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10 Eco-Friendly Beach Essentials


Last Updated on April 11, 2020

Oh, Northern California. It’s amazing. I actually went to the beach more when I was in the landlocked state of Arkansas than I do living on the coast. Why, you might ask?


Last weekend we had highs of 55, cloudy, and even rain. But, this week it flipped to the hundreds. Cool. Cool. Cool.

This post was sponsored by SOL Organics all thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

There’s only three things on my MUST list:

  • See Friends
  • Eat Tacos
  • Go to beach

I’m a simple lady. But, it got me thinking…. what does an eco-friendly/zero waste gal pack in her beach bag?

1. The biggest, fluffiest, organic towel:

First thing on my list is the biggest, organic, fluffiest towel. In fact, I’d prioritize bringing two.

One to hold down my dry spot of sand and another to towel off.

My biggest, best, fluffiest towels of choice are. I have a set of a
SOL Organics Sheets
and absolutely love because they’re such high-quality.

So, when they launched their
towel line,
I was chomping at the bit to place my first order.

Their towels are VERY generously sized, they’re incredibly absorbent, super soft, and even after washing several times they’ve stayed brand new! I can definitely see myself having them for a decade at least.

For my beach day I’d pack:

  1. Organic Bath Sheet This is the towel you want for holding down the fort
  2. Organic Hand Towel This is the towel I’d keep in my bag for toweling off
  3. Organic Bath Towel I’d just slip this cutie in for the hotel because these beat hotel towels any day…. I jest, I jest. But, really – I might just start bringing my own towel when I travel.

SOL Organics is certified Fair Trade, Organic Cotton, and GOTS certified, and they ship completely plastic free.

Their factory partner runs a transparent supply chain from farm to factory to fabric, using only non-GMO, certified raw 100% organic cotton, manufactured in a
FLO-certified factory

They always pay a living wage and are partnered with proven partners that invest in the health and well-being of women and children all while working to eradicate child labor.

And, as a huge bonus they’re offering all GZW readers 20% off with the code
just apply it at checkout.

2. beach bag:

You know me, #ZEROWASTE, #MINIMALIST, #LAZY so my super stylish farmers market tote doubles as the cutest beach bag and I know it’s up for the task because it totes 15lbs of vegetables on the reg.

And, I’ve successfully fit everything on this list including the
Organic Bath Sheet
Organic Hand Towel
, and
Organic Bath Towel
. Mary Poppins bag ain’t got nothin’ on me.

3. reef safe sunscreen:

This one’s a biggie – your sunscreen might be damaging the coral reefs.

And, this doesn’t only happen when you’re headed to the beach because ANY drain you wash these chemicals down will eventually make their way out to the ocean. 

So beach day or not you really should look for reef safe sunscreens that don’t have oxybenzone and octinoxate on the ingredient list.

Instead, opt for reef safe sunscreens. I’ve listed a few bellow: reef safe sunscreens.

Be sure to wear a hat when you’re out, cover up with sleeves.

If you want to stay extra safe stay in the shade, and spend time outside during the early and later hours when the sun isn’t as intense.   

4. hat:

I need my beach hat! I have a trusty straw hat I have relied on for quite some time, but I would really like to up my repertoire. Here’s a few of my favorites.

5. snacks:

Is it even a beach day without snacks!? You can have an amazing picnic on your gigantic SOl Organics Organic Bath Sheet. Here would be my plastic-free snack roster:

Snack packaging like drink cups and plastic wrap tend to get swept up by wind and make their way out to the ocean.

Trash cans around beaches are often overflowing so just avoid bringing and single-use disposable items with you to the beach and instead pack yourself a zero waste picnic!

 photo from Stasher

photo from Stasher

6. cutest ethical swim:

I have a full guide to ethical swimwear similar to my post about summer trends, but for now, I’m packing this cute tankini from Jessica Rey.

I wore it on a bachelorette trip weekend where I tried to accomplish Zero Waste at Disneyland!

7. flip flops:

Pretty much the only time I wear flip flops – I just don’t find them to be very comfortable is on the beach or at the pool.

I have this pair from Third Oak. They’re responsibly made in the US and are closed loop so if they break you can send them back to the company for recycling.

8. sunglasses:

Sunny, sunny, sunnies! Pela Case my phone case of choice and has been for years just launched the most eco-friendly sunglasses on the planet.

They’re biodegradable and they’re adorable. I have a pair of the Dians and Justin has a pair of the Mayas.

9. bluetooth speaker:

I threw a portable speaker into my bag just incase we have a small section of beach to ourselves.

I hate forcing my music on others. I have a bluetooth portable speaker which is pretty large and a little heavy so instead I’d probably opt for a mini!

House of Marley is one of the few brands that’s offering sustainable electronics.

They use mindfully sourced materials including bamboo, FSC™ certified wood, recyclable aluminum, plastic and fabrics.

10. beach reads:

And, of COURSE, how could I not include beach reads. You know there’s like four in my bag and honestly this could be a whole post within itself, but if you’re looking for easy-to-read books on sustainability might I recommend my book 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste or Ashlee Piper’s Give a Sh*t

I’m not sure if we have the same taste in books, but I just tore through every Gwendolyn Womack book in about two weeks.

I’d like to thank SOL Organics for sponsoring this post. Whether you’re looking for a beach towel or eco-friendly towels for your bathroom, I can’t recommend SOL Organics enough.

PLUS, don’t forget about that 20% off for GZW readers! Use the code ‘GZW20’ at checkout!

What are you packing in your beach tote this summer?

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  1. I need to buy new towels to be zero waste? Can’t use the ones I’ve been using for the past umpteen years? Why is zero waste ALWAYS about shopping?

    1. Of course not. But if you need to replace your towels at any point, she suggested a sustainable, ethical brand. Any zero-waster will tell you first and foremost that using what you already have is the most important part. But when you run out of something or need to replace something, that’s when it’s a good time to opt for the eco-friendly stuff.

  2. I only thing I familiar with the organic term is the organic food, its quite interesting to know about the organic towel and organic bed sheets and others, Indeed, Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. It’s a really interesting topic if you want to look into it more, but conventional cotton uses A LOT of pesticides that get into the waterway and are very negatively impacting the surrounding areas.

  3. Way too many new things to buy. I don’t want to be encouraged to shop more. Love what you do, but this is not it for me.

  4. I can’t believe you wrote a blog post detailing your intent to bludgeon all your readers to death with a bamboo bat if they didn’t buy new towels! 😉

    Great post! Thank you for sharing! I had not known about the sunscreen and will switch immediately!