outdoor activities

Outdoors

Rishikesh sits next to the Ganges river, and right at the foothills of the Himalaya. This puts you in the perfect spot to enjoy activities such as trekking, rock climbing, white water rafting, and plenty of nature tours. You can find guides for these activities at the guide services downtown.

3. Mussoorie Hill Station

Mussoorie

Okay, so this isn’t technically in Rishikesh, but it’s close enough you can do it from the city. Hill stations are small towns that sit atop high mountains, mostly to keep them cool in the summer. It’s a really nice experience looking down the steep mountains into the valleys.

4. Kunjapuri Devi Temple

Kunjapuri temple

Kunjapuri Devi sits high atop a mountain, about a half hour drive from Rishikesh. You can charter a car to take you up there for about 1800 rupees, so try to go as a group to split the cost. The view from the top is *amazing.* A popular activity is to make it up there early in order to see the sunrise. On a clear day, you can see as far as China and Nepal. Culturally, it is the temple to Sati, the wife of Shiva. The super abridged version of the story is that Sati ended her own life after her father humiliated Shiva. After this, her father carried her body throughout the Himalaya, and pieces of it fell throughout the mountains in 52 different places, known as Shakti Peethas. These Shakti Peethas are found throughout Nepal and India. Kunjapuri Devi is where Sati’s chest is believed to have fallen.

5. Neer Garh Waterfall

neer-garh-waterfall

This is a great place to go to get out of the city and enjoy some beautiful Indian nature. After a steep hike, you’re rewarded with beautiful views of the waterfall and surrounding mountains. The water here is nice and clean, and it’s a popular place to jump in and cool off. All in all, it’s a fun place to explore for the day.

6. Visit the temples and bridges

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There are *tons* of temples in Rishikesh. Far too many to name in a short blog article, but I’ll rapid fire off some names to get you started. For temples, the popular ones are Badrinath, Parmath Niketan, Neelkanth Mahadev, and Tera Manzil. Even though it’s not a temple, the Lakshman Jhula bridge is a fun thing to see. A long suspension bridge that connects the two banks of the Ganges, it’s a cool place to get photos of the city and river.

Rishikesh is a great place to get out of the Golden Triangle and see what the rest of northern India has to offer. It’s a great stepping off point to go deeper into the Himalaya, head west into Punjab, or as a weekend jaunt from Delhi. It’s a must see for anybody traveling around northern India.

Disclaimer: I am far from an expert in Indian culture and Hinduism, so I apologize if any cultural facts are incorrect. Let us know in the comments!

Many thanks to David Anthony for creating this guide to Rishikesh, India.

Did you like this article? Have you visited Rishikesh? Tell us about it in the comments! Share via Facebook or Twitter, and as always, follow me here on WordPress for more GREAT content like this!

Sources:
Beatles Ashram photo: http://www.haridwarrishikeshtourism.com/beatles-ashram-rishikesh.html

Rappelling in Rishikesh photo: https://www.thrillophilia.com/rappelling-in-rishikesh

Mussoorie Hill Station photo: https://www.euttaranchal.com/tourism/mussoorie.php

Rishikesh photo: http://industrips.com/rishikesh/