Water. Sun. Sand.
Whether you’re splashing in the waves, dozing in the sunshine or sinking your toes into the sand, beach days by the sea offer something for everyone. But what exactly are we giving back to the ocean?
According to nonprofit Oceanic Global, every year 8–12 million metric tons of plastic wind up in the ocean. This plastic comes from many places: nearly 1 million plastic water bottles are bought per minute worldwide, and 91 percent of them are not recycled. Americans use more than 100 million plastic utensils everyday, and single-use cups break down into harmful microplastics.
The solution to this mounting problem is an old adage that still rings true today: reduce, reuse, recycle. By cutting out single-use plastics from your daily routine, purchasing from ethical brands and only buying what you need, you can make a positive impact on the health of the ocean.
In honor of World Oceans Day, we’ve compiled this handy packing list of eco-conscious supplies to bring the next time you go beach bumming. All stylish and responsible and vetted, you can rest assured that with these brands you’ll be giving back plenty.
Step one for any day spent soaking in the sunlight is a good layer of sunscreen. While it’s a beneficial must-have for beachgoers, many of the most common ingredients found in sunscreen are harmful to marine life and are particularly toxic to coral reefs. All Good makes products that keep people and place healthy, by skipping the most common harmful chemicals, like Oxybenzone, in favor of effective, non-toxic ingredients like non-nano Zinc Oxide. In addition to developing reef-safe products, All Good is also a member of 1% For the Planet, a group of businesses that donate one percent of all sales directly to environmental nonprofit organizations.
From bikini bottoms and one-pieces to cover ups and shorts, showing off new summer swimwear is one of the best parts of spending time by the water. Vitamin A Swim dives deep with their designs, creating swimsuits that are both stylish and sustainable. Brand founder Amahlia Stevens developed a premium swim fabric out of recycled nylon fibers; the brand also uses recycled and organic textiles and packaging materials to reduce waste and benefit the environment. As if that’s not enough, Vitamin A is also a member of 1% For The Planet and partners with organizations advocating for conscious consumers and responsible environmental practices.
3. Boyish Jeans
Between dips in the ocean, every beachgoer needs a pair of jean shorts or a go-to sundress to beat the heat. While jean shorts are a summer staple, denim production is traditionally wasteful, using up to 1,800 gallons of water for one pair of jeans. Boyish combats this with their denim production, using one-third the amount of water and recycling the water throughout the process so none goes to waste. Their fabric is cruelty-free and all materials are sustainably sourced. Boyish also gives back as members of 1% For The Planet and partners of One Tree Planted—planting one tree for every purchase made.
Not everyone goes to the beach to relax—for some people there’s no better place to break a sweat and get in a workout. Girlfriend Collective has made it easier than ever to pack stylish, sustainably-sourced workout gear for the beach or wherever your travels take you. Every pair of their compressive leggings begins as 25 post-consumer water bottles, always audited to ensure they are legitimately recycled. Working to directly clean up the oceans is a priority for Girlfriend Collective as well, as their recycled nylon fabric is created out of recovered ocean plastics like fishing nets—creating a genuine treasure out of someone else’s trash.
Beach days are one of life’s simple pleasures, but so is brushing off the sand and cleaning up after a long day outside by the waves. Whether you’ve traveled to your beach of choice, or you just need somewhere stylish to keep all your toiletries, OneNine5 is bringing a new level of eco-consciousness to the luggage industry. Their sustainable wash bags have a lining made from 100 percent recycled plastic, and all of their packaging is biodegradable or made from recycled materials. Thinking about the conscious traveler, their wash bags include a reusable airport liquids bag to make getting through airport security just a little easier.
Have you ever wished you could connect more deeply with a place or the people affected by pollution? In a collaborative new fundraising platform, Clean Waves is uniting artists, scientists and designers in pursuit of protecting the oceans—starting with sunglasses made from recycled ocean plastic. One hundred percent of the proceeds from each sale go back into protecting remote islands affected by pollution. In fact, each pair of sunglasses contains GPS coordinates to the specific island being protected by that purchase, creating a personal link and providing access to the people and projects on the island, no matter how far away it might be.
What’s a beach day without a beach towel? Whether you’re lounging around all day on the sand, or toweling off after a dip in the ocean, a beach towel is essential. That’s where Nomadix comes in. Made using certified post-consumer plastics, Nomadix towels are designed for durability and versatility. Rather than owning dozens of towels for different activities, Nomadix encourages its customers to use one versatile towel for all their needs. Advocating an “Own less. Do more.” mindset, their towels are perfect for everything from yoga and camping to beach days and travel. Another 1% for the Planet member, they are dedicated to producing their towels using sustainable manufacturing processes.
8. Terra & Co
Whether you’ve been lounging at the local beach or jet-setting around the world, there’s nothing better than unwinding in the evening and getting a good night’s sleep. Cap off your eco-conscious day by brushing your teeth with a sustainable, cruelty-free toothbrush and toothpaste. Terra & Co features toothbrushes made from bamboo—one of the world’s most sustainable resources and which is completely biodegradable—alongside their Brilliant Black toothpaste, made with activated charcoal and no flouride. All of Terra & Co’s products are vegan, cruelty-free, and don’t contain fluoride—reducing their chemical impact and making them a smart choice for the conscious consumer.
When packing for your next beach day or planning a full beach vacation, consider any of these conscious brands as a way to give back to the ocean that gives us so much. Every choice, no matter how small, makes a ripple. Together, we can lessen our environmental impact for smooth sailing in the future.