I love going to the beach! It is a great way to reconnect with nature and really appreciate all the beauty that nature has to offer. Here are some ideas to help you keep your beach trips greener. These eco friendly beach tips will suggest environmentally sound practices as well as suggest eco-friendly beach products.
How To Treat The Beach In An Environmentally Friendly Way
Leave Nothing Behind
My girl scout leader always told us to pack out what we packed in on our hiking trips and that is great advice for everywhere including the beach. Not only does waste left behind mar the beauty for the next visitors but it can wreak havoc on the beach eco systems. Things that seem hardly noticeable to us such as clear plastic soda 6 pack rings can become killers for marine life such as otters, dolphins and birds. Always pick up after yourself. If you teach the importance of this habit to your kids, you will find that they will help you and often go above and beyond by picking up other trash they find too.
Eco friendly Beach Products
Other ways to green your beach trip include using greener items. Whether you choose organic cover-ups, bathing suits made from recycled plastics, or recycled plastic beach toys, there are lots of products we bring with us to the beach that can be purchased in the greener variety. I recently discovered some awesome eco friendly beach chairs, from LowTides, that use plastic collected from beaches and recycle it into really nice beach chair.
Eco Friendly Beach Towels
If you want eco-friendly towels, you are in the market for either, organic towels, recycled beach towels, or used beach towels from your local thrift store. Organic towels are an eco-friendly choice because they don’t use pesticides and pesticides usually end up in rivers which end up in oceans. Therefore organic towels are better for ecosystems and make great eco-friendly beach towels. Recycled towels are made from post-consumer recycled material. They are quick-drying, lightweight, and sand-resistant. Finally thrift stores offer the change to give a used beach towel a second life which is always an eco-friendly choice that requires no new materials.
Eco Friendly Beach Toys
You can find eco-friendly beach toys that are made from bamboo fiber or recycled plastic. Other toy choices to consider are made from bioplastic or biodegradable materials. Eco-friendly beach toys help protect the marine wildlife and show we want to preserve that which we enjoy.
Limit Disposable Objects
Planning ahead and packing a picnic from home in reusable Ziploc containers, with reusable water bottles, plates, and utensils can avoid a lot of disposable trash and keep you from wasting time and gas running out to the store.
When at the beach, limiting sun exposure can become a concern. You may choose to go early or late to avoid the strongest sun rays. You may also choose to wear long sleeves, lay under umbrellas, or find natural shade but you will probably still want to use some sunscreen while at the beach. Sunscreen washes off in the water and can leave residues that are harmful to sea life and play an important role in coral bleaching.* You can help avoid this by choosing an eco-friendly sunscreen- Earth911 has a Green Buyer’s Guide For Sunscreens.
Protect Natural Habitat
Another green consideration while at the beach is to respect the natural ecosystems, many of which are very fragile. Staying off the dunes and refraining from feeding the birds are important to preserve the balance of nature. Leaving the sea life where you find it also important. While that perfect sand dollar or starfish you just found may look great on your bookshelf at home, I think the animal would prefer to stay alive in the ocean where you found it! Respect areas that are roped off for bird nesting grounds or sea turtle nesting and walk around them.
Bonus: Go Above And Beyond
Many areas schedule public beach clean-ups and you may want to find a group to become active with in your local area. Or if you don’t live near a beach, get involved by taking action to save the ocean and ocean wildlife through the Ocean Conservancy.
I hope find these eco-friendly beach tips helpful. You can enjoy your beach trip even more knowing that you are helping to preserve it for future visits. Have you ever participated in a beach clean-up or do you have a green beach story to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!