The Best Sustainable Summer Brands to Watch Out For in 2024

By Tamara Davison on May 10, 2024
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The Best Sustainable Summer Brands to Watch Out For in 2024
Tamara Davison
Tamara Davison

Tamara Davison is a journalist who specializes in sustainability and the environment. Reporting from around the world, she's seen firsthand the direct impact waste is having on coastal communities and our oceans. As a diver trained in ecological monitoring, the changes Tamara has seen in marine habitats inspired her to action. She's previously written for The Guardian, The Independent and the Evening Standard. She's also produced environmental documentaries for EuroNews.

According to a WWF report, plastic waste entering the Mediterranean Sea surges by roughly 40% each summer. This shocking increase is attributed to a wave of tourists that head to the beach each year. Unfortunately, this statistic isn’t unique. 

Summer is a time of picnics, parties, and festivals, often translating to a lot of single-use plastic  — but consumers have the power to make a difference. Summer is the perfect time to exercise that by choosing essential items that are also sustainable.  

From reef-safe sunscreens to recycled swimwear, here’s our breakdown of the best sustainable summer brands for 2024. 

At CleanHub, we help brands improve their environmental impact and reduce plastic waste. Want to know which brands are working with us to reduce their impact on the planet? Check out our Brand Directory to see the businesses committed to tackling plastic waste with us.

 

What’s on this page?

01 |Summary: Best sustainable summer brands
02 | Best sustainable swimwear brands
03 | Best sustainable sunscreen
04 | Best sustainable water bottle
05 | Best sustainable towels
06 | Best sustainable sunglasses

 

Summary: Best sustainable summer brands

Brand & category

Best for

Stay Wild (swimwear)

Circularity 

UV Skinz (swimwear)

Supporting coral reefs 

Summersalt (swimwear)

Transparency

V.Sun (sunscreen)

Ocean activism 

Surf Yogis (sunscreen)

Water sports 

A Drop in the Ocean (sunscreen)

Refillable options 

Ripl (water bottles)

Supporting coastal communities

Chilly’s (water bottles)

Creative designs 

Ocean Bottle (water bottles)

Recycled materials 

Seatowel (beach towels)

Recycling ocean plastic 

Nomadix (beach towels)

Multi-purpose uses 

Slowtide (beach towels)

Ethical supply chain 

Peep Eyewear (sunglasses)

Pre-loved 

CHPO (sunglasses)

Recycled plastic

Sunski (sunglasses)

Material innovation 

 

Best sustainable swimwear brands

Most swimwear brands use synthetic fibers like polyester in their products, which scientists believe account for around 35% of all microplastics found in the ocean. Luckily, a growing sustainable swimwear movement is turning the tide. 

1. Stay Wild 

Best for: Supporting circularity 

Stay Wild Swimwear is a small UK-based brand, created by Natalie Glaze and Zanna Van Dijk. Growing up snorkeling, swimming, and diving, the duo knew firsthand the importance of keeping our oceans clean, which is why they decided to create a brand that resonated with ocean lovers. 

Stay Wild creates bikinis, one-pieces, and body suits perfect for all water activities, from swimming to surfing. Working from its small London factory, Stay Wild’s team is deeply involved with manufacturing. They have a zero-waste policy and are committed to using ECONYL, a regenerated nylon created from other discarded products. 

In addition to creating some great swimwear designs, the B-Corp-certified brand also wants to stop swimwear waste from entering our environment. They’ve set up a circularity project that accepts postal donations of used swimwear (from any brand), with the materials sent to recycling partners to be repurposed into eco-industrial products. 

2. UV Skinz

Best for: Caring for corals 

Scientists predict that 90% of the world’s coral reefs will die within the next 100 years. Corals face a big challenge due to chemical imbalances in the water, which sunscreens contribute to. UV Skinz has developed an innovative solution to protect our oceans from harmful sunscreen chemicals. 

As its name suggests, UV Skinz offers a range of beach garments to protect skin from UV rays, with up to 50 SPF, including kids’ swimwear and adult rash guards, swimsuits, and sunhats. While reef-safe sunscreen shouldn’t be neglected, the lightweight materials of UV Skinz block UV rays to offer an extra layer of protection that’s good for the planet. 

UV Skinz naturally has a strong connection to the ocean, so the brand also decided to support the cleanup of ocean-bound plastic. Its target is to fund the collection of 100,000 pounds of plastic waste across Southeast Asia, and it’s more than halfway there. 

