How to help keep our beaches clean all year round

By Arran Wallace

Who doesn't love going to the beach? These areas of natural beauty, where land meets sea, provide hours of fun for adults, kids, and dogs alike. It's painful to see, however, the amount of trash left behind after a busy Saturday at the beach, knowing that the ocean will end up being the final resting place for all types of waste. In fact, 6.5 million tons of litter end up in the ocean each year—half of which are plastic products that will take hundreds of years to break down.

Marine and beach pollution come from a number of different sources, not just littering, including sewage, ocean mining, oil spills, agricultural runoff, toxic chemicals, air pollutants, and maritime transportation. Of this list, one thing we can easily and quickly change, though, is where and how we get rid of our trash, in order to help save our beaches, oceans, and marine life.

Check out our how-to guide on how to help keep our beaches clean all year round.

At the beach

The best reusable water bottles, as reviewed by Your Best Digs.

Reusable containers

One way to prevent the amount of trash left behind on the beach is to think carefully about what you take there in the first place. Avoid bringing unnecessary items to reduce the risk of leaving them behind, unintentionally or not. Invest in reusable water bottles that can be used for lots of different activities, and use Tupperware containers to carry your food instead of tinfoil or plastic wrap.

Some trash is bound to be produced by your trip to the beach, but sometimes the local beach doesn’t have adequate waste disposal and recycling services, so pack a trash bag with you to make sure you throw everything away, and easily hold onto it until you find somewhere to dispose of it properly.

Portable ash trays

Another major cause of water pollution comes from cigarette butts. Putting cigarettes out in the sand and leaving them there increases the likelihood that they'll blow into the sea, where they release toxins and pollutants, as well as generally adversely affect water quality and marine life.

A test conducted found that just one cigarette butt releases enough toxins to kill over 50% of the fish exposed to it for 24 hours. Moreover, their physical similarity to insects mean fish will consume them, and since they're unable to digest them, they will stay in their stomachs forever.

Avoiding all of this is as simple as investing in a portable ashtray, which you can then empty into the garbage when you dispose of all your other waste.

Peanut, the poor turtle deformed by a six-pack ring.

Avoid bringing and using plastic

Most people have probably seen the video of that poor sea turtle that had a straw removed from its nose, and six-pack rings are yet another way our drinking habits can negatively impact the lives of sea turtles. You can still enjoy your beer, but make sure to properly dispose of the rings and cut them up just in case.

If you find yourself at a beach bar, remember to turn down a straw if you're offered one. We were perfectly capable of drinking before 1888—the year when straws were invented—so we can easily give the turtles a break. Insist on being served in a glass, not a plastic cup, and enjoy your drink at the bar, with the shade and music, rather than taking it back to the sand.

Be careful with open flames

Everyone enjoys a good beach bonfire, but not everyone likes to see a beach cluttered with old fire pits that are blowing ash everywhere. If you do decide to have one, put the fire out thoroughly with water, and cover the embers with sand to prevent them from spreading. Once any rocks you've used are cool to the touch, move them back to their original locations, and fill the hole with sand. It's that simple, and now, the beach is ready for someone else to enjoy!

Burning your trash is also a bad idea—not only is it illegal in many places, but a low-temperature fire, such as a bonfire, also doesn't destroy trash. Instead, it turns it into tiny soot and ash particles that contain toxins, which are then blown into the air, spread around, and deposited into the sea, in addition to the surrounding soil and vegetation.

Volunteers at a beach clean-up organized by Ocean Conservancy.

Participate in beach clean-ups

The next time you're headed to the beach, why not set aside 30 minutes of your trip for a fun, group beach clean-up? You and your friends can go to different areas of the beach, maximizing the amount of beach you cover. You can even make it a competition, with a prize for the most trash collected.

On your own? No problem! Click here to check for organized ocean clean-ups near you. Ocean Conservancy is dedicated to reaching the goal of having trash-free oceans, and they have loads of information on how you can organize a clean-up yourself and what you will need before, during, and afterwards.

In 2015, volunteers in San Diego removed 197,788 pieces of trash, weighing 9,825 pounds, from their beaches. If that's how much trash was removed from San Diego alone, imagine how much trash could be removed from all of our beaches!

Away from the beach

Thinkbeforeyouflush.org, a website dedicated to raising awareness about the damage caused by the things we flush down the toilet

Although it's a great start, eliminating ocean pollution is not as simple as just disposing of our trash correctly and picking up what others have left. All waterways lead to the ocean, so garbage and waste products can make their way into the oceans via garbage disposals and sewage pipes.

We must be conscious of how we dispose of our waste at all times, especially of what we flush. In 2017, more than 5,000 wet wipes were found in a small area of the Thames River, which is just one example of a commonly flushed item that doesn't break down. Other examples include cotton balls, dental floss, pet litter, oils, and medicines, all of which have been flushed down the drain, into local rivers, and, eventually, the ocean.

