Summer is in full swing and beach vacations can provide an immense amount of enjoyment. Whether you enjoy soaking up the sun, playing in the sand or diving into waves, there is usually something fun for everyone to do at the beach. While beach vacations are a lot of fun, they can also be quite a bit of work. Between buying supplies, packing the car, getting there and actually spending some quality time lounging, there are a lot of ways to leave a huge carbon footprint. If you are planning a beach vacation this month, here are a few ways to enjoy the surf while treading lightly on our planet.
Choose eco-friendly beach toys: Beach toys are a great way for kids to pass the time while in the sun. Try to find ones made from recycled materials, or buy them second hand when possible.
Skip the soap in the outdoor shower area: Many beaches have outdoor shower areas to help rinse off the sand before heading back inside. Don't use soap or shampoo in them as it will wash into the local water source, and possibly right into the ocean. A quick rinse with water is all you need.
Obey all caution signs: Many beaches restrict access to certain areas of the dunes or even the beach itself due to nesting animals. Keep children away from sea turtle nests and bird habitats when they are clearly marked.
Buy eco-friendly swimsuits: Many companies today are making eco-friendly swimsuits from recycled water bottles, organic cotton or bamboo. Choose those over conventional materials whenever possible.
Take home only photos and memories: It is important that you not take home everything you find at the beach. While a few shells in your pocket aren't too big of a deal, sand dollars, star fish and other marine life are NOT souvenirs!
Leave behind only footprints: Remember to pack out any trash you create while on the beach, as leftover food can become a major hazard to wildlife. Try packing a waste free lunch by using reusable Ziploc® Brand Containers. Cloth napkins won't blow away in the wind like paper varieties and a reusable water bottle won’t tip over and spill in the sand!
Support small, local businesses: Many beach area businesses rely on tourism to bring in a large chunk of their income. While on your beach vacation, consider shopping at small, local stores.
Do you have any beach trips planned this summer?
Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.