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In this blog post, I list my top 12 sustainable summer essentials so you too can have fun under the sun while being sustainable. 

During the summer, I always try to spend a lot of time outside, whether that’s at the beach, in the forest, or in a park. 

I love making the most of the beautiful weather I have here, which means that I make sure to be in nature as often as I can.

The summer is also the perfect time to travel and explore somewhere we’ve never been.

Plus, many of us choose to take some time off to relax and live more slowly for a few days or weeks. 

No matter what we choose to do, we don’t need a lot of things to truly enjoy what summer has to offer.

Yet, there are some things we can have that make the season more fun, enjoyable, or comfortable. 

Here are 12 sustainable summer essentials to have fun under the sun without harming the environment! 

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What are sustainable summer essentials? 

What I call summer essentials are everyday items we own that help us make the most of the warm, sunny weather. 

While we don’t absolutely need to have them, I think that they increase our quality of life in the summer or contribute to making the season more fun and comfortable.

For each item, I make some suggestions of sustainable products you can buy if you need them. 

The world has enough items made unethically with unsustainable materials!

So I want to provide you with eco-friendly options so you can make better choices if you need to buy something specific. 

These sustainable summer essentials are sold by brands that care about the planet and their workers.

They use sustainable materials and manufacturing processes and prioritize their workers’ well-being. 

Let’s make summer both enjoyable and sustainable

In this blog post, I list all my favorite sustainable summer essentials.

12 sustainable summer essentials to have fun under the sun 

1. A summer dress 

I love wearing lightweight, flowy dresses in the summer.

They’re the perfect piece for those warm days to feel cool and comfy!

Dresses are super practical and easy to wear and put on.

Unlike with skirts, we don’t need to think about what to pair them with, so we save time and energy when getting dressed in the morning. 

They can also easily be dressed up or down, which is great if you like having multipurpose clothing pieces

Cozy Earth, which is a sustainable clothing brand, has a nice selection of dresses featuring versatile and timeless silhouettes!

I particularly love its Coastal Comfort wrap dress, made from a lightweight blend of Tencel and linen. 

2. Several T-shirts and tank tops 

Another wardrobe staple to have in your summer wardrobe is a bunch of t-shirts and tank tops.

What makes them so versatile is that we can wear them with any bottoms, from shorts to skirts to pants and jeans

I try to have mostly neutral colors so I can easily mix and match them with all my bottoms.

However, I still own several colorful tops, as I love wearing colorful clothing, especially in the summer months.

If your t-shirts and tank tops from last year got worn out, give Outerknown’s ones a try!

The brand has many options, but I particularly recommend its Offshore tee.

Made from 100% linen, it is incredibly breathable, heat-regulating, and long-lasting

I also love its organic cotton Sojourn ribbed tank, which you can wear on its own or as a base layer. 

3. Sunglasses 

One thing I never leave my home without in the summer is my sunglasses.

They are essential to protect our eyes from harmful sun rays. 

Glasses USA offers a sustainable line of sunglasses entirely made from five upcycled plastic bottles.

The styles are timeless and can be worn by both men and women.

Plus, if you buy one of its SeaClean frames, the brand will donate $5 to The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organizing beach cleanups and helping clean our oceans. 

Eco-friendly sunglasses are sustainable summer essentials you should bring with you wherever you go.

4. A good-quality suitcase

Many of us take advantage of the beautiful weather in the summer to travel and explore new places.

A high-quality suitcase is ideal to bring all our essentials with us and make it as easy as possible to be away from home. 

The most practical I’ve found so far is one sold by Solgaard.

Its Carry-On Closet suitcase was recognized as the Best Travel Invention of the Year by TIME Magazine! 

Designed to make packing and unpacking a breeze, it has a five-shelf, space-saving built-in closet that will keep you organized while on the go. 

The lining is also made from 100% recycled ocean-bound plastic, and removes the equivalent of six pounds of trash from our waterways!

If you prefer backpacks, Solgaard also has one that is just as practical as its carry-on.

It features a removable hanging closet and is crafted from upcycled ocean-bound plastic as well. 

Read more: 10 sustainable backpacks for school, work, travel, and everyday use

5. Comfy shorts 

Whether you like relaxing on the beach or going on an adventure in the summer, shorts are the perfect bottom to wear to stay comfy while allowing for some movement. 

If you need a new pair for the season, consider supporting Pact, a sustainable carbon-neutral brand!

It has many options, all of which are made in a Fair Trade Certified factory with organic cotton. 

I particularly love the style of its Coastal Daily Short.

These are ultra-lightweight and have a feminine, flowy silhouette.

They even feature a removable fabric belt and two practical side pockets! 

6. A bathing suit 

If you’re planning to go to the beach or swim in a pool or a lake this summer, don’t forget your bathing suit! 

Unfortunately, bathing suits have to be produced using synthetic materials, because natural fabrics would not last if used in saltwater or chlorine-filled pools. 

