6 easy steps to a sustainable summer

Written by Lori Campbell on 29th Jun 2023

With the school holidays fast approaching, how about making your summer kinder to the environment this year? (You will probably also find that it costs less!)

From reef-safe sunscreen and meat-free BBQs to cardboard tents and recycled swimwear, here are our top tips for a clean, green, eco-friendly summer.

1. Dress ‘smart’

Summer is the season for fast fashion, with holiday suitcases filled with summer ‘essentials’ many wear once and throw away. With 300,000 tonnes of clothes incinerated or dumped in landfill every single year, our fast fashion habit is in need of urgent change.

Revolutionary brand Econyl is leading the charge with a regenerated Nylon made entirely from industrial plastic, waste fabric and fishing nets from oceans. Through an advanced recycling process, the waste materials are broken down to their raw-material state and then rebuilt with the exact same performance as nylon produced from fossil materials.

The Econyl process can be repeated infinitely, forming the basis for a closed-loop cycle of regenerated nylon. Econyl has partnered with top fashion brands including Arket and Stay Wild Swim to sell beautiful swimwear for the whole family. For those holiday essentials this year, choose a brand that uses Econyl.

If you’re headed to a muddy field for a festival rather than a beach, you can eco your wellies instead. Hunter is giving wellingtons a second life with its in-store and online recycling service, in time for festival season. You can drop off old Hunter boots at the Regent Street flagship store or arrange collection of their boots from your home for a 15 per cent discount on your next pair.


2. Be sun AND reef safe

Sunscreen is a must-have for summer, but a product that protects your skin may also be causing serious harm to the environment. Many sunscreens contain chemicals that wash off in the water and erode coral reefs. You can avoid this by choosing a ‘reef-safe’ suncream, such as Badger Balm or Stream2Sea.

Alternatively, you can stay safe the old fashioned way and choose to keep your skin and head covered during the hottest part of the day and expose your skin for that vital vitamin D before 9am and after 4pm.

 3. Choose a stay-cation

Even if you do everything you can to live sustainably, a single flight can wipe out all your Good work.

Brits collectively make 93 million overseas trips every year, creating a huge chunk of carbon emissions (aviation counts for two per cent of all global emissions). Take the Greta Thunberg approach and travel by train, or even better – save the planet and your purse by enjoying what the UK has to offer.


4. Eco your accessories

We all love a pool float for those lazy days on the water. But with most people leaving them at their holiday resort never to be used again, they play havoc on the environment. Instead, choose an environmentally-friendly pool float with biodegradable PVC – then pack it down and use it again next year!

If you’re surfing, choose a Firewire board which are made from recycled materials.

5. Go meatless

A charcoal BBQ session can emit around five kg of CO2 – enough to drive a small car 22 miles – add LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) to the mix and that adds another eight miles worth of CO2 to the journey in the same car.

Henry Dimbleby, the co-founder of Leon and the Sustainable Restaurant Association, advises changing the coal you use on the barbecue. Ecologicoal is made from olive pip waste and has no carbon footprint. You can also use FSC certified wood. Seek out natural fire lighters made from wood and vegetable oils too.

You can shrink your carbon footprint even further by minimising meat. The mass quantity of livestock the world raises for food accounts for a shocking 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Tomatoes, broad beans and courgettes are all in season and are brilliant on the barbecue. Oily fish is also great barbequed. Oneplanetplate.org is full of recipe inspiration.

There’s also no need for plastic straws. Aardvark paper straws are customisable and durable. The company also sells steel straws, Hummingbird Glass straws, Brush with Bamboo shatter-resistant options and Harvest Straws made from non-genetically modified grains.

Take a reusable water bottle with you everywhere, so you don’t resort to a plastic one. The world uses about one million plastic water bottles a minute, and more than 90 per cent of those don’t get recycled. One Green Bottle sells eco-friendly bottles from just £12, while a £95  ‘self-cleaning’ LARQ bottle uses UV-light to purify water.

Top 8 sustainable holiday destinations

6. Pack up your tent

If you’re thinking of leaving your tent behind at a festival, don’t! Around 250,000 tents are left at UK festivals every year, with most ending up in landfill.

If you really can’t face packing away a plastic tent before you head home, go for a recyclable cardboard tent from Dutch designers Kommer & Jan Portheine. The two-person Kartent costs under £50, though you’ll need to bear in mind that it’s still 2.4 metres when folded.


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