Top 12 Eco-Friendly Summer Essentials
I love summer for its sunshine, vibrant greens, fragrant blooms, beach days, park picnics, woodland hikes, and candy-colored sunsets…but let’s be honest:
Things can get a little hectic during this time of year.
It’s like we’ve all woken from our winter slumbers and feel the need to jam-pack a year of fun and family vacations into a few short months.
Most days, we’re barely indoors, let alone home, and this is when convenience culture can really take a toll on our eco-friendly goals.
If we head out of our homes unprepared, we can find ourselves doing and buying things we long thought we’d given up.
That’s why I put together this summer essentials list. Each of the following items has an eco-friendly stamp of approval and will prevent you from buying unnecessary items while you’re out enjoying the summer sunshine.
1. Reusable Water Bottle
Everyone should have their own reusable water bottle that they bring everywhere.
Why? Well, when you’re in the summer heat without a supply of water, you’re likely to break down and buy an expensive beverage in a plastic or glass bottle. Whether it’s water or soda really doesn’t matter. These bottles often end up in landfills or oceans where they either leach microplastics into surrounding ecosystems for hundreds of years or burden already stressed recycling systems. Oh yeah, and they’re also a complete waste of money. In fact, bottled water isn’t even regulated in Canada, unlike tap water reserves.
Bring your own bottle and fill it for free with fresh water.
2. Big Beach Bag
Carrying a big beach bag serves two purposes: It provides a place for all your eco-friendly items, and it prevents you from accepting a plastic bag if you happen to purchase something while you’re out and about.
3. Natural Sunscreen
Whether you’re at the beach or working in the garden, you should have some natural sunscreen ready to reapply every few hours.
Making your own has a lot of advantages, including being stored in a reusable container, and can be part of your overall sun safety routine. Interested in an easy DIY recipe for homemade natural sunscreen? I thought you’d never ask.
4. Eco-Friendly Bug Repellant
As someone who loves wandering the woods, I know firsthand how a bug swarm can ruin an otherwise amazing day.
Be prepared with some eco-friendly bug spray that won’t damage the ecosystem you’re trying to enjoy.
This one from Wellness Mama is made with essential oils like eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, and citronella.
5. Wide-brimmed Hat
Wearing a hat prevents against sunburn and sunstroke, and it reduces your risk of finding ticks hitching a ride on your hair.
Bringing a hat also prevents you from buying something you already have at home. Remember, part of eco-friendly living is keeping our material items to a minimum. Find a hat you love and hang on to it. You can keep it in your beach bag, in the car, or by the door so you don’t forget.
6. Fresh Fruit
I’m all about snacks. When you’re playing at the beach, running around in the park, or heading out on a road trip, you are bound to get hungry.
Fresh fruit provides essential vitamins and hydration so you don’t get hangry and buy something in plastic packaging or styrofoam. The bit of sweetness will tie you over until you get home for a real meal.
7. Change of Clothes
Trust me on this one. You just never know what a summer day is going to bring: a spontaneous sweaty hike, splash pad adventure, afternoon swim… Bring some extra clothes along so you’re covered for all the fun summer has to offer. This will prevent you from being uncomfortable or unprepared and stopping roadside to buy a brand new dress, sweater, or pair of shorts. Again, the goal is to leave the house with everything you might need so you can focus on fun above all else and stop collecting stuff you already have.
8. Clean Pair of Socks
Sure, clean socks are always a good idea, but an extra pair can double as a lightweight reusable container or on-the-go garbage storage.
Fill with foraged berries, prepared snacks, or bring along to collect any litter you come across or make throughout the day.
9. Beeswax Food Wrap
Beeswax food wrap is foldable and can fit anywhere with ease. You can bring it along for all sorts of eco-friendly storage needs: hair-ties, bobby pins, trail mix, and sandwiches.
Beeswax food wraps also make a great way to entertain busy kiddos in the car. As I learned last weekend, the fun of folding these wraps into new shapes is quite appealing to five-year-olds.
10. Large Picnic Blanket
A picnic blanket helps protect the grass and ground cover crops when you want to sit or lay down in the summer sunshine.
It also doubles as a towel, car seat cover, or magic carpet for kids. It’s all about perspective.
11. Beach Umbrella
Whether it’s sunny or raining, an umbrella provides a reasonable amount of shelter, meaning you won’t go wandering into stores or restaurants seeking refuge from the weather. This stops you from buying things you don’t need simply because you’re seeking some shade or looking to stay dry.
Bring ’em so you don’t have to buy ’em. Sunglasses are small, lightweight, and can be hung from your shirt if all else fails. There’s really no reason not to bring them. Even if it’s raining when you head out, the weather could turn. It’s better to be prepared and protect your eyes from sun damage.
Bringing along necessary items helps cut down on wasteful spending and consumerism, contributing to your eco-friendly lifestyle and ensuring you’re always prepared for all the fun summer has to offer.
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