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Your best eco-friendly summer essentials guide
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Your best eco-friendly summer essentials guide



Tena (Thinking Threads)

The sun is finally back! The warmer, longer days are coming and, I don’t know about you, but I feel energized and ready to go full-summer mode already! I can almost hear the waves in the background…

Well, that may have to wait a bit. Still, for me, bright weather means getting outside and moving more. It also means adapting my wardrobe to fit the season and my needs. Now, let’s be clear on something right away: you don’t necessarily need to buy anything new for the season! If you already have things that serve you well in summer, use them! You don’t really need to buy another reusable water bottle if you already have 5 at home. And that’s regardless of how awesome is the one we are suggesting today! 

But, if you are looking to add something to your life, this article is for you. We want you to make this season greener, so we are bringing our full summer guide. Today, we cover all the categories: from skincare to clothes and accessories. For each, we picked up one brand and one product from their range, to give you inspiration.

Of course, these are only our suggestions. If you like them: great! If it’s not your thing, we hope that it will inspire you to look for a similar brand or product. 

In general, there are 2 main points we invite you to keep in mind if you want to have an eco-friendly summer:

  1. Choose sustainable materials or ingredients in the product: That means preferring garments made out of plant-based or recycled materials, as well as natural ingredients in cosmetics. For example, a typical sunscreen is full of toxic chemicals that can irritate the skin, cause allergies, and even cause hormone disruptions. Not quite the way we imagine our best summer. So, look for alternatives to that!
  2. Choose ethically made products: a company can make their products out of the most sustainable materials, but if they are not transparent about their workers and making sure they are producing ethically-they are not really sustainable. We prefer companies that disclose where they are making their products, as well as the conditions in which they produce.
Eco-friendly summer essentials
Ready to make this season greener?

Finally, here’s your eco-friendly summer essentials guide:


Summer dress 

A good summer dress is the easiest thing to put on when the temperatures rise. We always look for something practical, comfortable, and versatile: we want to be able to wear the dress for different occasions. 

When it comes to choosing a good summer dress, we advise going for natural materials that are light and breathable and making sure that no toxic dyes are used in the manufacturing process. As we said above, the dress we want this summer has to be made ethically!

We recommend checking out: Outerknown

Outerknown is a company committed to transparency: you can see a list of their suppliers directly on their website. Additionally, their products carry a Fair Labor Association accreditation, and the company partners with Fair Trade USA to invest in communities.

They use eco-friendly materials like ECONYL (recycled nylon), organic cotton, and hemp. 

Our top pick: Odyssey Dress

This is a long and flowy dress, made out of organic cotton. It is simple to wear and can be easily dressed up or down, making it a great choice for wearing all summer long!  


Eco-friendly summer essentials: swimsuits
Summer means swimsuits!

Summer means swimsuits! However, the reality is that fast fashion turned swimwear into cheap, trendy, and disposable items that don’t last past one season. This summer, we encourage you to choose something different!

The thing is, most swimsuits are made out of plastic-based materials, and there’s no really a good way around that. But, many sustainable brands are now embracing recycled polyester, nylon, and similar materials, instead of virgin plastic. This means saving plastics from going to landfills, using less energy, and not using any new resources. It’s a far more eco-friendly choice. 

We recommend checking out: Jade Swim

Jade Swim uses responsibly sourced organic, recycled, and regenerated materials in their products. The majority of their swimsuit collection is made from ECONYL (100% regenerated nylon). They also upcycle fabric scraps and make everything in the USA, ensuring a living wage to the workers. Their shipping and production cut CO2 emissions and they deliver everything in biodegradable packaging. 

Our top pick: Apex One Piece

This is a timeless shape, but by no means boring! Coming in many colors, it is a simple one-piece with a little twist. 


Like everything else we put on our skin, sunscreen absorbs and gets easily into your bloodstream. As mentioned in our intro, harmful chemicals make the majority of the sunscreens on the market. It goes further than that. Sunscreens get washed away (yes, even the waterproofed ones) and they end up in our waters and oceans. Because of their toxic composition, they can contribute to coral reef degradation.

Luckily, there are alternative and better ingredients, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that you can look for. Of course, don’t forget to look for the right SPF (stands for sun protection factor) as well as UV protection. 

We recommend checking out: All Good

All Good uses only certified organic ingredients, which are free from GMOs, 100% Reef Friendly and 3rd party tested. The company is a registered B Corp and everything they make is Leaping bunny certified (meaning that they are cruelty-free). 

They make their products in the USA. While not all, some of their stuff comes in glass or metal containers that can be recycled or reused, which means that they create less waste.

Our top pick: SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen Butter

If you want to make your summer more zero-waste, this sunscreen comes in reusable tin packaging. It’s also hypoallergenic and great for sensitive skin. Not to mention that it’s super water-resistant and practical to carry around!

