Timeout

Five eco-friendly beach essentials


Stay stylish, and environmentally aware with this selection of swimwear, sunscreen and other summer holiday favourites.

Swimwear

UK consumers are forecast to spend £2.7bn on one-wear summer holiday clothes this year, including swimwear. Much of it will end up in landfill – an estimated 10,000 items of clothing are sent there every five minutes in the UK. Textile recycling is still in its infancy (recyclenow.com, for local fabric banks) but buying swimwear made from recycled plastic waste helps divert it from landfill and saves on raw materials and energy used in virgin fabric production.

Sloppy Tuna works with fishermen in the Mediterranean who recover plastic waste, which it then uses to create 100%-recycled plastic swimming trunks (£50). Batoko only uses recycled materials, including food containers and even old carpets, to create fabric for its swimsuits (£50, junior £25). Tide + Seek bikinis and swimsuits (£65) are made using only Repreve, a polyester created from 100%-recycled plastic (mainly bottles), as are trunks from Riz Board Shorts (£98).

Synthetic swimwear sheds microfibres of plastic when washed, which can end up in the ocean. To combat this, Cora Ball’s laundry ball (£29.95) and Guppyfriend’s washing bag (£24) are designed to catch the fibres; the latter also reduces fibre shedding and protects clothes.

Sunscreen

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) recommends using marine-safe sunscreen for holidays, wherever you are, as certain chemicals can harm marine life, including creatures found in UK waters, it says.

“Unfortunately sunscreens have been shown to have an impact on the marine environment – not just coral reefs but also other marine organisms,” the MCS said. “Oxybenzone and ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (octinoxate) are particularly harmful, and MCS recommends avoiding sunscreens with these ingredients.”

Bans on sunscreen containing these chemicals are planned in Palau island in the Pacific (from 2020), Hawaii (2021), and Key West in Florida (2021), and although they are not outlawed in Mexico, many cenotes and other tourist destinations ask visitors not to use them.

Sunscreen is categorised as chemical (absorbs UV rays) or mineral (creates a layer on top of the skin to deflect them). Chemical ones often require less-frequent application and, unlike some mineral ones, don’t leave a white cast on the skin. Boots says its Soltan suncream (from £3.50) contains neither oxybenzone nor octinoxate, because it sources “ingredients that protect environments across the globe”.

Amazinc has a mineral sunscreen (from £11), made from a combination of zinc oxide, magnesium oxide and lanolin, that comes in plastic-free, zero-waste packaging. Key to its eco-friendly credentials is that it doesn’t use nano mineral particles, which can harm the environment. It also avoids titanium dioxide because of the unsustainable high-temperature processes associated with its production as a UV filter. Shade Cream makes all-natural mineral sunscreen using four ingredients: zinc oxide, unrefined beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil (the last two being 100% Soil Association-certified organic). It also comes in a plastic-free tub and isn’t tested on animals.

Sunglasses

W R Yuma 3D-prints its sunglasses from recycled plastic found on the banks of waterways around Antwerp. It and partner company Stormkop work with local children to collect and clean waste for creative projects, aiming to help change perspectives on the value of waste material. Some of the plastic is then shredded and melted into 3D printing filament (ink), and used to print glasses (from £115).

Handcrafted from sustainable bamboo, Wear Panda sunglasses (from £69) have low environmental impact compared with most plastic shades. Bamboo is durable, renewable and relatively easy to grow, without needing pesticides or fertilisers. The company also works with Optometry Giving Sight, and for every pair it sells, someone without access to eye care will receive a medical eye examination and a free pair of prescription glasses.

Another one-for-one initiative comes from Wildwood, which plants a tree for every pair of sunglasses sold, to help combat deforestation. Each pair of handmade sunglasses, with carved wooden frames (from £69), is named after an endangered species and comes in a natural bamboo case.

Flip-flops

Thongs, slops, jandals … whatever you call them, they are worn by millions of people around the world. Recycling plastic flip-flops is difficult – some companies use them to create new products, such as OceanSole in Kenya – but largely they end up in landfill. The longer-term option is to buy ones made from sustainable materials. Ethletic uses sustainable, Fairtrade materials for its Rubb flip-flops (£18), which are vegan and created from 100% FSC-certified natural rubber from small farms in Sri Lanka. They are strong, lightweight and come in a range of colours. It also makes Fair-flops (£22), using the same rubber, with an organic cotton canvas top layer.

Brothers We Stand has created flip-flops by fusing rubber particles from old tyres, without adhesives or harmful chemicals. It says that the Ecoalf (£35), which comes in black, is the “first 100%-recycled flip-flop”.

Beach toys

Green Toys sand playset (£16.49) includes a brightly coloured bucket with a hard-wearing cotton rope, plus a spade, fork and castle mould. All are made from 100% recycled plastic and free from PVC, BPA and phthalates. Also from Green Toys is the EcoSaucer Flying Disc (£4.99), and like all its products it comes in recycled-cardboard packaging.

Created from Planwood, an eco-material made from waste-sustainable rubberwood sawdust from its factory, and coloured with organic pigments, the PlanToys sand playset (£29.99, Babipur) includes a bucket and three fish-shaped spades. All its toys come in recycled, non-toxic packaging.

“Changing the world one bubble at a time,” Dr Zigs has created a giant bubble kit (£19.99)that includes wooden wands from sustainable sources, untreated cotton ropes and non-toxic bubble mix.