The Low-Down on Sand-Free Beach Towels
The latest fad is ‘sand-free’ beach towels, but are these fabrics good for you and good for the ocean? We delve into the sand-free fad.
Summer is upon us and for the ocean lovers and beach lovers among us, it is once again time to hit the sandy shores.
This summer our fav beach buddy ‘sand’ has been getting a bit of a bad rap. Like most true beach lovers, we love it. It is the earth’s natural soft and snuggly blanket, creating a quartz, mineral rich welcome for our friend the ocean. We’ll take it powdery and white, gritty and loufer-esque and even too hot to stand on. We love it when it is stuck to our bum, on our dogs noses, between our toes and as the building material for the most epic of sand sculptures.
But in this crazy time of less mess and more convenience, sandy has been replaced by sand-free.
But before we knock the sand-free craze, we wanted to dig a little deeper (pun) into the hype and offer some advice on if it is really all it is cracked up to be.
First things first - the fabric. The leading sand-free towels brands appear to be made from non-recycled (some are recycled) polyester, which, unfortunately is derived from petroleum-based fibers, using harmful chemicals and plastics that do not break down easily, if at all. As we know, this is bad for the ocean, bad for the turtles and bad for you. If these fabrics do break down eventually (this can take hundreds and hundreds of years) they will turn into micro-plastics that cannot be removed from the ocean (ever) and often end up in our seafaring friends and seafood. Yep. Bad.
Plus, crude oil transportation can spill and, which can cause mass extinction for our marine life along with irreversible damage. Less demand for products made from oil is good.
Some brands do use recycled water bottles to create part or all of the fabrics for their towels. Good right? Well, yes we think a lot better. But the processing of recycling bottles can be chemical and water heavy and, when the towels are done with they still break down to micro-plastics. Bad.
So, long answer short, our recommendation is to embrace the sand – between your toes and all the other places it ends up and choose a natural fabric for your towels that can and will break down and end up back in the Earth where it belongs. We love hemp (low water usage and soft), cotton (light and compostable), bamboo (soft and low water usage) and more. Just ensure it isn’t blended with a synthetic material. If you make a natural choice, you can even pop your old towels in your compost when you’re done. Even better.