Tablescapes and decorations are a key part of al fresco dining – but having a single-use plastic-free Jubilee is equally important. From containers for carrying cakes to the best choice of bunting – Jess Hickie, from the Environment Agency’s plastics and sustainability team, shares five easy tips readers can make to ensure a summer’s day out doesn’t have a negative impact on the planet.


Come prepared

If your Jubilee plans involve a street party or a picnic, consider taking your own reusable cutlery – perhaps stored in a re-used takeaway carton.

Similarly, look to bring your own plate or reusable food containers. This can help eliminate polystyrene takeaway boxes, which are not commonly recycled and are harmful to the environment.

Feel free to decorate

If you’re opting for a sustainable celebration, you can still bring some sparkle! Energy-efficient fairy lights or reusable tealights in pretty jam jars are a great alternative to glitter, which can be a harmful microplastic that ends up polluting our oceans.

Making your own decorations such as bunting and paper chains from recyclable materials or buying durable ones means that you will be able to reuse and store them away for the next celebration – cutting down on waste. Here's a guide from our sister title Gathered on how to make your own bunting

Get baking

Baking your own cakes and bread can cut down on your use of soft plastics. Supermarket-bought bread and cakes are often packaged in soft wrappers, which can’t be collected and recycled by local authorities – but some supermarkets are now starting to offer this service.

Find out if you can drop these items off at a store near you at

Say no to single-use sachets

Most sachets are made up of layers of different plastics. This makes sure the sauces are safe for consumption, but also means that the sachets are much harder to recycle.

If having ketchup or mayonnaise on the side of your lunch is essential, consider bringing your own condiments in small, reusable, glass jars or plastic containers. Miniature old jam jars make for an aesthetic swap, which is good for both the planet and the Instagram feed!

Talk about the positive changes you’re making

Starting a conversation with a friend or family member about plastic pollution is a great way to learn and share tips and tricks that can make a big difference.

This can also be a good way to open the door to lending and borrowing items among friends, neighbours, family, and local community groups. It’s also worth finding out if your local area has a ‘repairs cafe’ so you can ‘make do and mend’ broken items.

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Top image by Getty Images


Jess HickieProgramme Manager, Plastics Team at Environment Agency