There are lots of opportunities to picnic this summer in Richardson, from free outdoor concerts to 4th of July fireworks to corporate and family gatherings at one of the City’s 38 parks, and while picnicking is a great way to get outside and enjoy the natural environment, it can also hurt the environment. Here are some tips to keep your picnics eco-friendly:

  • Many of Richardson’s parks contain blue recycling bins. Know what can be recycled in Richardson and what can’t. Visit for the latest list (it can change due to fluctuations in the international recycling market). Better yet, bring along reusable containers and picnic ware and refillable water bottles.
  • Throw wet wipes in the trash. Wipes that say “flushable” on the label really aren’t—they clog park restroom toilets and do not break down in our sewage system, polluting streams and waterways.
  • Grilling? Try a portable, reusable charcoal chimney to heat the coals, available for around $15 at most hardware stores. It’s placed on the grill bed and avoids the use of petroleum-based lighter fluid, which releases toxins into the air.
  • Though sharing leftover food with nearby wildlife might be tempting, especially for little ones, keep in mind that it can have a negative impact on a creature’s health and natural habitat. For example, the constant feeding of “people food” to ducks, such as bread, chips, popcorn, etc. causes nutritional deficits and birth defects and can result in too many waterfowl living in one area. Instead, bring a camera or journal and teach children how to engage with wildlife in a safe and healthy way (visit for more information).