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Credit: courtesy Kelly B

The sun is shining, and everyone is out and about exploring our lovely city without the gortex blinders we've gotten used to over the winter. The beach is one of the destinations Vancouverites are flooding to, and I've got a few tips to here to keep your next trip to the beach green.
 

Beach Bags


Most trips to the beach require a great bag to carry lunch, a towel, sunscreen, etc. Many businesses, like Ecoist, are picking up on the green wave by weaving bags from old candy wrappers and other plastics. These make great beach bags because they're big, colourful, and don't mind getting wet!
 

Sunglasses


Your skin needs protection, but so do your eyes! iWood has created a line of sunglasses made from FSC-certified wood, non-VOC (volatile organic compound) sealants, and are manufactured in the USA. 
 

Ecoist upcycled bag made from old candy wrappers

 

Happy Feet


Flip flops, sandals, jandals, slippers--whatever you want to call them! There are tonnes of eco-friendly beach shoes that are made from organic cotton, fair trade rubber, hemp or recycled materials. Check out Simple, Patagonia, Recycle Your Jeans, Vegan Essentials, Mohop or Zappos.
 

Suits & Towels


Growing cotton demands 25 percent of the world's pesticide application, but switching to an organic towel is an easy choice to reduce your impact.

Harder to come by, organic swimsuits are also available! Your best bet is probably to order one online (I've had a hard time tracking them down in town). Kelly B has cute suits for girls, and Volcom has great hemp shorts for the guys.
 

Sunscreen


Sunscreen is important to protect against UVA and UVB damage that can cause skin cancer; however, there are choices we can make that are better for our health and the environment.
 

iWood sunglasses made from FSC-certified wood

The chemical oxybenzone is one to be avoided because it mimics female hormones in aquatic ecosystems, which can result in trans-sexual fish. Broad spectrum alternatives include zinc dioxide or titanium dioxide; they don't have the white paint look anymore.

Another ingredient to look out for are parabens, which are used as preservatives. Potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate are milder preservatives to look for.

Last but not least, mineral oil is a common petroleum-based ingredient that should be avoided. Instead, look for olive oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, shea butter or cocoa butter.

To many ingredients and long funky names to look at? Kids' sunscreen is generally safer, or check some of these out!

Inevitably, the hot sun will make you hungry. Ditch the hot dog stand, and bring along some fresh local fruit from the farmer's market. Find the nearest farmer's market to you or your beach here.

Have fun in the sun!