At Every Can Counts we believe the summer months are made for eating and drinking outdoors. The Irish weather may sometimes like to challenge that theory, but armed with rain jackets, a whole host of flimsy umbrellas and a Child of Prague statue we’re still determined to get out there and make the most of it.
Once you have the know-how you can cope with just about anything, and the same can be said of having a delicious on-the-go recycling friendly meal in your favourite park, beach, or even in the back garden. Whether you’re hosting a family BBQ, or picnicking in a local park, beauty spot, or at the seaside, a little bit of prep goes along way for you and the planet alike.
During the summer months I take Every Can Counts on tour, travelling to all sorts of events across the island of Ireland, encouraging drink can recycling. From the many pitfalls and experiences I have had at these events and conversations with other seasoned festival folks and colleagues I’ve compiled a few tips to make your outdoor feast as green and delicious as possible:
- Reusable cup – they’re brilliant, but if you’re like me and hate carrying extra things you might find them cumbersome. So I’ve opted for a stojo coffee cup that folds into itself, it’s the same size as a compact mirror (which I also don’t carry with me). However if you’re not willing to invest in something fancy, stackable cups will do just as well. Top tip – bring a small wet bag to place them in after use so the dregs don’t get around your bag.
- Water bottle – Again, I hate carrying extra things so I choose to carry an empty water bottle, or only half fill it, and seek opportunities to refill it if I need water throughout the day. Parks, beaches and beauty spots have really upped their game when it comes to providing drinking water on tap. Of course my water bottle is made of metal because, not only does metal recycle forever, it also keeps cold drinks cooler for longer!
- Cans – Naturally I’m a fan. There are now a huge variety of canned drinks besides the carbonated classics. Water is particularly handy, when you’ve left the bottle behind, many places including Teddy’s Ice Cream in Dun Laoghaire now sell Cano Water, which is a re-sealable endlessly recyclable can of still or sparkling water. Carbonated flavoured waters are great for breaking up the hydration monotony, I particularly like the Ballygowan apple, elderflower and lemon flavour or Vit Hits raspberry watermelon with Ceylon tea. Remember to bring reusable straws if you have smallies with you who haven’t mastered the art of drinking from a can yet. There’s also a huge new no/low alcohol beer movement, besides canned wines (great if you don’t want to open a full bottle) and hard seltzers (White Claw Black Cherry is my favourite). Once you’re done it’s easy to crush and carry them with you until you find a recycling bin. We offer free recycling packs to organisations, if you spot a venue that could use one of these packs get in touch here.
- Spoon – I bring spoons from home. None of these fancy bamboo cutlery packs with their fancy price tag for me thanks! Everything can be eaten or prepared with a spoon, I’ve worked through salads, soups, curries, burrito bowls, all with my trustee spoon. It’s also handy for refusing wooden stirrers while getting hot drinks. Again, make sure to bring a little bag to pop it into so it doesn’t muck up your bag while dirty. A word of warning, your housemates/family members may notice the lack of spoons in the drawer if like me you forget to wash and return them.
- Foil wrapping – It keeps all your prepped foods fresh but can double up as a foil plate you can use to eat just about everything from. It’s so versatile, I’ve formed it into a temporary dog water bowl when in a jam. It’s also uber-easy to clean (just wipe down afterwards) and recycle (scrunch into a ball with all the other clean foils and pop it into the nearest recycling bin).
- Foil foods for your shopping list – Yoghurt and cream cheese lids, foil wrapped tea cakes, cakes, and chocolate, if it’s wrapped in foil (the kind that doesn’t spring back after you scrunch it) you can add it to the foil bundle that is endlessly recyclable. Think of those individual portion cherry bakewells, sweet mallow filled tea cakes and some spreadable cheeses. Foil, like cans, is endlessly recyclable, so keep this in mind when writing your picnic/bbq shopping list.
- Dedicated recycling bag – bring one bag that’s dedicated to collecting recycling and let everyone know what you expect them to put in there. Before the feeding frenzy begins is usually the best time to outline your recycling rules. Read through the national recycling list here, at mywaste.ie.
- PYO – pick your own. Raspberries are in season right now, blackberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants are soon to follow. Not only are they a delicious treat, but also a fun family activity. A quick google can usually lead you to where they’re grown wild, or you can visit one of them many PYO farms. Grab a basket or a jar and get picking!
- Clean BBQ-ing – The big decision is what fuel to use. Propane burns much cleaner than both wood or charcoal, but there are some organic charcoal options available. For the clean-up, use soy-based cleaning products. These natural alternatives are equally efficient and don’t leave behind any chemical residues. Remember to always check local rules when it comes to barbecuing at beauty spots.
Above all the most important rule of enjoying the outdoors is to ‘Love this Place and Leave no Trace’. Every time we pack up our van after a festival, I look back over the space we’ve just vacated, our campsite, our dining room, our dance floor, and I take great pride that there was no evidence of our fun. Like it never happened and we were never there at all, as it should be.
Programme Manager, Every Can Counts Ireland
Read our very first newsletter to find out about the latest Every Can Counts activities in Ireland and how we’re rising to the challenges of the COVID-19 era.
Read CanMail Ireland via issuu by clicking here.
Update: This competition has now closed! Thank you to everyone who took part and congratulations to our winner Adrian Chiappe!
Watch our compilation video and take a look at some of the fantastic designs we received:
We want to show our appreciation for our amazing frontline workers, and we need YOUR help.
Download the ‘Thank You Frontline Workers’ picture, colour it in (either by hand or digitally) and put it on display to show frontline workers how much we appreciate all they do for us. From gardaí to nurses, doctors to waste collectors, bus drivers to shop assistants, we want to say a huge THANK YOU in the most colourful way.
Take a photo of your completed picture on display (attach it to your recycling bin, place it in a window or on a wall etc.) and send us your photo for a chance to WIN a Nintendo Switch Lite!
There are 2 ways to send us your photo:
- Emails can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post your picture and tag Every Can Counts on one of our social media channels:
Twitter – www.twitter.com/Every_CanCounts
Prize Draw Terms and Conditions:
- This prize draw is open to residents of both Ireland and the UK.
- We welcome entries from people of all ages.
- Multiple entries per person are allowed.
- Submitted entries may be used by Every Can Counts for its own marketing and communications purposes.
- To be included in the prize draw, all coloured-in templates must either be emailed to email@example.com or publicly posted on one of the following social media channels, tagging Every Can Counts:
- Entries need to be submitted before midnight on Sunday 12thJuly 2020 in order to be included in the prize draw.
- Every Can Counts will determine a winner from the totality of entries received using an online randomizer.
- The winner will be contacted directly within 5 days of the competition’s closing date.
- The prize for this competition is 1 x Nintendo Switch Lite. No cash equivalent will be offered.
Thank you everyone who got involved with our #CANdunk challenge, it’s been a lot of fun!
We had a great time watching all of your entries and we’re now excited to announce the winners in our 3 prize categories:
- Most Viewed Video: @SuperLuckyDi
- Most Creative Video: @rachaelsit
- Funniest Video: @JimJamRadford
Congratulations to all of you! We hope you enjoy a well-deserved stay-at-home feast with your £100 Just Eat prize vouchers.
Watch our video below to see the winning entries:
For more #CANdunk action, check out this compilation of some of the other amazing videos we received:
Thank you all for getting creative and recycling in style! Keep making your cans count!