With heat waves happening all over the world, the beach has been the place to be! Taking a dip in the ocean is not only refreshing, but can be a super fun and inexpensive activity to do with family or friends. However, as many of us are aware, we as humans have been wreaking havoc on our oceans for decades. And often, visiting the beach can be a huge contributor towards ocean pollution. So here are five ways that you can have a more eco-friendly beach day this summer, and help keep our oceans beautiful for the animals and our future generations.
Use Reef-Safe Sunscreen
Certain sunscreens, particularity ones that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate, can bleach and eventually kill corals. Coral reefs are vital to the health of our oceans, and so many species of marine life depend on them for survival. So always be sure to use reef-safe sunscreens, which are both better for you and the environment. I will continue to add my favorite reef safe sunscreens to this list.
Swimsuit by Jessica Rey, a designer who's brand creates sustainable pieces out of regenerated materials
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
There's really no reason to drink from plastic water bottles anymore, with the exception of emergencies. Fill up your reusable water bottle at home and bring it to the beach! Choose an insulated stainless steel bottle to keep your water cool and refreshing, unlike plastic. Many beaches have water fountains or local bars/restaurants that will refill your water bottle as well.
Bring Your Own Snacks
While it's always good to support local restaurants, a lot of fast food places still use styrofoam containers and single-use plastic cutlery. So you're better off either dining in at a restaurant, or bringing your own snacks to the beach. I often like to bring fruit. Apples and bananas come with their own packaging, and other fruits can be cut up at home and taken to the beach in reusable containers. And be sure to bring your reusable bamboo cutlery to eat it with! If you're looking for a more fun food option, the other day I brought an entire vegan pizza to the beach and it was kind of the best thing ever, no plates or cutlery required!
Use More Eco-Friendly Travel Options
Since I live in New York, I have the option of taking the train to the beach, which is pretty amazing. If you don't, try to at least carpool with friends, instead of taking individual cars. Or if you're lucky enough to live close to the beach, try biking, skateboarding or walking instead of wasting gas and struggling to find parking.
Bring a Garbage Bag
Whenever I go to the beach, I like to bring an extra reusable bag that I can use for trash. This includes my own trash, as well as pieces that I find on the beach and in the ocean. I'll just empty it in the closest garbage can before I leave to go home. You don't have to be crazy like me and literally dive under the waves looking for plastic to pick up, but try to at least pick up a few pieces of trash from the ground each time you visit the beach. It might even inspire your fellow beachgoers to do the same! The garbage bag I bring with me is a reusable cloth bag that folds up nice and flat into my backpack and is easy to just throw in the wash along with my bikini and beach towel when I get home.
Just remember, you don't have to be perfect to be more eco-friendly. It's all about being more conscious of your waste and how you are contributing to a better planet. I'm still no where near zero waste or even plastic free, but I try everyday to make more positive decisions and think about how my choices affect the environment. If we all do a little bit here and there, we can all make a big difference! Let me know if you guys like these sort of blog posts, and I'll keep them coming!