Teens Turning Green Blog

Star Spangled & Sustainable! Celebrate the Fourth in Earth-Friendly Fashion.

Fourth of July weekend is here! Time to pack up my key accessories – sunscreen, bug spray, a towel, and a fabulous picnic for my day along the California coast.

Here are 4 ways I am preparing for my earth-friendly holiday:

Protect. I remember when I was younger and adults were always trying to drag me away from a great game of Marco Polo to reapply SPF 60 or to mist my body with bug spray.

Although I applied these two products to my body to protect my skin, I was doing more harm than good.  Harmful chemicals were lurking in many of my products! YIKES!  Luckily, I found some great, non-toxic options!

Sunscreen. It is time to slather on the ‘screen! According to the National Cancer Institute, the number of reported melanoma cases in America are increasing yearly. Sunscreen can help prevent your chances of becoming part of this statistic. Many sunscreens on the market contain toxic chemicals such as oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate, both of which have been linked to damaging skin and contribute to coral bleaching. My choice?

Bug spray.  Unfortunately, bug spray contains DEET, a carcinogen that causes nausea, dizziness, brain cell death, behavioral changes, and more.  When combined with oxybenzone, one of the most commonly used sunscreen ingredients, the combination absorbs into our skin quicker, resulting in more absorption of chemicals into our bodies.

Ditch the DEET and check out these alternatives:

  • Lemon eucalyptus oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Cedarwood oil

Dry off.  When I run out of the water, I immediately reach for my beach towel to get warm and dry off, but what material am I actually wrapping my body in?  
Towels are often made with cotton.  According to EcoWatch, more than 25% of the world’s pesticides are used for cotton production.  I look for companies that produce organic cotton towels to avoid agrochemicals.  I like Coyuchi!  They even have organic sheets that I can lay on the grass or on the beach for my holiday picnic!  

Conserve.  When I have picnic, day at the beach, or holiday party, I always need to pack LOTS of food!  At the grocery store, I used to reach for the pre-cut fruit in the plastic containers because it’s convenient and easy or prepare my food, put it on a plastic plate, and wrap it in saran wrap.  This may seem like a typical way to pack food (I thought it was!), but plastic not only contribute to pollution but also cause damage and even death to marine life.

Now, I know my eco-friendly holiday doesn’t need to cramp my style!  U Konserve and Klean Kanteen are two companies where I buy great stainless steel containers and water bottles in all different styles and colors.


Eat! I smell it! The warm apple pie just came out of the oven. MMMMM!! Now, I taste it! I am savoring a juicy piece of freshly cut watermelon.

The food tastes great, but where did it come from? (and I don’t mean which grocery store!) Is it local? How was the food grown? Is it organic? Non-GMO? What kind of food should I be buying?

When shopping for my groceries, I look for FLOSN food, or fresh, local, organic, seasonal, and non-GMO. The food tastes even better, I am supporting my local food shed, and harmful agricultural practices aren’t harming me or the planet!

I read Whole Foods Market’s quality standards, the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, and Lexicon of Sustainability’s Food List to help me figure out the best foods to buy, and you should, too!


Now that I have safe, eco-friendly products, I am ready to head to the beach and enjoy my Fourth of July weekend!  How about you?

This entry was published on July 2, 2016 at 12:00 pm and is filed under Body, Eat, Holidays, Live, Wear, Zero Waste. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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