Hazel Needham

Hazel Needham

A day at the beach

A day at the beach, nothing says summer lovin’ quite like a day at the beach. But, as you’re out catching rays, have you thought about how a day at the beach could leave years’ worth of damage to the environment?

Check out our best beach tips and make sure your beach day doesn’t harm the planet.

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1) Skip the plastic

A day at the beach is incomplete without a little al-fresco dining, but don’t be tempted to fall down the convenience plastic trap.

If you’re packing a picnic, don’t just grab items from the supermarket in disposable packaging (you know the ones – fruit salad pots, sandwiches and sausage rolls in plastic wrappers). Make your own sandwiches and fruit salad and bring them in lightweight, reusable tupperware.

It may seem a hassle in terms of transportation and washing up, but a tiny bit of laziness on a day at the beach has a huge impact on our planet. Up to 13 million pounds of plastic ends up in our ocean each year. Buying and consuming less, wherever possible, helps protect marine life. It also protects the planet’s natural resources. 

2) Protect the planet with reef-safe sunscreen

In peak summer, a day at the beach can turn into a painful regret. We all know what it’s like to be caught out without sunscreen (sorry, Mum!) and understand the benefits of sunscreen in terms of preventing burns and cancers. To conclude? Sunscreen = great for keeping humans safe. For the coral reef, however, it’s a different story.

Reef safe suncream

Sunscreen filters UV rays physically, where minerals literally reflect the sun’s UVA and UVB off the skin, and chemically, where filters react with the sunlight and absorb the radiation before it gets to your skin.

These filters have become nanosized, so a day at the beach doesn’t have to involve you walking around in a thick white paste. 

One of the biggest coral bleaching causes? These nanosized filters. How much sunscreen should you use to stay sun-safe for a day at the beach? A spray or two? A couple of millimetres?

It may not seem like a lot, but it adds up – 14,000 tons of sunscreen are washed off into the oceans every year. That’s not good news for the future of the reef.


Reef Safe sun screen

So the second way of making a day at the beach sustainable? Take reef-safe sunscreen. Start by checking the ingredients: avoid “oxybenzone” where possible (now legally banned in Hawaii to protect their local coral reefs), and instead buy mineral-based sun creams with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

You don’t have to be a chemist to be able to do this, and to make things easier for you, many companies now have a little ‘reef-safe’ badge on them!

reef safe suncream graphic

3) See a day at the beach as a chance to clean up

The environmental crisis is bigger than our immediate situation. Leaving no trace behind us after a day at the beach is the least you can do to contribute to a sustainable future. Have you considered cleaning up more than just what you brought with you?

Join an organised beach clean – there are plenty of Facebook groups – or have a wander along the coast with your friends and see who can fill a bag of litter the fastest. Having a clean up of the area around you links directly to the roots of One Tribe – we all belong on this planet, and we can all work together to protect it.

Invest in sustainable companies, adopt sustainable lifestyle choices – and have a day at the beach that you can enjoy and build a cleaner environment.

plastic bottle at the beach

4) Enjoy the beauty of nature, and spread the love!

When you buy from one of our One Tribe partners, you are committing to protecting trees. You can commit to protecting the wildlife during a day at the beach too – and you can teach others along the way.

The best way of learning about the environment in the first place is to immerse yourself in it: look out for crabs, dolphins, birds, seaweed. Appreciate the beauty of nature and ensure that you stay on the path: stomping over sand dunes can damage delicate ecosystems and lead to beach erosion.

Pass on your knowledge to others, particularly children, as their investment in nature fuels pro-conservation behaviours and attitudes in the future. Education creates passion, and with passion comes the power to change.

Most importantly, a day at the beach should be a date to enjoy. Just make sure that a day at the beach can be something that others can enjoy after you.

For more tips on how you can incorporate simple sustainable practices into your lifestyle, check out our article here on how to save the planet on your lunch break!

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