Reusable bottle

Hydration is essential throughout the year, but especially as the temperatures go up. As one of the easiest zero waste swaps, we had to include reusable water (or any other liquid really) bottle on the list. Did you know that you could save up to 1,460 plastic bottles per year by using a reusable bottle? So, if you haven’t already, now’s the best time to make the switch!

If you are looking for a new bottle, we recommend finding the one that can last you for a long time as well as the one that holds the liquids well. After all, nobody likes a leaking bottle!

We recommend checking out: Klean Kanteen

Though internationally known and selling, Klean Kanteen is a family and employee-owned company from California. As a company, they invest and support their local community and their HQ operates on 100% solar energy! 

Kleen Kanteen is also a highly transparent company. They are Climate Neutral certified and focused on making chip-resistant, durable products (from bottles to mugs, and accessories).

Our top pick: Insulated Classic 20oz

You can use this one for your favorite hot or cold drinks: the bottle can hold liquids up to 20h hot and impressive 50h cold. It comes with a leak-proof loop cap and lifetime Strong as Steel guarantee. This summer essential is meant to last! 

Tote bag

Eco-friendly summer essentials: bag
A tote bag is always a good idea

This season, when you head out to the beach or city, you’ll need to carry your essentials around. Or maybe you’ll be visiting more farmer markets as the days get warmer. In any case, a good tote bag is something you may need.

As with everything else, look for a sustainably and ethically made one. Additionally, make sure they are sturdy, durable, and big enough to fit in your other essentials, like the water bottle.

We recommend checking out: Kayu Design

Kayu Design sources and upcycles the high quality natural and organic materials, like straws and vegetable leather. They make everything ethically, mainly in family-owned factories. 

Their bags, made in the Philippines or by immigrants in California, are designed to last a lifetime. The company also works to reduce its waste and is working on becoming a zero-waste brand in the next 5 years. 

Our top pick: We Are The Change Tote Bag

This is a beautiful and hand-embroidered tote that is simple but fashionable enough to lift up any outfit. As a bonus, the proceeds from this tote go towards the Loveland Foundation, a therapy fund for Black women and girls.  

Beach towels

First, use the towels you already own! But if you’re looking for a new one, make sure it’s sustainable, natural, and ethical.

A good towel should last you through the years and accompany you to any beach, pool, or picnic. Just like with clothes, prefer quality over quantity!

We recommend checking out: Anaskela (ships to the US)

Inspired by summers in Greece, Anaskela makes functional, absorbent, quick-drying, and sand-repellent beach towels. Their towels are thin and lightweight (200 – 300 grams) and meant for traveling. Using fibers made from recycled PET bottles, prevent waste from ending up in our oceans. 

But that’s not all: the company collaborates with organizations and does beach clean-ups. They make sure their products benefit people and the planet! 

Our top pick: Dusk Blue

This towel is not only functional but is also simply pretty. It is made out of recycled PET bottles and, because it’s so lightweight, it is multifunctional. Use it as a towel or as a cover-up, it’s handy in many situations.  


Protecting your skin is important, but so is protecting your eyes. Unfortunately, conventional sunglasses are essentially plastic. They break down easily and just contribute to waste and pollution. So, if you’re looking for new sunglasses, look for those made out of alternative materials, like bamboo, cork, or wood. In the past years, we see more and more companies offering this, so there’s a wide choice for all tastes. 

We recommend checking out: SOLO Eyewear

A Sand Diego based company, SOLO makes environmentally responsible sunglasses that restore vision for people in need. So far, SOLO has restored vision for over 15,000 people in need across 32 countries, by partnering with Aravind Eye Care System and Restoring Vision

They use repurposed bamboo, wood, and recycled plastic and their production is ethical.

Our top pick: Peru Sunglasses

Soft round and simple frames, this is a classic that looks good on many. These are bamboo sunglasses featuring polarized lenses with 100% UV protection. They are also handcrafted and lightweight. 

Eco friendly summer essentials: flip flops
Looking for some good summer flip-flops? Check out Savanna's shop!


Summer also means lighter footwear. We honestly can’t wait to jump into sandals again!

However, as we wrote before, the footwear industry is highly unsustainable. Most of our shoes are plastic, fast fashion produced, and easily end in landfills. That’s why if you are looking for new sandals this season, make sure to make a conscious choice

We recommend checking out: Savanna Sandals

Yes, check out our eco-friendly flip flops! We design functional, practical, and durable sandals for every day. Our design is soft and supportive, meant to accompany you everywhere you go. 

The best part is, these flip flops are made out of used tires. When you purchase a pair of Savanna’s you’re keeping nearly a pound of non-biodegradable tires out of overflowing landfills. Plus, we give back and donate 10% of our sales to the African Children's Haven.

Our top pick: Women's Black Pearl

You can’t beat the classic. Minimalistic, versatile, and easy to pair with virtually anything, these sandals might become the only thing you need this summer. They are a combination of 100% recycled rubber and PVC straps. 

Just in case you need a different type of sandals, we got you covered: check out our guide to best ethical and sustainable sandals here!


Did we miss any summer essentials? Let us know in the comments below!

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