7 Ways To Help Save The Ocean on Vacation
Dreaming of your next beach vacation? Before you pack your bags, learn how to help save the ocean from plastic pollution so we can all enjoy it for longer.
Estimated Read Time: 5 minutes
Beach vacations: Insta vs. reality
If you’re anything like us, you love scrolling through images of your dream destinations.
Maybe you picture yourself swinging in a hammock, swimming with turtles, or listening to the crashing waves in the clear blue seas.
While the pictures might make it seem perfect, sadly, Instagram isn’t always reality. Beneath the gorgeous ‘gram, plastic waste is destroying the world’s oceans.
Every year, millions of tourists flock to the world’s most beautiful beaches and don’t always treat them with the respect they deserve. Plastic waste is frequently left behind, finds its way into oceans, and harms marine life and our delicate ecosystem.
Some of the most found plastics left on the beach include:
- Cigarette butts
- Bottle caps
- Cups and plates
- Single-use bags
- Food wrappers
All of which can be avoided if we choose to switch to zero-waste products instead.
Government leadership and businesses are needed to control the plastic problem at large, but there are small and impactful things we can all do to help save our beaches.
If you’re lucky enough to spend this summer by the sea, here are 7 ways to have a plastic-free beach day.
Ocean quick facts:
- The ocean produces half of the world’s oxygen.
- Every minute, two garbage trucks of plastic are dumped into the ocean.
- There is more microplastic in the ocean than stars in the Milky Way
- Over 1 million marine organisms are killed each year due to plastic pollution in the ocean.
- If current trends continue, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish.
See this Oceans Fact Sheet for more!
7 tips for a plastic-free beach day
These vacation hacks can be easily integrated into your stroll-and-sunbathe routine (we’re not jealous at all!).
1. First things first, start packing
Sustainable choices require some planning and a plastic-free day at the beach is no different.
The following tips will give you some ideas for sustainable essentials you might want to bring, but before all that, you need to think about what to bring them in.
A plastic carrier bag is a no-go. That’s a vision that gives us nightmares. Tote bags and backpacks are always useful, but better yet, how about a backpack made of ocean plastic?
Each GOT BAG backpack we sell recycles 7.7 lbs of plastic recovered from the ocean, tackling the plastic problem at its root.
2. Getting hangry? Pack a picnic
No one wants to chill at the beach with a hangry monster who forgot to pack snacks. It kinda ruins the relaxing vibes.
In times of desperation, it might be tempting to go to the nearest shop for chips and candy. But packaged snacks = plastic pollution.
To avoid the hanger and keep the ocean clean, make a fun picnic. Keep it fresh with zero-waste wraps and you can stay well-fed and happy all day.
3. Finding the perfect spot? Clean up litter as you go
When you walk to find the perfect sunbathing spot, pick up any plastic wrappers you spot.
This is the easiest way to make the beach more pleasant for you and others. It prevents plastic from making its way to oceans and if other people see you litter-picking, they might be inspired to clean up too.
4. Don't forget your SPF! Just make sure it's sustainable
It’s super important to wear SPF whenever you’re in the sun, just make sure to pick one that doesn’t contain plastic in the packaging or formula.
According to Beat The Microbead, 72% of sun care products contain microplastics in the formula. When you run into the ocean barefoot and carefree, these microplastics rinse off into the water and can harm wildlife and coral reefs.
Fortunately, there are now many reef-safe and plastic-free alternatives to choose from instead.
5. Getting beach ready? Check your product labels
It’s not just sunscreen you should be picky about. Whatever products you require for your Instagrammable beach day, double check they don’t contain ingredients that can harm the oceans and marine life.
You can use Beat The Microbead App to scan the ingredients list for microplastics and harmful ingredients.
6. Time to go? Rinse off without plastic bottles
What’s better than the post-beach day shower-and-nap combination when you’re on vacation?
When it’s time to rinse the sand off (seriously, how does it get everywhere?), opt for zero-waste products. If you prefer to use bottled shampoo and conditioner, join the refill revolution and go for packaging that can be used time and time again.
7. Love the ocean long-time? Join a community clean-up
If you’re staying somewhere longer, or perhaps there’s a beach near where you live, check out if there’s a community beach clean-up.
This is a fun way to connect with other ocean lovers and make a larger impact by teaming up to keep plastic off the beach. The Ocean Conservancy has a useful map for finding a beach cleanup in your area.
Other ways to help save the ocean on vacation
Of course, sustainable travel goes beyond your lazy beach days. Here are some other ways you can make sure your beach vacation doesn’t harm marine life:
- If you prefer to book through a travel agent, check they’re committed to responsible and sustainable travel. You can usually find this information on their website.
- Be conscious and respectful of wildlife when you’re at the beach. Don’t touch marine life or coral reefs.
- If you eat seafood, try to make sure it’s sustainably sourced. You can find Oceanic Society has a useful guide to help you out.
- Consider donating to a charity that helps save the ocean. If you shop with us on World Ocean’s Day (8th June), we’ll donate 10% to our friends at Coral Restoration Foundation.
Learn more about the ocean
While you’re lazing on the beach, why not learn more about the ocean? The more you know, the more inspired you’ll be to help end plastic pollution.
Here are our top 5 ocean books and podcasts.
- The Brilliant Abyss by Helen Scales
- All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson
- Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver by Jill Heinerth
- Below the Edge of Darkness by Edith Widder
- The World of Coral Reefs by Erin Spencer