The weather is getting warmer, and you know what that means. Time to get your beach bags and hats out for a day of fun in the sun, sea, and sand. However, you need to make sure your beach day activities are environmentally friendly.

During the past year, sewage contamination in UK rivers has surged by more than 85%. Our waterways are becoming increasingly polluted, making many of our rivers unsafe for swimming. The good news is that the garbage that washes up on our beaches is decreasing every year. With just a little more mindfulness and effort, we can make sure the beach is a safe place for us and the marine life that inhabits it.

Follow these tips to make sure you don’t lessen the beach fun for yourself and the people around you.

Be Mindful of Sea Creatures

Even the tiniest animals deserve to be treated with respect, no matter where they live. Lifting rocks could disrupt the wildlife that has settled in the area. Never take a starfish or a crab out of the water to play with them!

Don’t mess with the corals, keep your distance from the bigger mammals, and don’t feed the fish while you’re underwater. Avoid getting too close to the turtles and enjoy the underwater spectacles from afar. Learn about endangered and protected species, and make sure you respect their habitat. Remember, this is their home, and you’re only there to admire the natural environment.

Look for Eco-Friendly SPF

Because they hasten coral bleaching, sunscreens containing the chemical oxybenzone can harm and even kill young coral reefs. We’re not suggesting that you should stop using sunscreen. Protecting our skin from damaging UV rays and preventing skin cancer is essential at the beach, but so is protecting the marine life around you.

An important part of choosing sunscreen is to familiarise yourself with its ingredients before using it. When shopping for sunscreen, look for products that have only natural ingredients and steer clear of oxybenzone. This way, you will be safeguarding your skin and the environment!

Leave No Trash Behind

No matter how hard you try to make your beach trip as less wasteful as possible, you will end up creating trash. Sure, some government-assigned cleaners and volunteers do the hard work of cleaning up. But what if every family who visited the beach brought their own trash bags?

Invite your family and friends to clean up any plastic or other trash you come across throughout the day. Clean up the beach with your pals, or turn it into an open event for everyone in the area to join. Better yet, turn it into a game to encourage your kids: whoever collects the most garbage gets a free pass to get off dish duty.

Don’t Go Off Course

If you go to a busy beach, you can expect to find access points, such as boardwalks or steps, to get there. This doesn’t include secret beaches and secluded coves. No matter how much time it saves you, avoid stumbling across sand dunes to get to the beach quicker.

Delicate ecosystems thrive on the sand dunes. Birds often use them as a place to lay their eggs. The harmless exotic plants there are actually very important in protecting the sand dunes from eroding. Being an eco-friendly beach-goer means protecting these species as well.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Choose a vacation rental close to the beach so that you can easily walk or cycle there. In the summer, many seaside communities offer shuttles or public transportation for those who live further away from the coast. Public transport reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, making it a far better option than carpooling or using your own car.

Over the course of a year, simple actions such as turning off lights, heating systems, and heated towel racks can greatly impact energy consumption. When possible, dry your clothing and beach towels outside rather than in a clothes dryer, which uses a lot of energy.

Pack Plastic-Free Containers and Cutlery

Bringing dinner to the beach in a reusable container is the most efficient method. There is a good chance that plastic bags will be blown away and end up in a nearby body of water. These bags end up in the ocean, often getting eaten by or trapping marine animals.

Unlike single-use plastic containers and pre-packed meals, refillable containers reduce waste. This also applies to water bottles and cutlery. Bring home-cooked meals and pack reusable bamboo cutlery sets with them.

Head over to My Little Panda to find everything you need to have an eco-friendly beach day. Their online store has convenient bamboo lunch sets in different colours and sizes, toothbrush travel sets, and even hemp shopping bags to carry everything in! Feel free to contact them for more information.