Bring Your Sustainability to the Beach

Whether you’re a pro at living a greener lifestyle, or just dipping your toe in the water, you don’t have to give up all of your favorite things to do a little good for the planet. You can relax and enjoy a day at the beach, knowing you’re doing your part. Here are a few ways to green your next beach trip and lower your impact.

Did you know that transportation is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions? Make a plan about how to get from your place to the beach. If you’re meeting with friends, see if they want to ride with you to cut down on emissions. And, if you’re not going too far and you’re able to, try eco-friendly options, like walking, biking, or taking public transportation to make an impact.

Planning ahead makes it easy to be conscientious about our everyday decisions. And, since every small choice you make now can make a big difference later, you’re also doing something good for future you. Pack reusable utensils, water bottles, tote bags — you don’t have to bring your best dishes, but in most cases, single-use paper or plastic just ends up in the trash. Reusable items are eco-friendly because they’re helpful for more than just the beach, too. Bring your favorite reusables to the park, to work, or on a camping trip.

Read the label on your sunscreen to see if it’s reef safe. Some chemicals like oxybenzone or octinoxate are in many sunscreens, and some of what we put on our skin ends up in the water. It may not seem like much, but nearly 14,000 tons of sunscreen ends up in the ocean every year, and that impacts sea life — particularly the fish we eat. Shop natural and mineral sunscreens and avoid aerosols. If you’re in the water a lot, you may want to try wearing UV-protective clothing. You’ll need less sunscreen and you won’t have to reapply every couple of hours.

Bring solar chargers to the beach to power your devices and you won’t have to worry about charging on the way home. They’re also great for extended trips, and many can double as flashlights and general power banks for more than just your phone during power outages. Just make sure you grab a portable one that’s compatible for multiple devices, so it’ll be easy to carry.

It’s time to turn up the heat. When you’re not at home, you don’t have to use as much energy. Before you leave, make sure to close your blinds and unplug any unnecessary devices or appliances — e.g., the TV, lamps, fans, etc. And, turn your thermostat up about 5°. It’ll keep your place from feeling uncomfortable when you return. If you use a programmable thermostat, you can set it and forget it. Even a difference of 1° can save a lot of energy.

Get more sustainable travel tips, calculate your carbon footprint, and try other ways to lower your impact in your everyday activities.

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