3. Summersalt

Best for: Transparency on sustainability

Summersalt took 1.5 million measurements from 10,000 women to create a swimwear collection that works with real bodies. The brand’s collection is made from 78% recycled polyamide and 22% lycra sourced from post-consumer materials and nylon waste. And, unlike fast-fashion swimwear brands, Summersalf’s luxury designs are made to last. 

Summersalt stands out because it is committed to authenticity, making people feel good, and being honest about its sustainability goals. Admitting that there’s still some way to go, Summersalt’s transparency is something we think all brands should replicate. 

“We are not perfect, but we are working toward sustainability at every turn,” the brand notes, explaining that it’s even developing sustainable strategies for garments made from traditional materials. 

 

swimwear

 

Best sustainable sunscreen brands

At least 14,000 tons of sunscreen seep into our oceans every year, and some of these chemicals can kill coral and damage the immune systems of marine life. Here are some natural and sustainable alternatives you should know about.  

4. V.Sun 

Best for: All-round ocean activism 

All the sunscreens mentioned here use natural ingredients to protect coral reefs and our skin. V.SUN, however, takes this one step further, having donated over €72,000 to NGOs working on coral restoration and supporting marine habitats. 

The German brand aims to champion circularity to protect our oceans. V.SUN products are free from silicones, nanoparticles, mineral oils, microplastics, parabens, synthetic polymers, and alcohol, so even people with sensitive skin can feel the positive benefits. 

And its efforts don’t end there. In 2021, V.SUN started making all its containers from recycled plastic and also teamed up with CleanHub to achieve plastic neutrality

5. Surf Yogis Zinc Sunscreen 

Best for: Water sports 

Surf Yogis sunscreen is a unique product that stands out from traditional chemical sunscreens. Made from ingredients like cocoa, coffee, and non-nano zinc oxide, it’s 100% reef-safe, long-lasting, and comes in a metal tin, eliminating the need for unsustainable plastic bottles. 

Surf Yogis sunscreen stands out because it’s designed for the outdoor adventurers among us — and, as a water baby myself, I swear by it.

Despite being made from all-natural ingredients, its thick consistency can stay on during prolonged water activities. Tried and tested by the world’s best water athletes, Surf Yogis is perfect for extended surfing sessions, freediving, and activities requiring long-lasting and waterproof sun protection. 

6. A Drop in the Ocean

Best for: Refillable options 

Despite a global boom in cosmetic refill programs, sunscreen refills are not very common just yet. However, US-based A Drop in the Ocean is one of a handful of brands that sell refills of its ocean-friendly sunscreen. The lavender- and eucalyptus-infused cream is made from natural ingredients and contains zinc oxide to make sure you’re protected from the sun. 

Consumers running low can order a “refill” on its website with a return label as part of its circularity program. They can then return their empty jar, which will be sanitized and reused for future sales. A Drop in the Ocean is also committed to environmental projects, promising to plant a tree with every purchase, so far funding the planting of 67,261 trees. 

 

Sunscreen

 

Best sustainable water bottle brands

One million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, and most of this single-use plastic will end up in landfills or polluting our oceans. Buying a sustainable water bottle can help reduce plastic waste while staying hydrated this summer. Here’s our selection of the best: 

7. Ripl 

Best for: Empowering coastal communities 

Sustainable company Ripl has it all: great designs, planet-friendly operations, and commitments to protecting rainforests and our oceans. It sells insulated drinking bottles in various earthy shades, notebooks with covers made from recycled plastic, and branded tote bags to encourage customers to ditch single-use plastic bags. 

Ripl’s products also fund several sustainable initiatives worldwide, meaning customers can feel good about their purchases having an impact. 

For every insulated Ripl bottle sold, the brand funds a day of employment for a Bali local to collect plastic on beaches. This means it’s helping clean up plastic waste and empowering coastal communities, helping to lift them out of poverty.

8. Chilly’s 

Best for: Creative designs

Chilly’s has become a household name in the UK, and sustainability has always been a top focus. 

This year, the certified B-Corp company released a range of bottles made from 90% post-consumer certified recycled stainless steel. For cleaning the inside, the company launched all-natural brushes made from tampico fibers and beechwood. It plans to use these sustainable materials in all its designs going forward. 

Chilly’s also has an innovative take-back scheme, accepting all reusable bottles regardless of the brand before repurposing the materials.  

All reusable bottles are good for the environment because they prevent single-use plastic waste. So, what makes Chilly’s stand out? Alongside sustainability, Chilly’s has focused on niche collaborations, partnering with artists to showcase its designs on limited edition bottles. That way, shoppers can simultaneously identify their unique water bottles and support local artists.  

