You love summer, you love noshing and sipping by the beach, but you don’t love all those images of fish and turtles caught in ocean garbage, right? Well, it turns out you don’t need to throw away much at all if you properly equip yourself with some super reusable (and oftentimes super cute!) beach dining accoutrements. Mix-and-match the items that speak to you, and you’ll have your own ready-to-go beach picnic kit that will herald in sunny, breezy days without worry of waste.
Picnic at Ascot Wine and Cheese Cooler Bag Equipped for 2 with Glasses, Napkins, Cutting Board & Corkscrew, $39.50 at Amazon
Let’s start with the core food groups of a beach picnic: wine and cheese. Make it easy with this insulated cooler bag. So many colors to choose from, and everything you need for a perfectly romantic wine-and-cheese date on the beach. Skip the plastic knife and the plastic bag, and just worry about finishing off the cheese and wine—waste not, want not!Buy Now
For those who just want to focus on the wine, these portable plastic “glasses” are a nifty option (and a little more sophisticated than these admittedly handy and hilarious adult sippy cups). Toss a couple in your beach bag, along with your wine and some stoppers like this by Joie (on the off-chance you’ll have leftovers), and you are good to go!Buy Now
For the ultimate DIY wine-to-go setup, choose your favorite style of this BUILT NY Neoprene Tote, and treat yourself to these unbreakable silicone wine glasses that are literally squishy enough to fit it into any pocket, compartment, or container. Then, imagine strolling over to the waves with some bubbly in one tote pocket, and your reusable glasses in the other—can you even?!?Buy Now
If beer is more your style, or even some other liquid (I don’t know, water?), you can’t go wrong with a good growler. This Smart Flask Stainless Steel Growler comes with a neoprene carrier that you can also use with any proprietary brewery growler, for those times they insist you use their branded container. Refilling a growler time-after-time at your favorite brewery is an excellent way to mitigate the need to go through innumerable bottles and cans.Buy Now
Speaking of beer, did you know that those ubiquitous red Solo cups aren’t so easily recyclable? Most municipalities don’t take #6 plastic recycling—it requires special facilities. But, if you can’t quit that “red cup” life, Red Cup Living has created a sustainable version. Splurge on a few of those, or if you’re just trying to get ‘er done with a crowd, reusable-style, get a set of these BPA-free cups on the cheap.Buy Now
Related Reading: The Best Eco-Friendly Reusable Straws
Now that you’ve got plenty of options for minimizing waste while imbibing, let’s take a look at some ways you can kick your paper habit with regards to the actual meal. Sea-themed melamine plates are hardy enough to toss in a bag, but dreamy enough for your Instagram food pics. Plus, they’re more durable than ceramic plates, and hold food better than flimsy paper!Buy Now
And since you’ll already be bringing home your sandy beach towel to wash, why not bundle in some spent cotton napkins at the end of your excursion? Palm leaves lend eternal tropical vibes, so lean into that and all that is reusable by investing in some tropical leaf cotton napkins. No paper to throw away!Buy Now
While plastic forks and knives seem like the obvious choice for picnic meals, they aren’t so seamlessly recyclable—most are made from that notorious #6 plastic which lots of city recycling facilities do not accept. A more environmentally conscious way to eliminate cutlery waste is to get yourself a portable set of stainless steel flatware. Or, win outdoor-host-of-the-year and bust out this set of four by KEKLLE when dining with your friends. Each set of knife, fork, spoon, and chopsticks comes with its own neoprene case, so they’re stylish and convenient!Buy Now
HIKENTURE Camping Utensil Set 4-In-1 Stainless Steel Fork Knife Spoon Bottle Opener Set, $10.80 on Amazon
For the more utilitarian types, this Camping Utensil Set by Hikenture comes with a bottle opener and a small loop to attach to your key ring. All these options make it easy to ditch disposable!Buy Now
With all the mixing-and-matching you can do with reusable beach dining products, you’ll need something to tie it all, and carry it all, together. This Collapsible Insulated Basket by Picnic at Ascot comes in 13 colors and patterns, and doubles as a shopping tote for your frozen and refrigerated groceries when you stop at the supermarket. Keep your food and drinks at the right temperature while using fewer disposable bags—you’re nailing this reusable thing!Buy Now
Related Reading: The Best Picnic Baskets for Summer Days Outdoors
Finally, unless you’re really crafty with your bottles-and-cans artwork, you will need a place to gather up all those recyclables. This Pop-Up Recycle Bin by Coghlan fits the bill perfectly—it’s super portable, and it couldn’t be more obvious about its intended purpose. Set this thing up near your beach blanket, and delight in the tidy, environmentally friendly way your friends all dispose of their drink vessels.
Pick-and-choose your favorite items, and put your waste-minimizing picnic kit together for beautiful days and nights on the beach—the only thing you’ll be disposing of is a wasteful mindset! Oh, and make sure to practice that stink eye, withering glare, or classic “thumbs down” gesture (dealer’s choice) for when you spot beach-goers littering—you can be a sort of a Lorax for the fishies!
Related Video: How to Pack a Cooler the Right Way
Header image courtesy of Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock.