As sustainability editor at Hip & Healthy, I’ve thought long and hard about the best place to start when talking about eco-friendly swaps, and it seems only fitting to start by looking at my favourite season and how we can embrace summer more sustainably.

As the sun shines brighter and temperatures rise, summer brings forth opportunities to connect with nature and make cherished memories outside. However, the season also presents challenges for our environment, such as increased energy consumption, waste generation, and water usage. To minimise our ecological footprint and preserve the beauty of the summer season, it’s important to adopt sustainable practices and make eco-friendly swaps as often as we can. In this article, I’m exploring a range of small sustainable swaps that will allow us to enjoy summer while making small steps to protect wonderful mother nature.

Eco-Friendly Picnics

Summer is synonymous with picnics, but they often involve single-use plastics and disposables. Instead, opt for sustainable alternatives such as reusable picnic sets, a reusable bag or backpack, bamboo or stainless-steel cutlery, and cloth napkins. Pack your snacks and meals in reusable containers and get your favourite iced latte or summer smoothie to go in a reusable cup. A simple and small step as an individual but en mass can reduce mountains of plastic waste.

My Picks:

The perfect backpack for your summer picnics and adventures, this Kind Bag is made sustainably & ethically made with 100% recycled & recyclable water-resistant fabric.

Emma Bridgewater’s round storage tubs are made from Rice Husks, a fantastic sustainable alternative made from the outer shell of a grain of rice. 

Sustainable Swimwear

Swimming is a quintessential summer activity, and choosing sustainable swimwear can make a substantial difference. The most sustainable swimwear is the kind you already own, but if you’re looking for a new set look for swimwear brands that prioritize sustainable materials such as recycled nylon or polyester derived from ocean waste. By opting for eco-friendly swimwear, you support ethical production practices and reduce plastic waste that often ends up in our oceans.

My Picks:

The swimwear in Alya’s Coral Collection and Jardinia Collection is made using Repreve® Nylon, created from 100% recycled materials. The Nylon is created using an energy and resource-efficient process that saves the equivalent of 6 million gallons of gasoline each year.

Stay Wild Swim use ECONYL® yarn, a 100% regenerated nylon fibre made from nylon waste otherwise polluting the Earth, like fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring and industrial plastic rescued from all over the world.

Sun Protection the Eco Way

Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is essential, but many sunscreens contain chemicals harmful to marine life and coral reefs. Opt for reef-safe sunscreens that use mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These products are non-toxic to marine ecosystems while still providing effective sun protection. 

My Picks:

UpCircle SPF25 mineral sunscreen is a high-performance broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen designed for all skin tones. Formulated with non-nano zinc oxide. This lightweight sunscreen is both ultra-hydrating and fast-absorbing, with aloe vera and sunflower oil

Green People Scent Free Sun Cream SPF30 is fragrance-free and ocean-friendly. They also give  20p to the Marine Conservation Society for every bottle sold, which is a lovely extra touch.

Slow Travel

Summer vacations often involve traveling, and choosing sustainable transportation options can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Whilst not possible if you’re looking to travel too far afield, consider planning a beautiful holiday closer to home. Last year I took fantastic trips to Provence, France and Tuscany, Italy, solely using the train from the UK. Whilst the travel was longer, the adventure was greater. Within the UK there are also fantastic staycations that are just a drive away.

A few of my favourite destinations close to home:

City, coastal and country – The Pig Hotels offer gorgeous accommodations all over the UK. Perfect for a vacation closer to home.

Escape to the forest and enjoy Lime Wood Hotel & Spa. The Raw & Cured food bar in the Herb House Spa offers delicious, natural food, that I can never get enough of.

Sip cocktails while soaking in the outdoor bath, at Aller Dorset’s Luxury shepard huts. 

Embracing a sustainable lifestyle during the summer season allows us to enjoy the beauty of nature while safeguarding the environment for future generations. By making eco-friendly swaps, such as choosing reusable alternatives, conserving energy and water, and opting for sustainable products, we can ensure that our summer activities have a minimal impact on the planet. Let us embrace the season sustainably and inspire others to join us in creating a greener, more vibrant summer experience.

words by Saskia Gregson-Williams