Going to the beach is at the top of everyone's list for summer activities. Much like any outing it’s important to pack for the occasion and for the planet too. When you know better, you do better and it’s very important that we take into consideration the impact we as humans often have on nature.
It’s estimated that eight million tons of plastic are introduced to our oceans every year. To avoid leaving our mark in a negative way, we can prepare for a fun-filled beach trip by making sure we pack eco-friendly essentials. That way, even if we do leave a thing or two behind, we can be sure that the ecosystem of the beach is not going to be disrupted by any nasty plastics or harsh chemicals.(1)
Here are some essentials for an eco-friendly beach trip:
1. Plastic free beach towels
Find yourself a nice soft beach towel that has been made with the environment in mind, like those made by FiveADRIFT, a company dedicated to cleaning our waters and donating to charity.
Towels can often shed just like a blanket or clothing, so when you're laying your towel down on the sand you could be leaving behind nasty little particles of plastic and fibers that are bad for the earth and the sea too. It's believed that around four billion microfibers per square kilometer lie below the surface of the ocean. These fibers come from plastic packaging, bottles, clothing, and non-sustainable beach towels.
Going sustainable doesn’t mean you have to lose comfort either. You can find luxurious plastic-free beach towels made with materials such as hemp and recycled cotton, and they don’t have any plastic in them. So, you can relax in style while knowing you’re helping keep the beach safe!
2. Sustainable beach bag
What would a beach trip be without a big beach bag filled to the brim with items to meet all your beach needs? Much like any other item you bring, you’ll want to stear clear of any bags that are made using plastic. This is the biggest danger when it comes to waste found on the beach.
The world’s plastic production is still rising, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find suitable alternatives. Find a big bag made of sustainable materials, that’s also water resistant, so that your belongings will be kept safe from the elements.
3. Mineral sunscreen
Plastic isn’t the only nasty thing we can accidently leave behind on the beach and in the water. The chemicals found in many sunscreens can seep into the water and they can be extremely harmful to the ocean’s natural ecosystem. Mineral sunscreens actually work a little differently than chemical sunscreens do, using natural minerals like zinc to block the sun's rays. Plus, these minerals don’t have a negative effective on the environment like other chemicals do.
Plus, the Personal Care Products Council stated that mineral sunscreens work just as well as other chemical-based sunscreens. So, make sure when you are grabbing those items for your beach trip to reach for the mineral sunscreen.
4. Waste-free snacks
When taking a trip to the beach, especially with children, you’ll likely need to bring along some snacks. You might even want some refreshing, cool beverages for in between swims to stay hydrated. Make sure that you know the rules of the beach before you bring any food or drink onto the sand with you. If food is allowed, make sure not to use plastic and keep your food in sustainable, reusable containers.
Any snack packaging, like plastic cups or wrapping, can get swept up in the wind really easily, and can make its way into the ocean where it will break down into microplastics. Trash cans around eating areas and beaches are often full to the brim with rubbish, so it's always best to not bring any single-use, disposable items with you as these make up 40% of the world’s plastic waste.
While it’s understandable that going to the beach should be a fun relaxing experience, a little bit of conscious planning beforehand can help keep our oceans safe in the long run. It’s also always a good idea to buy products from companies that not only make sustainable items, but also look for ways to build a more sustainable future, including through charitable giving.
It’s really not too hard to find sustainable, eco-friendly items for a fun-filled beach trip. At the end of the day, you won’t regret switching out your old towel for a sustainable one and you’ll be helping to make the world, and the beach, a better place.
1.“100+ Ocean Pollution Statistics & Facts (2020-2021),” Source: https://www.condorferries.co.uk/marine-ocean-pollution-statistics-facts
2.“Global Plastic Production Rises, Recycling Lags,” Source: http://www.plastic-resource-center.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Global-Plastic-Production-RisesRecycling-Lags.pdf
3.“Shining a Light on 'Natural' Sunscreen - Consumer Reports,” Source: https://www.consumerreports.org/sunscreens/shining-a-light-on-natural-sunscreen/
4.“Heavy metals in plastic, recycling and environmental aspects,” Source: https://library.wur.nl/WebQuery/wurpubs/fulltext/368323