Aussies love the beach, and I'm so happy we're a nation that prides itself on our pristine shores - but there's still more we can do to clean up our act!
If you love the sun, surf and sand, you probably also have a vested interest in protecting our oceans.
Leaving behind beach gear can be just as bad for the environment as littering, with plastic being right up there with cigarette filters and beverage cans as the most found items on the beach.
While there isn’t a biodegradable solution for everything (yet!), steering clear of plastics at the beach is a massive step in the right direction. It takes on average 450 years for plastics to degrade, and in some cases can take up to 1,000 years.
To avoid taking unnecessary plastic items to the beach - and to protect our environment, in general - consider these eco-friendly alternatives to your usual summer essentials:
This stylish Beach umbrella is made from 100 per cent raw unbleached cotton. It can be configured in a number of ways to give you shade during high and low sun. They’re big too so you can fit the whole family underneath nicely.
Wearing sunscreen during summer is a must, and even more so by the beach as you get the sun's glare off the ocean.
This sunscreen is made from the active ingredient Zinc Oxide, which gives the best known UV protection. I’ve used this brand on myself and family for a long time, and I’ve always been fully protected.
It does take a little getting used to, as it’s not just ‘spray and swim’, but the coverage is well worth the extra three minutes it takes to rub in.
Seeking shade and using sunscreen is obviously important at the beach, but you still need a hat! Keeping our heads out of direct sun is so important, and can save us from heat stroke on those hot days.
This lovely Trilby hat is made from hemp, which is a fast growing sustainable crop - and it's biodegradable!
This American swimwear brand is incredibly eco conscious, from start to finish. All of their pieces are made up of at least 82 per cent recycled fibres or plastic water bottles.
I’m always surprised by how much swimwear costs, and GreenLee Swim isn’t a cheap brand but it’s by no means the most expensive either, and personally I think it’s worth every penny!
When we pack the family up after a day at the beach, it’s not unusual for something to get left behind, and so often that ‘something’ is a plastic beach toy!
Zoë B Organic’s has created a biodegradable beach set made from corn. So if it were to be washed out to sea it would take around 2-3 years to break down, instead of the 450 years that plastic takes. A great addition to the beach bag if you have little ones.
I am so impressed with this picnic set. It’s made from vegetable waste matter, starch, bamboo and rice husks.
It’s heat resistant, dishwasher safe, reusable, and it naturally biodegrades once buried in the ground. You get four plates, four bowls and four cups along with a 24 piece cutlery set for your money. I am 100 per cent sold on this!
Keeping food and drinks cold at the beach can be hard when the sun is out. Carrying around either the ice, or cool bricks can be annoying and heavy, but Packit has come up with a great idea. They’ve created a bag that freezes!
There are internal cool packs within the fabric of the bag, which means you can put it in the freezer the night before and keep your essentials cool for your day on the beach.
Plastic bottles make up a vast amount of the five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans.
There is a very simple solution to this and you can buy it everywhere – a reusable bottle! There are so many brands out there, but I love bbbyo, as this bottle is made of glass. Glass is endlessly renewable, whereas plastic bottles can only be recycled once.
A good, big beach towel is most definitely an essential. Noosa Beach Towels are large in size, so perfect for wrapping around yourself.
It’s made from a highly absorbent Egyptian Cotton and is extremely light weight, so it folds away nicely. They come in two sizes, the standard 2m x 1m, and the extra large 2.25m x 1.6m - perfect sizes for a multitude of uses, from towel to picnic blanket, wrap, table cloth or shade!
10. Amazonas Thongs
When the sun gets high and we’re all packing up to get out of the high temperatures, getting from the beach to the car can be a bit of an ordeal without shoes!
These thongs are made from recycled scrap rubber - and nothing is wasted! Not even the dust from the grinding plates are thrown away. Amazonas has also set up a process to reuse the water in its production line, saving 30 per cent of their water usage.