If you are a regular hiker or camper, you’ve likely heard the admonishment “Leave no trace.” The idea is to make as little impact as possible and to take out what you carried in.
This mantra can also extend beyond forests and trails to another popular recreation area: the beach.
In fact, more potential litter makes its way to beaches than to other areas. Coolers are packed with snacks and all kinds of packaging as well as drinks, sunblock, extra towels and clothing, and toys.
Fortunately, it’s usually pretty easy to dispose of your trash when you visit the beach. Most recreational areas have abundant trash cans nearby, so you don’t have to lug your garbage long distances. As for recyclables, if they fit into your cooler on the way in, they’ll fit on the way out!
One unique concern for beachgoers is a stiff breeze. Although paper napkins and plates can seem convenient, consider using cloth napkins and sturdier, portable plates, which are both reusable and less likely to blow away (and which is less annoying for you!).
It’s also a good idea to bring your own trash bag, which makes cleanup a lot easier. And speaking of bags, why not use reusable bags and containers? Again, they’re sturdier; and it’s easier to grab snacks from that container with a lid than it is to reach into a flimsy bag anyway.
Consider bringing a reusable water bottle to keep yourself hydrated. The benefit to you: you can invest in one that keeps your cold beverages super cold throughout the hottest of beach days. You carry less ice (read: weight) and save on plastic.