9. Ocean Bottle 

Best for: Recycled materials 

Ocean Bottle considers itself the ‘world’s most eco-friendly water bottle’. Its collection of drinking bottles is made from 90% recycled stainless steel and recycled ocean plastic. The bottles are also fully recyclable, meaning you’re helping to support a circular economy by purchasing from this brand. 

Where Ocean Bottle stands out is its commitment to funding the recovery of plastic waste in the environment. For every reusable bottle it sells, the company funds the collection of 11.4 kg of plastic trash — that’s around the same weight as 1,000 plastic bottles. 

 

Best sustainable towel brands

Reports suggest that Americans make at least 400 million trips to the beach each year — that’s a lot of beach towels. Like other beach essentials, most towels are made from synthetic materials, which aren’t good for the planet. Here are some sustainable alternatives. 

10. Seatowel 

Best for: Recycling ocean-bound plastic

Seatowel supports the ocean by creating products from recycled cotton and seaqual yarn. This material is made from 100% recycled PET bottles, some of which have been retrieved from rivers and oceans, meaning its towels support a more sustainable environment. 

This company also donates 5% of its proceeds to the Plastic Soup Foundation to reduce the impact of microplastics in our oceans. 

11. Nomadix 

Best for: Multi-purpose towels

Created by a group of travelers, Nomadix sand-repellent towels are made from repurposed plastic and feature many creative prints. The company is committed to several sustainable initiatives, such as 1% for the Planet, which is a global commitment where companies pledge a portion of their profits to environmental causes. 

What’s more, the towels are designed to be versatile and multi-purpose so you can use them for camping, yoga, travel, and at the beach. The multi-purpose concept aims to inspire people to do more with less, encouraging a future where we have a minimal impact on the planet. 

12. Slowtide

Best for: Funky prints and an ethical supply chain  

Slowtide is dedicated to art, selecting a range of beautiful prints for its beach towel designs. The brand is also committed to supporting the environment using sustainably sourced cotton and 100% recycled polyester. 

The brand also stands out for its ethical commitments, with its suppliers passing independent assessments to ensure fair practices. The brand’s creators said they’d traveled the world to find the best factories to work with, ensuring its manufacturing processes are transparent and staff are supported. 

 

Sunglasses

 

Best sustainable sunglass brands 

When you think of sustainability, sunglasses don’t usually come to mind. They’re usually made from plastic and don’t usually last very long, given our tendency to lose or break them. However, a growing movement of eyewear brands is putting the planet first. 

13. Peep Eyewear

Best for: Pre-loved glasses 

Peep Eyewear stocks pre-loved and recycled sunglasses, giving frames a new lease of life and preventing them from being sent to landfills. However, the UK-based brand doesn’t stop there: it also plants a tree for every pair of glasses it sells and offers repair services to prevent more glasses from being unnecessarily thrown away. 

Not only does Peep stock many iconic designs, but it also helps customers embrace a circular economy by accepting donations of old glasses and refurbishing them. Its packaging is also plastic-free and usually made from FSC-certified recycled card, making it an all-around sustainable sunglasses leader.

14. CHPO

Best for: Affordable designs and recycled plastic 

Founded in 2013, Swedish brand CHPO has been spearheading sustainable sunglass designs for more than a decade. All of its frames are made from recycled and GRS-certified polycarbonate or recycled steel, while its sunglass pouches come from recycled PET. 

The brand is also an ocean advocate, having partnered with CleanHub to support coastal communities and clean up ocean-bound plastic. 

15. Sunski

Best for: Material innovation 

California-based brand Sunski is on a mission to inspire shoppers to live in balance with nature while raising the bar on sustainable sunglasses. Environmentally friendly practices are part of its core values — it has a climate-neutral certification, meaning it measures emissions and invests in carbon credits and is part of the 1% for the Planet initiative. 

The small business even spent three years inventing a recycled polymer called SuperLight, which offered more durability and flexibility than other recycled materials. The brand's founders are so confident in their sustainable materials that they even offer a lifetime warranty on all their designs. 

 

Summary 

Armed with planet-friendly products, this year’s sun-filled holidays may feel a little bit more special. From kind-to-coral sunscreens to designer swimsuits made from recycled fishing nets, there are plenty of ways to do your bit. 

After all, there’s nothing quite like investing in Mother Nature and knowing your purchases will make a positive difference for many summers to come. 

Do you want to support brands that prioritize sustainability this summer? CleanHub can help you make an informed decision. Visit our Brand Directory to discover which businesses have committed to cleaning up ocean plastic. 

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