Switching out your everyday products with some of our favorite sustainable summer swaps can make a big difference.
Last week our team at Climate & Capital highlighted 10 climate change page-turners for you to read during the vacation season. If you missed it, check out our thought-provoking climate change books here!
This week, our team has turned its attention to alternatives to everyday products with a list of more environmentally friendly options. With the trendiness of sustainability and deceptive green-washed marketing, it can be difficult to navigate which companies are staying true to their green mission. That’s why we decided to do the searching for you! Below is our list of favorite sustainable summer swaps to help lower your environmental impact while keeping you and our planet cool!
Sunscreen is an essential summer item to shield skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. But traditional brands are harmful to marine habitats and sea life! Ingredients such as oxybenzone butylparaben and octinoxate are found in most chemical sunscreens. These contain nanoparticles that can disrupt the growth and reproductive cycle of coral, leading to coral bleaching that eventually kills reefs already under serious threat from ocean warming. Keep your skin and our coral safe by opting for a sunscreen approved as “reef safe.”
The Climate and Capital team recommends Stream2Sea, a brand leading the charge in eco-friendly skin protection.
“Stream2Sea is the FIRST and the ONLY mineral sunscreen company that has scientifically proven safety for freshwater fish, saltwater fish and even coral larvae,” the company says. In 2020, Stream2sea’s Sports Sunscreen achieved the coveted Protect Land + Sea Certified Label and, more recently, was recognized as the #1 overall reef-safe eco-friendly sunscreen. Slap it on and save the reef. Photo: Stream2Sea
Whether you are barbecuing or heading to the beach, Earth Cups are a no-brainer disposable cup choice. Founded by two recent college graduates, the Earth Cups brand aims to stop the use of cheap, oil-based cups like the classic red disposable cups sold in supermarkets everywhere. The eco-friendly Earth Cup is made from a sugar- and corn-based material, making it compostable within 90 days. This is one of the easiest fixes you can do this summer to reduce your plastic waste and ensure that less plastic ends up in landfills and our oceans. Photo: Earth Cups
For millions of people, razors are a part of everyday life and are especially in demand during the summer months. Most razors are disposable, or if not disposable, their blades are. Blade heads are normally made with plastic. When they get dull, they are dumped and replaced with new ones. Not only that, but you have to buy specific blades for each brand’s handle. According to Leaf Shave Razors, more than 5,000 disposable blades are thrown out every minute in the U.S. alone.
Enter Leaf Shave Razors, a great alternative to your typical disposable razors that are truly meant to last. What’s more, it doesn’t use any plastic in its products or packaging! There is a range of styles, colors and products to choose from. These razor heads use regular razor blades; when they get dull, you can replace them with Leaf Shave blades or use any generic razor blade. The blades themselves can be recycled instead of thrown away as trash. Leaf Shave razors last you a lifetime of reusing and recycling, and your purchase also supports a certified carbon-neutral company! Photo: Leaf Shave Razors
Every year, 10 million tons of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean. With post-vaccine era summer travel on the rise, the Climate & Capital team has a great travel tip that can help you cut down on your plastic waste. A shampoo bar! Rather than shampoo in a plastic bottle, the By Humankind shampoo bar has no plastic packaging. Also, since liquid items are heavier than their dry counterparts, the cost and emissions produced during their transportation are higher than something smaller – shipping a soap bar to your door produces fewer emissions.
By Humankind soap and shampoo bars are plastic-free. The company also has a plastic offsetting partnership with Plastic Bank that helps to keep plastic out of the ocean. Your purchase can help lower the average of 22 pounds of plastic produced per American each month. Photo: By Humankind
One of the biggest contributors to the emissions causing climate change worldwide is our meat consumption. Author Naomi Oreskes says that about 40% of greenhouse gasses come from agriculture, deforestation and other land-use changes. Meat – particularly beef – drives climate change in two ways: first, through cows’ emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and second, by destroying forests as they are converted to grazing land.
Enter Novameat. Giuseppe Scionti, Nova Meat founder, is revolutionizing the plant-based meat industry with his hyper-realistic 3D-printed “steak” – yes, a printed steak! – crafted from pea protein, beetroot juice and other plant-based ingredients. Scionti had been working as an assistant professor in the field of tissue engineering for over a decade and, in 2018, decided to take his wild idea from the lab to the kitchen. Novameat’s plant-based products are expected to be tested in vegan and vegetarian restaurants and even steak houses by September 2022. As the company has secured a $6 million pre-series A fundraise, Novameat aims to have its 3D printed “steaks” into retail stores by 2023. Fire up the barbecue and try out this climate-friendly meat alternative come September! Photo: Novameat
Ocean artist and surfer Kevin Cunningham has been making beautiful surfboards as art from recycled wood, ocean plastic waste and other alternative materials since 2004. While not in everyone’s price range, Spireares Surfboards are built to last, so an investment in what is not only a durable board but a work of art could be a valuable gift to yourself and the world’s oceans. Kevin lists 16 board styles on his website ranging from short to long, made from the most eco-friendly materials and methods available without compromising performance. The title of his company, Spirare, comes from the Latin root of spirit, to breathe, the breath of life, the soul. He says his aim is to breathe new life into surfboard design and help surfing regain its soul. Check out Kevin’s range of boards – and even ocean-inspired jewelry – and be challenged to think of the products we use daily not as functional commodities but as works of art. Photo: Spireares Surfboards
Sick of throwing out disposable plastic utensils after one use? We are! Green Paper Products has the solution. Their compostable utensils are perfect for summer barbecues and picnics. Available in bulk for big summer partiers or in small numbers for one-off events, these eco-utensils are made from bioresin, which is an organic material rather than oil-based plastic. The Green Paper Products website offers helpful resources explaining the composting process and how to find a commercial composting facility if you don’t have one locally. Choosing biodegradable products over single-use plastic is an easy but important way to reduce your waste and carbon footprint. These eco products are beautifully designed and friendlier to use. Why wouldn’t you switch? Photo: Green Paper Products
Sunglasses are so essential and yet so easy to lose. Imagine the volume of plastic that winds up in the ocean just from sunglasses lost at the beach alone – direct from face to surf. But these days, it’s easy to get affordable shades that are more sustainable. Swell Vision, a company founded by a high schooler 10 years ago, sells a wide array of fashionable sunglasses with bamboo frames ranging in price from $20 to $100. For a bit more cash, check out sunnies by Mita with frames made of recycled water bottles or recycled aluminum. (Fun fact: MITA says it takes five water bottles to make one pair of sunglasses.) Also, on the higher end, sunglass maker Pala has a great story: This BCorp uses sustainable materials – biodegradable acetate for their frames and recycled plastic for their cases – and also funds eye care in impoverished countries. I could go on. But the bottom line is this: There are many options for sustainable sunnies, and no good excuse not to buy from one of the good guys. Photo: Mita
There’s no need to opt for another pair of cheap plastic flip-flops this summer when you can buy a stylish, sustainable pair that will go the distance. Hawaiian-based brand Olukai has taken a unique approach to footwear by helping create and preserve the state’s island heritage with every pair. Olukai crafts recycled rubber and eco-leather in a range of water-safe footwear for men and women. This eco footwear company goes beyond its sustainable products to support native Hawaiian projects through its Ama Olukai Foundation with every purchase. Ama Olukai is dedicated to supporting and preserving Hawaiian cultural heritage by funding community programs, including the Polynesian Voyaging Society working to keep the art and science of traditional Pacific voyaging alive. Photo: Olukai Sandals