10 Ethical Beach Essentials For Summer

Got a beach holiday planned this year? Don’t forget your ethical beach essentials!

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

When the barometer rises and it’s finally time to hit the beach, you’re gone for the whole day. It’s a glorious ritual – finding the perfect spot, eating a picnic lunch on the beach, dipping into the sea when the heat gets too unbearable. And maybe playing a game or two of volleyball or paddle, why not?

But since you are out for the entire day, you need to be sure you’re well equipped.

Sure, you could just pop into the local fast fashion store and grab a bikini, flip flops and a hat. But please – don’t!

Shopping ethically is more important this season than any other time. That’s because non-ethical products, such as plastic bottles, chemical SPFs, or plastic flip flops, can do some serious damage to aquatic life and the planet.

Here, I’ve come up with 10 ethical beach essentials you’ll definitely need for the perfect day at the beach. They include products that are made from recycled items, biodegradable materials, and that give back socially. Or all of the above!

Image below: Net A Porter

10 Ethical Beach Essentials For This Summer

1. The Right Bathing Suit

This is, of course, your starting point for ethical beach essentials. You want something that looks amazing, stays up when you’re swimming, and that’s made in full respect of our planet.

Faithful The Brand checks all those boxes, and more! Each piece of their luxury sustainable swimwear is hand-dyed, printed and sewn by fairly paid local artisans in Bali.

We love their ‘La Barca’ swimsuit since this can also easily be a top. How so? Just throw a skirt or shorts over it! Or, top it off with a soft linen shirt for the perfect day by the water.

Price: Around $221

ethical bathing suit

2. A Gorgeous Cover Up

But what to slip over your swimsuit when you’re feeling cooler, more modest, or outright sunburned? How about this gorgeous kaftan, which you can also wear on top of a gorgeous summer dress, too.

The winged kimono-style dress is made from soft cotton and is airy, flowy and elegant. Just the thing any beach trip needs to protect the body while keeping it cool, too.

Each piece is hand cut, sewn and individually dyed with natural colours by fairly paid Mexican artisans, so you’ll feel good wearing this for many reasons.

Price: $550

10 Ethical Beach Essentials For Summer

3. An Ethical Towel

Make a statement about marine life conservation with a beach towel from Sandcloud. Made from 100% recycled materials including recycled cotton, polyester, and organic Turkish cotton, these extra-large towels not only give you plenty of space to lounge on. But they’re also perfect for drying off after a dip.

Bonus: every different pattern is a homage to the marine world!

Price: From $50

10 Ethical Beach Essentials For Summer

4. The Best Ever Flip Flops

Sure, you could pop into Topshop or H&M and grab a pair of plastic flip flops for the beach. But given the poor state of the workers that made them, and the fact that they’ll probably be made of icky plastic, they’re not going to count as summer beach essentials.

Foam Life flip flops will, though! That’s because these ethical beach essentials are made of recycled sugar cane, recycled cork and hemp. Plus, all FoamLife products are shipped in plastic free packaging, making them good for your feet AND the planet.

Price: Around $30

ethical beach essentials

5. The Ideal Beach Bag

I know you’re probably thinking: this is a great list of ethical beach essentials! But where will I pack all that stuff? And the answer is: in an eco-friendly bag!

This beautiful tote is made from jute and recycled saris. It’s perfect for all your ethical beach essentials, or even for your grocery shopping! Of course, due to the recycled and handmade nature of this item, each is unique and will vary.

Price: Around $60

jute beach bag

6. Reef Safe Sunscreen

Sun protection is definitely one of the top ethical beach essentials. But sadly, most brands are full of nasty chemicals that can hurt your health, and marine life, too.

Luckily, Juice Beauty makes an SPF that’s highly effective, but that won’t leave toxic residues in the water that can damage coral and other aquatic life.

Also: this one below is designed for sports, and stays on even after swimming or sweating! Perfect for the heat.

Price: $32

10 Ethical Beach Essentials For Summer

7. Reusable Water Bottle

Why bring plastic bottles that you’re going to toss into the trash when you can take a reusable bottle and fill up with your favourite beverage? Thanks to its secret compartment, the 2 in 1 Secret Bottle helps you to carry two drinks in one easy bottle so you no longer have to decide which drink to take.

This cleverly designed flask holds two drinks in one thanks to the 18-ounce bottle’s hidden 10-ounce cup tucked away inside. It allows you to easily carry drinks with you, perfect for sharing with children or for taking two drinks on the go with you.

Whether you’re taking water, a hydrating smoothie or a cup of coffee with you to watch the sun rise, it keeps drinks hot for 6 hours and cold for 12.

Price: $69

reusable water bottles

8. A Gorgeous Sun Hat

What better way to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays than with a stylish sun hat? These are definitely one of the most vital ethical beach essentials to save your hair and face from the sun. Straw hats are bang on trend for the season. After all, they’re made of simple, recyclable materials, right?

Yep, we know this one with the gorgeous scarf we’ve featured by Eugenia Kim is a bit pricey. But you can find a cheaper version here.

Price: $525

10 Ethical Beach Essentials For Summer

9. Sexy Sunnies

This summer, it’s a case of ‘the bigger, the better’ when it comes to sunglasses. And no one makes them sexier than Westward Leaning!

The brand is famous for supporting various philanthropic groups. In fact, each style incorporates unique materials into each pair of glasses to represent the brand’s charitable commitments.

For example? A portion of the proceeds from their core collection models, like these below, will benefit the National Parks Foundation. The money goes to support their efforts to protect the parks for future generations.

Price: Around $199

ethical sunglasses


10. The Perfect Read

Our final of the ethical beach essentials? A book!

I don’t know about you, but for me, a good read is something that I’m never without! Being on holiday is really one of the only times I can get any reading done, and there’s no better place for it than on the beach. At the top of my list this year? How Not To Die – it’s a great book about how to use food as medicine, basically!

Price: $14.95

how not to die

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
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