Empty, dirty plastic bottles on a beach


Let the sun set on plastic…


As a warm sea breeze blows through your hair and your toes sink into soft sands – there’s nothing quite like a beach holiday. It’s safe to say we can all agree that some beach days become a little less picturesque when plastic is washing up on (what were once) serene sandy shores… With issues around plastic use at the forefront of much media speculation, things are becoming more and more concerning. 

But not all is lost! There are things we can all do to keep those special beach days (and the world) all the more beautiful. Here are some handy tips of how you can take action, and enjoy your day of sand, sea and sanctuary as we watch the sun set on plastic…

Stop using disposable toiletries

Clear, plastic dispensable toiletries with pump and roll-on applications laid out on a work top

First things first, if you’re going to be ‘sunning it up’, you’re going to want to look your best. Opt for reusable shampoo, shower gel, and sun cream bottles instead of splashing out on mini alternatives. They don’t always last that long, and are just as unfriendly on your pocket as they are the environment.

And to avoid those funny face tan lines opt for razors with changeable blades, so you aren’t throwing money down the drain (literally!).

Pack a canvas bag

Vibrant coloured canvas bag on a sandy beach with sunglasses and sun hat

So, it’s beach day! Now, whether you enjoy fun and thrills of watersports or being carefree with your favourite read, you’ll want to be prepared! Packing a canvas bag means not only have you got something you can use more than once, but you’ve also got a sturdy alternative to a plastic bag. Beach towels, a change of clothes, your favourite fiction novel, a snorkel – whatever you plan on taking, you’ll have enough room!

And don’t worry about sun cream spillages, or if it gets covered in sand… there are plenty of canvas bags that are machine washable so you can use it time and time again! Just pop it in the wash, turn it to an environmentally friendly 30 degrees and voila!

Pack a picnic

Wicker picnic basket laid out on a picnic blanket at the beach, finished off with two glasses and a bottle of champagne.

Now, after a day of running around with the kids, building sandcastles and swimming in the warm waters – let’s face it, you’re going to build up quite the appetite! An environment efficient (and cost-effective!) way to cut down on single-use plastics is by packing a picnic. Supermarkets and convenience stores may be convenient to us with sandwiches and lunchtime offerings. But being packaged in unrecyclable materials isn’t helping our poor planet!

So take a trip (handy tote bag in hand) to the local supermarket where you can handpick some of the finest and freshest produce without the plastic packaging – a delight for the sight and the senses! And what better way to have a taste of the local delicacies than with your loved ones with your very own seascape backdrop?

Take a reusable water bottle

Closeup of a man holding a glass reusable water bottle with the text 'life without plastic' written in it, on the beach, with the ocean in the background

It’s important to stay hydrated, especially at the high heat of the midday sun, so you’re going to want to make sure your thirst is quenched and plenty of liquids are on board. With many countries working hard in recent years to make sure their tap water is safe to drink from – you’ll be pleased to know that gone are the days of having to lug litres of water from the supermarket back to your villa.

Just simply packing a water bottle in your suitcase means that not only can you avoid paying over the odds at the airport but you’ll also have it to hand for the duration of your trip! Also, many water bottles now have self-cooling technologies so no more warm water surprises! Win, win!

Choose mineral-based sun creams

Brother and sister applying suncream lotion at the beach

Now for the most important part! Slapping on sun cream is essential for any sunny day – wherever you are! And whilst it may protect your skin from UV rays, some sunscreens include micro-plastics and micro-beads that negatively affect our oceans and wildlife.

Now, you can’t avoid wearing sun cream altogether as we all have fallen victim to the odd bit of sunburn/stroke/rash… here and there and we can all agree – it isn’t pleasant! However, simply looking for a mineral-based cream that protects from both UVA & UVB rays, without using chemicals, silicones and synthetic fragrances means you’re doing your bit for the environment. And, if your tan needs a little help, some come with accelerators so you can be the envy of all your friends!

Nothing ex-straw-dinary just stop with the straws…

Female holding a handful of straws at the beach

Well, that’s everything! You’re ready for all the sun, sea and sand until your heart’s content. And, if you’re taking a stroll along the seafront and fancy a little tipple, or two, to taste then why not? After all, you are on holiday! From a crisp cosmopolitan to a minty mojito, the hardest point might be what to have. But one little change to your order could really make the difference… the straw! One of the most used single-use plastics – skipping sipping on a straw is a good place to start!

If we’ve whet your appetite for some sun, sea and splash then take a look at our villas by the beach

Ben Cameron

Ben Cameron is a at James Villa Holidays.

See all articles by Ben Cameron

See all articles by Ben Cameron

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