Love Your Lakes

Love your lake picnic

If you’re planning a trip to the Upper Waitaki lakes this summer, pack your own picnic to reduce food and drink rubbish when visiting your favourite lakeside spot.

It may take a little more planning but going retro – using plates, a flask and reusable containers – really cuts down on the rubbish that’s left when you pack up your picnic. The difference is surprising; a couple of apple cores versus a bag of rubbish!

Ideas for a low-waste picnic

  • Use a picnic set rather than disposable plates and cutlery
  • Fruit is a great low-waste option
  • Aim to pack sandwiches at home rather than buying prepackaged items
  • Use beeswax wraps or reusable containers for storing food
  • Remember to pack a reusable drink bottle rather than buying bottled drinks
  • Make some popcorn for snacks
  • Don’t forget some yummy home baking brought in a cake tin or container
  • Pack a face cloth for wiping hands and faces rather than paper serviettes or baby wipes
  • Take a flask and re-usable coffee cups for hot drinks
  • Make sure you either take home any waste or dispose of it in provided waste bins
  • Remember to use the public toilet facilities provided!

Upper Waitaki Zone Committee Facilitator Barb Gilchrist

Which lunch? Upper Waitaki Zone Committee Facilitator Barb Gilchrist compares a low-waste picnic lunch to a packaged/bought lunch.

Upper Waitaki Zone Committee Facilitator Barb Gilchrist

Barb Gilchrist shows the difference in leftover picnic waste between the two lunches.

Love your lakes campaign - What to look out for

The low-waste picnic theme is part of the Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee ‘s summer-time Love Your Lakes campaign, which reminds lake users to respect the environment by disposing of rubbish responsibly, using provided toilet facilities and not discharging dirty water or sewage into waterways. These include Lakes Benmore, Ohau, Middleton, Tekapo, Pukaki, Ruantaniwha, Aviemore and Alexandrina.

The Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee is a community-led committee made up of community members, Environment Canterbury, rūnanga and local councils to address issues affecting water quality and quantity in the area.

Environment Canterbury monitors regularly water quality at popular swimming spots around Canterbury. The results are available through Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA), New Zealand's most comprehensive source of water data at

To learn more about water quality in our lakes and rivers, visit the water hub pages.