Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer and beach season, so it’s the perfect time to learn how to protect our beaches and ocean.
If you love the beach, you can show how much you care by following these tips:
- Opt for reusable food items. Considering that there are already an estimated 5 trillion pieces of trash floating in our ocean, it’s always a good idea to choose reusable instead of plastic—but it’s especially important at the beach, where plastic items could directly blow into the water. Instead of plastic bags, use your own reusable containers. Bring silverware instead of plastic utensils, and as always, fill up your reusable water bottle in lieu of plastic water bottles!
- Take your recyclables home with you. If your beach doesn’t offer public recycling options, don’t be tempted to throw away your recyclables. Bring them home with you to recycle later.
- Leave no trace. Leave the beach as clean as you found it! Bring a reusable bag to stash your belongings, and make sure you’re not leaving anything behind. If you want to take it a step further, go for a clean-up walk on the beach and pick up any trash you find!
- Protect the local ecosystem. Stay on trails and public footpaths to help protect the local beach ecosystem. On many beaches, paths are in place so that visitors don’t walk over dunes or through grassy areas that are helping to anchor sand and prevent beach erosion.
- Screen your sunscreen! Choose your sunscreen wisely. Many sunscreen products contain oxybenzone, a chemical ingredient that is toxic to the world’s fragile coral reef ecosystems. To help protect coral reefs, look for sunscreen products made from natural minerals, such as zinc oxide.
- Walk or bike to the beach. Reduce your carbon footprint while you’re visiting the beach by walking or biking, if possible, from your vacation spot to the beach. You’ll not only help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, you also won’t have to worry about a parking spot!
Want to get more involved with protecting beaches and the ocean? Become a Shore Hero!