Green Summer Guide 2019: Sustainable Pool Floats

We just picked up our seasonal selection of pool floats (what? We’ve been busy!), because last year’s obviously didn’t survive the winter… which got us thinking: with all of these plastic inflatables floating around (which seem made to fall apart at a moment’s notice), there must be an immeasurable, growing mountain of pool paraphernalia resting not-so-peacefully in a dump somewhere. 

Not a pretty picture.

While we couldn’t find exact statistics on this specific category of waste, we did confirm that none of it is recyclable. Everything from inflatable beach balls, floats, water wings, and pools are destined to wind up in the trash heap. And, since everyone WE know tends to re-purchase these items every summer season, well… we don’t necessarily need to do the math to conclude that this isn’t great for our environment. 

Everyone’s favorite cup-holding swan float may be exposing you to harmful chemicals.

Plus, as it turns out, these items aren’t so great for us humans, either. Many of them contain PVC made with phthalates, which emits a gas that can contribute to certain forms of cancer and exacerbate asthma or allergies. On a side note, swimsuits – often made of plastic-based synthetic materials like nylon, polyester, and spandex – aren’t so fantastic for the earth or our bodies, either, which is why we opt for the gorgeous, eco-friendly styles by Amanda Louise Swimwear and Sage Larock

There isn’t much we can do about our past indiscretions (R.I.P. sparkle donut float of summer 2018). And, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to locate a single eco-friendly, sustainably-made pool float, despite the wide number of items claiming to be “eco-friendly” but still containing potentially harmful PVC and plastics. Yikes. So, at least for now, the best bet for earth-minded shoppers is to buy used. This cuts down on the demand for non-sustainable plastics and allows time for much of the potentially endocrine-disrupting phthalates to leach out. Another option is to purchase a better quality, longer-lasting float, like this one from Swimline, to help end the seasonal cycle of waste. 

While still non-recyclable, durable floats like this one from Swimline may be a better option than the ultra-disposable thin plastic options.

While we wouldn’t dare suggest that you stay away from pool fun entirely (we’d never be that cruel), we can at least help to build awareness around the damage that plastic pool floats and toys are doing, both to our environment and to our bodies. To read more and search a selection of super cute, earth-friendly pool toys, check out this article from Happy floating!