Has lockdown left you keener than ever to be more a conscious consumer? Abi Jackson rounds up sustainable options for sunny days out and beyond.
If you’re looking to shop more eco-consciously this summer, perhaps the best thing to do is try to buy and chuck as little as possible – only replacing items when they’re really worn out, and re-homing stuff we no longer need.
But if you are in the market for a few new things, there’s a growing range of companies set on making it easier to shop sustainably – many of them home-grown and local.
These seven summer buys have some impressive sustainability kudos, whether you’re splashing out on a fancy new backpack or just want to make picnics less wasteful…
1. Recycled Picnic Mat, from £20 (lifeundercanvas.co.uk)
Made with 100% recycled plastic, these lightweight mats are water and mould-resistant, and can be wiped or hosed down when grubby. Available in a choice of colours and sizes, simply roll them up and pop in your kit for camping weekends, trips to the beach, park or even just the garden. Based in Wales, Life Under Canvas is run by a team of ‘passionate campers’ on a mission to help people ‘enjoy outdoor living without it costing the Earth’.
2. Waxyz, from £2.60 each (bplasticfree.com)
Scottish entrepreneur Catriona Mann launched Waxyz following redundancy in 2018 and then a trip to New Zealand, where she was inspired by the popularity of reusable food wrap. Working with a range of Scottish collaborators, the biodegradable, vegan-friendly, wax-coated cotton wraps are a plastic-free alternative to cling-film. Waxyz are easy to clean and said to last for a year or more, with loads of sizes and designs to choose from. Ideal for sarnies and flapjacks for those weekend walks and days out.
3. Bamboo Cutlery in Handmade Pouch, from £12.50 (loolyn.com)
Based near Belfast, LOOLYN is a ‘sustainable marketplace’ featuring a wide range of eco-friendly, plastic-free products – including a ton of items ideal for summer escapes near and far. If you prefer a picnic that requires cutlery rather than just fingers, but don’t want to lug the metal stuff around (or use single-use plastic), these cute bamboo kits will see you through the holidays and beyond.
4. The Level Collective Winnats Roll Top Backpack, starting from £195 (thelevelcollective.com)
If you need to replace your backpack, and you’re in a position to splash out a little more on something super-sustainable, local and crafted to last, check out The Level Collective. Cornwall-based Mark Musgrave wanted to create a quality, ethical product that’s stylish, yet outdoor-friendly, and entirely UK-made. Featuring Scottish waxed cotton, webbing that’s woven and dyed in Cheshire, buckles crafted in Sheffield and wool padding repurposed from carpet manufacturing, these roll-top backpacks tick all the boxes. An investment to see you through many summer adventures and everything in-between.
5. OceanPositive Harlequin Swimsuit, £79.95 (life.fourthelement.com)
On the lookout for new swimwear this summer? Cornwall-based diving company Fourth Element’s OceanPositive range features gorgeous one-pieces and bikinis made from ECONYL from abandoned fishing nets and other waste that litters the oceans, and poses a serious threat to marine life. The nets are gathered up by divers before beginning the process of being repurposed for new life as swimwear. Even if you can’t make it to the actual seaside, you can totally rock these at your local lido.
6. Green Toys Recycled Ocean-Bound Plastic Beach Play Set, £25 (goodthingsgifts.co.uk)
Kids love learning about the planet and how to protect it, so this fun beach play set will come with a great story and keep them amused for hours on the sand. Green Toys take waste plastic from global communities that lack recycling infrastructure – so would likely otherwise eventually end up in the ocean – and turn it into fab, eco-savvy toys. These are also non-toxic and contain no BPA, PVC or phthalates.
7. Palms Reusable Shopping Kind Bag, £10 (kindbag.co)
Everybody needs a roomy tote or two, that you can sling over your shoulder for shopping errands and shove blankets, snacks and water bottles in for days out. Kind Bag’s endless range of fun, colourful designs are bound to brighten up your day – plus each one is made from six recycled plastic bottles. They fold into a lightweight pouch when not in use and 10% of profits go to Just One Ocean, a charity committed to preserving the world’s seas for future generations.