7 Sustainable Swaps to Make This Summer

As we head into the summer season, many of us will be enjoying plenty of BBQs, picnics and lazy days by the beach. But sadly, these activities can also involve a lot of unnecessary waste, causing additional harm to our environment. 

Berkeley Group and sustainability have always gone hand in hand, which is why we have picked 7 quick and easy eco-friendly swaps to make your summer more sustainable.

1. Buy Chemical-Free Sunscreen

When the sun makes a welcome reappearance, it’s important to take care of your skin by applying plenty of sunscreen. However, not all sunscreens are created equal. The sunscreen we buy often contains harmful chemicals, such as oxybenzone, which can damage corals when it soaks into the ocean. Chemical sunscreens also work by absorbing the radiation from the sun, rather than creating a protective barrier.

As an alternative, this summer, opt for chemical-free mineral-based sunscreen that will help protect your skin, but won’t damage our marine life. 

2. Plan a No Waste Picnic

Picnics are the perfect way to enjoy a sunny afternoon, but sadly the contents of our picnic can often create a lot of waste. 

This year, plan ahead and invest in eco-friendly alternatives. Rather than using cling wrap, consider using beeswax or cloth-based wraps to protect your food, and for leftovers, opt for reusable glass containers instead of plastic zip-lock bags. When it comes to cutlery, why not bring some from your own home, cloth napkins and reusable water bottles are also fantastic additions to any environmentally friendly picnic.

3. Leave the Car at Home

With the weather getting warmer, now is a great time to leave the car at home and walk or cycle to your destination instead. 

Choosing to walk or ride your bicycle not only helps lower your carbon footprint but also helps boost your physical health and emotional wellbeing as you’ll be getting in more exercise and soaking up more of those Vitamin D rays. 

If your journey will take less than 30 minutes to walk or cycle, consider leaving the car behind and getting fresh air instead. Or, for longer journeys or days out, why not travel by bus or train? It’s a great way to keep emissions down, and if you have kids with you, they’ll love the adventure!

4. Dry Off With Eco-Friendly Beach Towels

Whether you are splashing around in a paddling pool in your garden or taking a dip at the seaside, a beach towel is a summer holiday essential. But did you know that many beach towels are made from hazardous microplastics? As the fibres break down, they can make their way into the waterways and pollute our oceans. Many also contain toxic materials that can be harmful to our skin and cannot be recycled or biodegraded. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of eco-friendly, organic beach towels available to help take care of your skin and the planet at the same time. Look for towels that are made with bamboo, linen, ethically made cotton or fabrics made from recycled plastic. 

5. Invest in Sustainable Flip Flops 

Back in 2019, BBC News released an image of almost a million plastic shoes, mainly flip flops, that had been discarded and washed up on the Cocos Islands of Australia. Unfortunately, this continues to happen across the world each year. Flip flops that are low cost or were made several years ago are typically made from non-recycled plastics that usually end up in landfills or our oceans. 

Before you invest in new flip flops this year, do your research, and opt for ones that are either 100% recyclable, made from 100% recycled plastic, or from natural alternatives such as cork. And before you throw your old ones out, look for organisations that you can donate them to, such as Waves Flip Flops, which help to make sure your flip flops do not end up in landfills, and they give you 10% off your next purchase with them!

6. Swap Your Air Freshener for Indoor Plants

Though it may be tempting to purchase plug-in diffusers, a great chemical-free alternative, and a fantastic way to adopt a more sustainable living approach, is to invest in fragrant house plants. 

An excellent choice to help filter harmful toxins from the air in your home would be the Peace Lily. This house plant is known for its soothing fragrance and will bloom all year round. This particular plant requires very little care and attention and can last for days without water, making it the perfect option for novices! 

Or, if you prefer your indoor plants to be of the edible variety, consider growing your own herbs. For those who haven’t grown their own before, mint, rosemary and thyme are all easy-to-maintain options. Not only do they smell delicious, but they’ll add a lovely burst of flavour to your cooking!

7. Let Your Clothes Air Dry

One of the simplest sustainability swaps you can make is to ditch your clothes dryer for a clothes line. Using the fresh summer air to dry your clothes instead of your dryer will help save money on your utility bills as you’ll be using less energy. You’ll also reduce the amount of time you stand ironing as air-dried clothes tend to be less creased, and you enhance the lifespan of your clothes as the fresh air is much gentler on your clothes.  

From building low carbon, resilient homes to working towards achieving a net biodiversity gain across many of our developments, Berkeley Group is committed to playing an active role in tackling climate change. The long-term impact is considered in every development, continually seeking ways to create environments that will thrive for years to come. 

If you would like to learn more about Berkeley Group’s sustainability approach, you can find out more here