While it's important for all of us as individuals to take action, we cannot exempt local businesses and global corporations from doing their part, too. Wherever possible, use the services of companies that have the best policies towards packing and plastic usage, and don't be afraid to tell your local café if you think they are being particularly wasteful. If dealing with an international chain, an online petition or letter and interaction via social media are powerful tools. Finally, remember to educate others, as only together can we hope to make a change.


Don't forget to check out some of our other blogs for tips and guides on a whole range of subjects!

Best Beaches in England

By Lucy Tyler

A girl on the beach in England.

A beach break in England? Does the sun even exist there? A country (unfairly) notorious for its unlucky weather, England isn´t the first place that springs to mind when planning a beach break, but rest assured, the following destinations are sure to send you into a frenzy that is proceeded with hasty suitcase packing and manic bikini buying. When the sun shows its face, there's no better place to be than exploring the unspoiled shores of the marvelous English coastline.

These national treasures are the perfect antidote to the chaos of city life. When sprawled out on a sunbed with an ice cream in hand, your worries will feel far, far away...

So ditch the TripAdvisor reviews, Glamping Hub has made our pick of the country´s most jaw-dropping shorelines that will make any beach bum burst with excitement and spark that inner wanderlust.

**1. For something a little different: Brighton Beach**

The boardwalk in Brighton Beach.

Although not the most typical beach that you had in mind, Brighton Beach is undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. Arguably one of England's most iconic beaches, Brighton oozes a unique and rustic charm you can't find on the likes of the standard west coast of California—or anywhere else for that matter.

Soak up the chilled vibes and the vibrant culture that Brighton exudes, and don't forget to buy a stick of rock, stroll the promenade, and check out the world-famous Brighton Pier. (And don't be put off by the pebbles—at least you won´t have to worry about sandy sandwiches!)

**2. For those seeking seclusion: Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland**

Beach glamping in North England.

Not a fan of your typical beach swarming with crowds of sun-worshippers? Northumberland is an oasis for those seeking an off-the-beaten-track getaway. One of northern England's best-kept secrets and a place steeped in fascinating history is the captivating coastline of Bamburgh Beach. It features an infinite stretch of untouched shoreline and the enchanting Bamburgh Castle, which dominates the skyline.

Comb the beach for marine life, enjoy a windswept wander along the coast, check out the shipwrecks, and hit the waves for excellent surfing. If you fancy a break from the beach, a visit to the castle is a definite must-do, as well as a walk around the quaint nearby towns for wonderful eating, drinking, and shopping.

**3. For an island getaway: Pelistry Bay, Isles of Scilly**

A lovely beach in Cornwall, England.

Out of all of England's vacation destinations, the breathtaking Isles of Scilly are up there with the best of them! With the glistening white sand beaches, turquoise, crystal clear waters, and small boats dotted along the horizon, you'll feel like you've been transported to the Carribean...and yet you're just a 15-minute flight from the mainland of England.

The picture-perfect Pelistry Bay can be found on St Mary's, the largest of these idyllic islands, which has been classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. St Mary's is a hub of activity, with a myriad of shops, cafes, restaurants, and fun attractions. And while the shores here are popular among tourists, Pelistry Bay is largely undiscovered, so let's just keep it between us, hey?

**4. For the adventurers: Durdle Door, Dorset**

Beach near glamping site in Dorset, England.

Another hidden gem of southern England's coastline with its remote setting, dramatic cliff backdrop, and magnificent, towering arch, Durdle Door is a place like no other. Carved into Dorset's striking coastline lies this stunning bay, which features in the movie Far From the Madding Crowd, the artwork of Pink Floyd, and even a Cliff Richard music video.

Durdle Door is one for the adventurers, with a slightly strenuous (but definitely worth it) climb down to the shingle beach. A few hundred steps lead down the cliff, which weaves down like a spiral staircase, offering breathtaking vistas and endless Instagram opportunities. Awaiting you down below lies pristine sand, sparkling water, and a secluded setting sheltered by the wind, perfect for whiling away the hours with a good book.

**5. For the surfers: Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall**

View of the beach from a glamping site in Cornwall, England.

A hotspot for surfers and bucket-and-spaders alike, Cornwall is undoubtedly one to tick off the bucket list. (no pun intended) Nestled into the towering bluffs of Englands southwestern peninsula, the famous Porthcurno Beach boasts a curve of dreamy, golden sand, reminiscent of the Mediterranean. The shores here are a wonderful blend of sand and shingle, and the powerful waves are a dream come true for boarders and water sports lovers.

The tall, granite cliffs provide protection from the blustery winds and this picturesque beach makes for the perfect spot to lay out in the sun while drifting off to the soothing sound of the waves crashing against the shore. Perched above, sits the unique and world-famous open-air Minack Theatre, where you can catch a Shakespeare show with an impressive, panoramic backdrop.


Want to see more? Feast your eyes on these wonderful English glamping getaways and let the adventures begin!