Hawkes Guide to Sustainable Summer Socialising
Hawkes’ lead Elliot Allison shares his tips and tricks for enjoying sustainable picnics, parties and barbecues this summer.
Summer is the season of socialising and whilst we all enjoy barbecues, picnics and drinks al fresco, all too often we opt for ease over sustainability. Single use plastic cups, cutlery, plates and decorations, as well as what we choose to eat or drink, can dramatically increase seasonal waste ending up in landfill and also contributes to our carbon footprint. There are, however, some simple ways to ensure your summer socialising is as sustainable as possible.
Elliot Allison of Hawkes, London’s first urban cidery, turning unloved, ‘wonky’, or surplus apples, into delicious real-apple cider, says: “There’s nothing Brits love more than enjoying good food and drink with friends and loved ones, and never is this more obvious than when the sun is shining.
“Today though, it’s hard – and irresponsible – to ignore how our love of socialising impacts the environment. In fact, we produce over 380 million tons of plastic every year globally, with estimates suggesting that up to 50 percent of that volume is for single-use items. Unfortunately, single-use plastic has become synonymous with BBQs, picnics in the park and garden parties thanks to the ease of portability and disposal, removing the need to carefully transport heavy, breakable items or face hours of washing up.
“With summer now officially in full swing and the population spending more time socialising outdoors with friends and family, we’re encouraging Brits to make some simple swaps and remember a few golden rules of sustainable socialising.”
Read on for Elliot’s guide to enjoying more sustainable summer socialising.
A sizzling summer BBQ
There’s nothing better than a summer barbecue – a cold lager, cider or spritz in one hand, delicious food in the other, whilst basking in the sunshine and catching up with friends and family.
When planning your barbecue, it’s important to be as conscious of waste as possible. Make a plan rather than heading to the supermarket and buying up whatever looks good. Start by working out number of guests, consider any dietary requirements, what your menu will look like, and how much of everything you’ll you need. It’s worth visiting local butchers and greengrocers where you’ll be able to purchase more exact quantities and seasonal, organic, local produce that likely has a much lower carbon footprint that out-of-season, imported produce.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your BBQ has to be a veritable meat-fest. Halloumi kebabs, stuffed peppers, garlic mushrooms and chilli flecked corn on the cob all make delicious additions to your grill. Sustainable fish options will impress guests too and there are plenty of meat alternative products which taste delicious chargrilled.
Single-use BBQs are best avoided. Instead invest in a quality BBQ that can be used again and again. Not only is this better for the planet, but your food will taste better too. If heading out to a public space that allows barbecues, there are a number of non-disposable portable options available that you can use both at home and on the go.
And when cooking, make sure to keep the lid on your grill closed. This will both reduce the amount of fuel needed and ensure that your food cooks quicker,.
A fun picnic in the park
Summer is synonymous with park picnics and enjoying a sustainable picnic is very simple, though does take a little extra preparation.
Rather than relying on supermarkets for your picnic fare, enjoy making your own sandwiches, salads, cakes and fruit pots. Not only will they taste more delicious that store-bought alternatives, but you’ll avoid unnecessary usage of single-use plastics.
Food can be packed in reusable pots and boxes or wrapped in beeswax cloths, whilst drinks and soups can be transported in water bottles or thermos flasks.
There’s no reason you can’t use your standard everyday cutlery, plates and cups whilst out and about – just remember to bring it all home and hope that someone offers to do the washing up for you. If single-use is a must though, opt for eco-friendly alternatives to plastic, that are easily recycled or compostable. Some alternatives – bamboo plates for example – are both compostable and reusable.
A sunshine filled garden party
If you are equal parts al fresco party’er and homebody, a garden party is a perfect solution to gather family and friends and make the most of the summer sunshine.
Eschew single-use decorations and instead opt for reusables – cloth or hessian bunting and jam jar flowers add a decorative touch to even the smallest of back gardens.
Rather than buying ready-made canapés packaged in single-use plastic, ask guests to each bring a homemade dish – guac (and tortilla chips), summer rolls, bread and oil, veggie crudités, salads and fruit salads all go down well on a balmy summer evening.
And don’t forget about the drinks. Don’t feel you have to opt for the standard wine, beer and fizz if that’s not your vibe. Check out local independent craft beer, gin or cider brands, who focus not just on creating unique, delicious summer beverages, but ones that are sustainable too.
If you’re keen on cocktails, why not make your own? Fill jugs with your favourite alcoholic mixes and mocktails and serve with your regular glassware. Not only will this add personality to your table, it will also reduce the number of empties.
And if serving water – always a good idea to keep guests hydrated through a sun filled day of drinking – avoid bottled water at all costs. Invest in a drinks dispenser with tap and fill it up with tap water, ice, cucumber or fruit for a hydration option that everyone will enjoy!
Garden parties have a habit of drifting on late into the night, so make sure your garden is set up appropriately. Invest in solar lights that will brighten up your backyard after sunset, or simply scatter old jars around the house to use as candle holders.
Enjoying summer socialising whilst being more sustainable shouldn’t feel like a chore, just make sure you’re sticking to the below golden rules.
- Swap disposable cutlery, napkins, glasses and plastic plates out for your usual tableware or recyclable or compostable alternatives. This will remove the stress of having a bin full of single-use plastic.
- Ask your guests to bring reusable containers so that they can take leftovers home to enjoy, to save on food wastage.
- Use whatever you already have at home, such as decorations, dispensers, and furniture and if in doubt, ask guests to help out and bring their own.
To find out more about Hawkes or to order some planet-friendly cider for your summer BBQs, picnic and garden party, visit wearehawkes.com.
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Francesca Colombo | Elsa Findlay | Julie Aguilera Kemp
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Founded in 2013, Bermondsey-based Hawkes is London’s first urban cidery, turning unloved, ‘wonky’, or surplus apples, which are too big or small for the shelves but perfect for juicing, into delicious real-apple cider.
Using only natural ingredients and never apple concentrate, Hawkes currently produces three core real-apple ciders: The vibrant, fresh and bright, Urban Orchard (4.5. ABV); juicy, sharp and lush, Dead & Berried (4.0% ABV); and tropical, zingy and offbeat, Pineapple Punch (4.0% ABV).
Hawkes collaborates annually with The Orchard Project – the only national charity dedicated to the creation, restoration and celebration of community orchards – to collect surplus orchard apples, allowing the cidery to turn vast amounts of otherwise waste fruit into planet-friendly cider every autumn. In addition to stocks from The Orchard Project, Hawkes’ Apple Donors initiative brings in donations from all over the UK. In 2021 alone, the annual apple drive saw the cidery save over 130,000 – or 12 tonnes – of apples from going to waste.
Hawkes was acquired by craft beer giant, BrewDog, in 2018. It is available to enjoy by the pint or can in all BrewDog bars nationally, in a number of Independent London pubs and pub groups around the UK, and at Hawkes’ Bermondsey-based railway arch Cidery & Taproom. You can also enjoy Hawkes in your own home; Pineapple Punch and Dead & Berried are stocked in 150 Sainsbury’s stores across London and key UK cities, and packs of all Hawkes’ core ciders are available to buy via the Hawkes online shop wearehawkes.com.