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6 Simple Ways To Make Your Beach Trip Gentle On The Planet

By Maria Cook

For many people, summer means trips to the beach with family and friends. But many people fail to remember that beaches are a part of nature, and thus visiting the beach has an impact on the environment, both on shore and in the water. When you go to the beach to have a relaxing break your day-to-day, it's easy to forget about how to take care of the planet. Sadly, this may be exactly why beaches often become covered with litter, leftover food, and trash that not only disrupts the relaxation of other beach-goers, but can have a seriously negative impact on the wildlife and pollution levels of the area.

Luckily, keeping your beach routine eco-friendly is fairly simple with just a little planning ahead of time. From which beach to visit to where to stay once you get there, here are six simple tips to ensure that you have a minimal-impact, green day at the beach.

1. Research beaches in your destination ahead of time.

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Before heading to the same beach you always do, or before booking your flight, if you're going away for a tropical vacation, do a bit of research on your beach's eco-friendliness. Some things to look out for: Does your beach have easily accessible recycling and trash containers for beach-goers? Are there rules about how close to the water restaurants, hotels, and other businesses are allowed to build their establishments? Do any such businesses use clean energy, or make a point to minimize energy use? 

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then your beach of choice is pretty eco-friendly! If all your answers were nos, never fear. Check out this list of the world's most eco-friendly beaches, and do a little research of your own. Chances are, you'll find a beach near your destination of choice that employs at least some eco-friendly policies. 

2. Bring snacks with biodegradable packaging.

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If you're planning to spend a full day at the beach, food is a must. But when planning the perfect beach picnic be sure to consider how much non-biodegradable packaging you're bringing along with your meals. Water in plastic bottles, shrink-wrapped cheeses or jerkies, and potato chips in plastic bags can have a big impact on the environment, even if you fully intend to properly dispose of all trash. 

Keep in mind, not all beach litter is intentional. Beaches are unpredictable environments, where the wind can easily carry your plastic baggie far away as soon as your head is turned. The solution? Don't bring the baggie in the first place! Pack snacks, such as fruits and veggies, that don't require non-biodegradable packaging. For things like sandwiches and water, use heavier, reusable containers that aren't likely to blow away. The beach will thank you! 

3. Choose an eco-friendly sunscreen.

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When swimming in natural bodies of water, such as the ocean, it's important to think about what you may be bringing into the water with you. Perfumes and deodorants, for example, wash off in water and may contribute to pollution, harming marine life. For this reason, it's wise to avoid using either at the beach. However, sunscreen is something that beach-goers can't go without, as its essential to keeping skin safe. And while many sunscreens claim to be waterproof, they will all wash off eventually. 

Luckily, there are eco-friendly sunscreens, made from non-toxic, all-natural ingredients, that won't do any harm when washed off in the water. Check out eco-friendly sunscreens, and don't forget to read up on all the ways your family can stay safe from the sun this summer.