ByLauren Murphy

Jun 17, 2019
young people running into turquoise water at beach

It just isn’t summer without a trip to the beach. Nothing beats the warm sun on your skin, sand in your toes, and refreshing water begging you to take a dip. But preparing for a trip to the beach, whether it’s a simple day trip or a week-long vacation, takes some effort.

While a day at the beach is often full of fun, it can go wrong without the right products to keep you comfortable. But more products often means more waste, which isn’t so easy on the planet. By finding the best (green) ones, you can be prepared and eco-friendly at the same time.

Here are five green products you need to add to your beach trip toolkit right now.

1. Sustainable Beach Bag

A big bag is essential when you’re headed to the beach. You’ll need a large one to carry the things on this list, plus any other must-haves. Opt for a lightweight one to make trips to and from the car or house easier. Consider bags with a waterproof lining to prevent irreparable damage in case it comes in contact with water. At the beach, that’s pretty likely to happen.

We like this beach bag from The Little Market. It checks all the eco-friendly boxes. First of all, it’s reusable. It’s also water-resistant, making it perfect for a day at the beach.

Not only is The Little Market committed to sustainability, but it’s also a company that works to ensure women’s empowerment and, most importantly, fair trade. By purchasing this beach bag, you can breathe easy knowing your bag was ethically sourced and made by artisans who were treated fairly.

Reusable burlap beach bag from The Little Market
Water resistant burlap beach bag from The Little Market

2. Mineral Sunscreen

There are so many sunscreen products on the market — choosing one is daunting. Sunscreens fall into two categories, both with vastly different environmental effects.

Chemical sunscreens cause a chemical reaction when the sun’s rays reach your skin, zapping them out of effect. They use tiny molecules to get this job done. When the sunscreen wears off, those molecules can make their way into the environment and harm animals who might accidentally ingest them. While experts agree this type of sunscreen works well, environmentalists tend to avoid it.

Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, physically block the sun’s rays from getting to your skin by using natural minerals, like zinc. According to the Personal Care Products Council, mineral sunscreens work just as well as their chemical counterparts.

Badger makes top-notch reef-friendly mineral sunscreens. Both pro divers and casual beach bums speak highly of this stuff — and we love it, too. It has ingredients that are good for your skin and good for the environment. That’s the double whammy of our dreams.

Badger reef-friendly mineral sunscreen
Badger reef-friendly mineral sunscreen

3. Slip-On Shoes

Washable shoes? Yes, please. Even better, these ones are made from recycled, single-use plastic bottles. Rothy’s has diverted 30 million of them from the landfill in the past three years. The finished product is a stylish, timeless shoe suitable for almost any occasion (including the beach).

Rothy’s are especially great for kids. At the beach, fearless kids tend to run, stomp, and jump everywhere they can. Thankfully, eco-friendly Rothy’s are extremely durable. And you can toss them in the wash when you get home to keep them looking new.

While going barefoot is typical at the beach, you always need a pair of comfy slip-ons to use when you go for long walks or head to the car. Toss a pair of Rothy’s in your bag to slide on in a flash.

Rothy's Blue Octopus Camo kids' sneakers
Rothy’s Blue Octopus Camo kids’ sneakers

4. Wooden Sunglasses

Perhaps the number one danger at the beach is the harsh sun. The sun’s rays can dry out and damage your skin, hair, and even your eyes. Sun protection is the key. Protect your pretty peepers with sunglasses. And while you’re at it, make your eyewear eco-friendly.

Opt for sunglasses made from sustainably-sourced materials instead of environmentally-devastating plastic. Look for ones made with recycled and/or biodegradable materials.

Woodzee has a number of stylish eyewear options that gave them a place on our list of beach must-haves. The frames of the sunglasses in their Woodzee Skate line are made from recycled skateboard decks.

Woodzee Malibu Recycled Skateboard sunglasses
Woodzee Malibu Recycled Skateboard sunglasses

5. Recycled Beach Towel

A day at the beach almost always means swimming. When the inevitable happens, dry off with a sustainable towel from Nomadix. As their website says, “One towel. Any activity.” Their towels are suitable for the beach, camping, yoga, and travel, which means you don’t need to own a lot of different towels for different activities.

Nomadix makes their towels with recycled post-consumer plastic, saving tons of waste from the landfill. Using one of these as an alternative to one manufactured from virgin cotton will help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Nomadix Island Time towel
Nomadix Island Time towel

Feature image by Pexels from Pixabay. This article was originally published on June 17, 2019; we updated some links in June 2023.

By Lauren Murphy

Lauren has a B.S. in environmental science, a crafting addiction, and a love for all things Pacific Northwest. She writes from her cozy downtown apartment tucked in the very northwestern corner of the continental U.S. Lauren spends her time writing and focusing on a healthy, simple and sustainable lifestyle.