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Hosting an Eco-Friendly Picnic

Now that Independence Day is over, many of you will be looking forward to spending another one of summer’s gorgeous days outside. Whether you will be barbequing with your friends or picnicking with your family, Penn Waste would like to remind you to continue to do your part in keeping our environment clean and beautiful. Here are some helpful tips on how to keep your next picnic environmentally friendly.

The Preparation:

One of the best things you can do to help the environment is to buy locally! Penn Waste is a member of the Buy Local Coalition, which encourages the public to buy from locally owned businesses instead of from large corporations. By buying in the South Central PA area, we can boost our local economy and create a wealthier, healthier, and happier local community. Remember:

Spend it here, Keep it here!

When you head out to your locally owned market, remember to be looking for organic foods and eco-friendly products, as well as products that are featured as containing less packaging. For example, locally grown and sold tomatoes usually do not contain any added pesticides or growth hormones. When buying from an out-of-state vendor, however, it is possible that your tomatoes will contain harmful ingredients that negatively affect your body as well as the entire ecosystem. A lot of gas and energy is wasted on shipping out-of-state products too! And this means that by buying locally, you are also cutting down on the amount of pollution that would be produced by the trains, planes, and trucks that are used to transport food.

And once you’ve purchased all your fresh, local, and organic goods, here’s a quick and easy dish to help you get started on your menu!

Double Tomato Bruschetta
Total prep and cook time is approximately 35 minutes.


¬ö 6 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped

¬ö 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, pack in oil

¬ö 3 cloves minced garlic

¬ö 1/4 cup olive oil.

¬ö 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¬ö 1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed

¬ö 1/4 teaspoon salt

¬ö 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

¬ö 1 French baguette

¬ö 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat the oven on broiler setting.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Cut the baguette into 3/4-inch slices. On a baking sheet, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly brown.
  4. Divide the tomato mixture evenly over the baguette slices. Top the slices with mozzarella cheese.
  5. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Recipe courtesy of — Laurie Thompson

The Party:

If you’d rather not have all your neighbors, friends, and family gather in your backyard you can always host your party at a public location. But remember to think locally! Most local parks have places you can rent, and the cost is usually very affordable. (Some are even free!) Parks are often centrally located too, which means that most people would be able to get to your party using just a small amount of gas.

When it is time to eat, be sure to serve your guests using reusable plates, cups, and silverware. Another great way to limit the amount of waste you produce is to use cloth napkins rather than paper towels.

During social time, if the bugs get buggy, don’t be afraid to use bug spray. But make sure it’s a non-aerosol brand so that it is environmentally friendly.

The Clean-Up:

The first thing you should remember when cleaning up during and after your party is simple: don’t litter! Trash that you or your guests leave behind could make its way to public areas and even harm close-by wildlife. This is especially important when hosting your event in a park or other public space. Anything that you bring in should be taken home or deposited in the proper receptacles made available.

You also might want to avoid using certain decorations for outdoor parties. Balloons, for example, can pop in the heat and send small bits of latex everywhere. Not only are these pieces very difficult to clean up, but they don’t decompose and could be very harmful to curious little critters.

Finally, any food that you have left over from the party should be placed into reusable containers and taken home either by you or your guests. If you end up not eating your leftovers, be sure to put them into your compost pile to turn them into environmentally friendly fertilizer!

Follow these simple tips and not only will you have a great time celebrating outdoors and enjoying the weather, but you will also be helping to preserve our environment for years to come! Help us in our mission of Creating a Green Community Together. ©


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