Ready to go a little greener during summer? It's the perfect time to heat up your sustainability efforts with these 5 simple eco-friendly tips.
1. Reusable water bottles will keep you cool all summer
We know Australian summers are beautiful, but can also be brutally hot with many people suffering from heatstroke every year. It’s important to keep your cool and stay hydrated as temperatures rise, but there’s no need for it to cost the earth.
Single use plastic water bottles won’t keep your drinks cool, but they do contribute to the 8 million tons of plastic that ends up in our oceans each year.
Reusable double walled water bottles can keep your water chilled for up to 12 hours – perfect for hot summer days. We recommend choosing a reusable bottle that’s dishwasher safe, leak proof and most importantly plastic free (look for stainless steel or borosilicate glass) to carry your drinking water and avoid the temptation of buying bottled water.
Don’t like the taste or smell of your tap water? You can still say no to single use plastic bottled water this summer with a portable and eco-friendly water filter!
In a year, just 1 Bench Top Water Filter can provide the same amount of filtered water as 3,155 600ml plastic water bottles. They’re also easy to DIY install in under 5 minutes to most taps and produce great tasting water that’s free from unpleasant taste, odour and disinfection chemicals (and better quality than most plastic bottled water!).
Stay eco-friendly and healthily hydrated by using a Bench Top Water Filter to improve your water quality. They’re better for your body, your wallet and the environment!
2. Take 3 for the sea
Joining the Take 3 for the Sea movement is probably the easiest way you can kick start your eco-friendly summer. Help keep Australia beautiful every time you explore nature by simply taking 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave. Be it the beach, waterway or … anywhere and you have made a difference.
Take 3 for the Sea was founded by two friends - marine ecologist, Roberta Dixon-Valk and youth educator, Amanda Marechal who joined forces with environmentalist, Tim Silverwood, and the trio publicly launched Take 3 as an organisation in 2010. Their idea that a simple action could produce profound consequences has inspired worldwide participation, helping to reduce plastic pollution and waste in the ocean and broader environment.
3. Use an eco-friendly reef safe sunscreen
Being sun smart during the Australian summer is non-negotiable. Most Aussies have the ‘Slip Slop Slap’ chant drilled into us from early childhood (click here for a nostalgia hit), especially since Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
But did you know it’s important to choose an eco-friendly, non-toxic sunscreen while protecting your skin? Many popular sunscreens actually contain harmful chemical ingredients like oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate or parabens, that when we jump in the ocean, pool or shower, wash off our skin and into our waterways.
These chemicals then make their way out to sea and onto our precious coral reefs. According to two studies, led by NOAA researchers and partners, toxic chemicals found in common sunscreens and other skincare products can have extremely harmful effects on marine life:
- Green Algae: Can impair growth and photosynthesis.
- Coral: Accumulates in tissues. Can induce bleaching, damage DNA, deform young, and even kill.
- Mussels: Can induce defects in young.
- Sea Urchins: Can damage immune and reproductive systems, and deform young.
- Fish: Can decrease fertility and reproduction, and cause female characteristics in male fish.
- Dolphins: Can accumulate in tissue and be transferred to young.
An easy and eco-friendly choice is to choose a reef safe sunscreen to shield your skin from the harsh rays of the sun. Opt for mineral sun protection formulas and especially avoid chemical UV filters like oxybenzone (BP-3) and benzophenone-2 (BP-2).
Our favourite reef safe sunscreen: Seagull Milk
Seagull Milk is made from premium Australian mineral based active ingredients, completely reef safe, vegan and free from all chemical UV filters to keep your skin protected in the most natural way possible! This Aussie company also donates part proceeds of every tube sold to Take 3 for the Sea.
4. Eco-friendly party supplies
During summer, there’s a high chance you’ll either be hosting or attending parties, picnics and barbecues while celebrating the festive season.
Due to its convenience, disposable food ware is a normal go-to when planning a get-together, but it’s time we consider how these single use items impact the environment.
When planning or attending your next summer soiree, why not consider some great environmentally friendly party supplies - like recycled material products or natural material biodegradable products. Great alternatives to traditional use-and-throw-away cutlery now exist like palm leaf plates and 100% recycled fibre napkins.
Or, even better than single use items, opt for reusable items – bring your own cutlery and plates. It might not be as convenient having to wash everything up post your event, but by refusing single use items you’re already saving cash and precious natural resources.
Another option to party sustainably is to avoid individually packaged items. Instead of canned soft drinks or plastic bottled water, set up a chic drinks table that your guests will love.
For chilled and freshly filtered tap water on tap for your party, you can install a water filtration system or reverse osmosis system with a chiller. Set up a drink dispenser filled with your cool freshly filtered water next to a selection of fruit, herbs and cordials so guests can customise their drinks for an instant party hit!
5. Fashion isn’t always eco-friendly
When shopping for your summer wardrobe, make sure to consider the effects that fast fashion can have on the environment. More and more research has revealed that synthetic clothing (such as polyester, nylon and acrylic) shed hundreds of thousands of tiny plastic fibres — less than 5 millimetres in length, every wash. The fibres can eventually reach the ocean via our drainage systems, with some really negative environmental effects and sadly no solution for removing them.
These plastic and toxic microfibres are increasingly being found in the vital organs and tissues of aquatic animals. Studies have found the fibres eaten by aquatic animals result in their decreased health, energy and ability to feed and reproduce – while increasing their ability to absorb persistent organic pollutants.
So, what’s the eco-friendly fashion solution? Amsterdam-based Plastic Soup Foundation, an ocean conservation project co-funded by the European Union, says better quality clothing or fabrics coated with an anti-shed treatment could help reduce microfibres entering our oceans. Choose to buy better quality clothing, made from natural materials. This type of clothing tends to last longer, feel great on your skin and is better for the environment.
For clothing you already own, you can help stop the microfibres washing out to sea by trapping them with a Cora Ball in your washing machine. The Cora Ball is made of 100% recycled and 100% recyclable soft and stretchy plastic. When this handy laundry ball is added to your washing, the microfibres tangle together inside the Cora Ball, forming into fuzzballs that can be emptied into your bin. The Cora Ball is proudly "a human-scale solution to microfibre pollution".