But we can make better choices for the planet by simply buying one made of recycled plastic.

The sustainable swimwear brand Carve Designs has many models for us, from one-pieces to board shorts to bikinis. 

Its swimsuits are made from five recycled plastic bottles, and they are available in a wide variety of styles and colors. 

My favorite pieces are the Dahlia bikini top paired with the Stinson bottom; they are stunning!

What are yours? 

I have an entire blog post about the best sustainable swimwear brands, so check it out for more ideas. 

One of my favorite sustainable summer essentials is a bathing suit made from recycled plastic.

7. A beach towel 

An essential item you should bring with you for a successful beach trip is a nice beach towel.

It will come in handy to dry yourself after swimming or to lay on while relaxing in the sand. 

If you don’t already have one, consider buying it from Sandcloud!

The brand sells many gorgeous, colorful beach towels made from 100% organic cotton.

They are great because they will fit in your bag and they dry three times faster than regular towels! 

I also love that Sandcloud donates 10% of its profits to non-profits specializing in marine life conservation! 

8. Sandals or flip flops

Where I live, it’s very hot all summer long so I only wear sandals and flip-flops, nothing else when it comes to shoes. 

And since I wear them every day, they have to be of very good quality and built to last.

One brand that makes durable shoes with the planet in mind is Nisolo! 

It offers many beautiful styles, including huarache sandals, different slides, flip-flops, heels, as well as classic strappy sandals. 

I particularly love the All-Day Cross Strap sandals!

They blend comfort and sophistication perfectly! 

Plus, Nisolo is a certified B Corporation and Climate-Neutral Certified!

The leather it uses is also certified by the Leather Working Group. 

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, check out my other favorite sustainable shoe brands!

9. A sun hat 

If you’re spending a lot of time under the sun in the summer, make sure you have a sun hat on your head wherever you go! 

Eileen Fisher makes a gorgeous one: it features a wide brim for ample sun coverage and is handmade by artisans in Madagascar using raffia. 

If you prefer other looks, I also highly recommend the brand prAna.

It has everything from baseball caps to bucket hats, as well as several other styles of sun hats!

They’re all made with sustainable materials and crafted in a Fair Trade Certified factory. 

10. A large tote or beach bag

Whether you plan a picnic, an adventure in nature, or a beach trip, a large tote or beach bag is perfect for packing everything you need.

You can fill it with snacks, a book, a towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, and even different toys for your kids. 

The sustainable online marketplace Made Trade has many options for you if you’re looking for a new beach bag or large tote!

It has beautiful bags made from natural materials like rattan, seagrass, or jute.

You can also choose an organic cotton tote or a basket made with palm leaves. 

I love that all of these are ethically and sustainably handcrafted by small artisans!

Plus, Made Trade is a family-run, Climate-Neutral Certified brand. 

A beach bag is a must-have if you're planning a trip to the seaside.

11. Reef-safe sunscreen

If you’re in the sun a lot, don’t forget to apply sunscreen every few hours to make sure you do not accidentally end up with sunburns. 

However, try to only buy and use reef-safe sunscreen so it doesn’t harm the beautiful coral reefs underwater. 

One brand I particularly recommend for that is Indie Lee!

Its mineral sunscreen provides broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection and is unscented and cruelty-free.

It is non-toxic and formulated without more than 1300 harmful ingredients, and it dries down clean.

It also contains squalane, shea butter, and aloe vera, which will help keep your skin hydrated all day. 

I have a blog post about the best sustainable skincare brands if you want to find something else, so feel free to check it out!

12. A stainless steel water bottle 

You will never see me leave my home for more than an hour without my trusty stainless steel water bottle! 

It comes in handy in all seasons, but particularly in the summer when we should drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. 

If you want to be more sustainable every day, make the conscious choice to stay away from disposable plastic bottles and opt for reusable ones. 

Doing so will also save you a lot of money!

I find that the best material for reusable bottles is stainless steel.

It does not break if we drop it, and when the bottle is insulated, it keeps the beverage cool or hot for many hours! 

So if you need a new bottle this summer, consider trying the Hydro Flask.

It has a leak-proof cap, is dishwasher-safe, and will keep your water cold for up to 24 hours! 

Final thoughts on these 12 sustainable summer essentials

There you have it!

I hope this list of 12 sustainable summer essentials to have fun under the sun was helpful! 

Remember, this list is only here to give you ideas for things you might need this summer to make it fun, comfortable, and enjoyable.

You don’t have to buy anything if you don’t want to. 

Just make sure to take it easy if you can.

Take a break and try to enjoy every moment of the season! 

Go outside, have fun, and relax as much as you can. 

What are your favorite sustainable summer essentials?

Share them with us in the comments! 

If you liked this article, you will also enjoy my other posts about my favorite essentials by season:

Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends to inspire them to use more sustainable items and products this summer!

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