Last Updated on January 20, 2023 by The Filtery
It’s time to hit the beach (or pool) and unwind! You’ve worked hard and you deserve to lay back with a good beach read and relax with the sun on your skin.
But unless you want to end up cold and wet and waiting miserably to air dry before getting in the car, do not forget your beach towel!
In this article, we’re talking about the pros and cons of beach towels made from recycled plastic bottles, and then we’re giving you our favorite brands that are made from organic, natural, and plastic-free alternatives.
Oh and before we get started, here are some related posts you might be interested in as well:
- Does Organic Swimwear Even Exist?
- And what about non-toxic kiddie pools?
- Best Non-Toxic & Organic Bath Towels
- Our Favorite Organic Hooded Baby Towels
- Best Organic Kitchen & Dish Towels
This post contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase. We only make recommendations that are genuine and meet our standards.
Featured Image Credit: Weezie
Are Beach Towels Made From Recycled Plastics Good?
A lot of beach towels on the market have traditionally been made out of conventional cotton and/or polyester.
As a virgin synthetic, polyester has a heavy environmental impact, so some brands started using fabric made from recycled plastic bottles instead. And while these recycled towels are definitely a better option, they come with one main downside: microplastics.
As we use and wash synthetic fabrics (including towels), tiny microscopic pieces of plastic shed from the fibers and wash into our oceans and other waterways. They’re not good for anyone involved in our eco-systems—the plants, critters, or humans (by making their way through our entire food chain and into our bodies). And as you can imagine, these plastics are really difficult to clean up.
Sometimes, avoiding synthetics is really difficult… or maybe even impossible (as is the case with kids’ swimwear, apparently). And so we’re not here to shame anyone who loves their towels, clothes, or other products made from recycled PET bottles. After all, that’s still plastic that’s not ending up in a landfill and it’s still reducing our reliance on virgin materials.
But the good news is that when it comes to beach and pool towels, there is no shortage of plastic-free brands that are super absorbent, plush, durable, easy to travel with, and kid-friendly.
So if you want to go the plastic-free route for your next trip to the beach, you’ve got plenty of great brands to choose from.
The Best Plastic-Free and Organic Beach Towels
These are our picks for the best non-toxic organic cotton beach towels. You’ll find some that are made from pure organic cotton, while others are made out of natural linen or conventional cotton. Some are more feminine in their look and feel, while others are more masculine. Some are more plush and fluffy, while others are thinner and more lightweight.
In addition to being free from synthetics, we’ve also looked for brands that use ethical practices throughout their manufacturing process (such as using Fair Trade certified factories), use non-toxic and/or natural dyes to color their fabrics, and carry various third-party certifications (such as GOTS, OEKO-TEX, MADE SAFE, and more).
So no matter your specific beach towel needs and preferences, you can feel good buying from these brands:
1. Coyuchi (Best Overall)
A top brand for organic and non-toxic home goods, it’s no wonder one of our favorite eco-friendly beach towel brands is Coyuchi. Their towels are made out of 100% GOTS certified organic cotton that’s grown and woven in Turkey.
They have two collections: their Tomales towels, which are inspired by the gorgeous striped sarape blankets of Mexico, and their Mediterranean towels, which have a flat weave and a more traditional Turkish towel aesthetic. (The Mediterranean collection is also MADE SAFE certified, which is one of the most strict certifications in terms of safety from toxins!)
These towels are not only made out of safe, natural materials, but they come from a brand we trust to manufacture truly high-quality goods AND they look beautiful in any space.
2. Weezie (Best for the Whole Family)
Weezie’s plush towels are made in Portugal using 100% organic long-staple cotton. They’re hypoallergenic and OEKO-TEX® certified, too.
Not only that, but these towels are cut and sewn in such a ways as to minimize linting as well as the amount of sand they pick up. They carry six different colors and patterns, from sea foam green to bright yellow stripes.
They also have super cute cover-ups for kids to keep your little ones warm while they play at the pool or beach. And if you want to make things extra personalized for the family, you can add your own monogram, too.
P.S. If you’re looking for more great options for babies and toddlers, check out this article for our favorite hooded towels for little ones. Even though they’re *technically* bath towels, you can easily take them to the pool or beach!
3. Hilana (Most Affordable)
Full disclosure: these towels are not actually organic. But they still make our list for a great eco conscious, plastic-free option because they’re made using 50% recycled cotton (combined with 50% regular cotton).
Hilana’s towels come in several different colors and patterns, whether you prefer bright stripes or solid neutrals. Their towels, which are finished with a stylish fringed edge, have a super soft and lightweight feel—so you won’t ever have to worry about using a lot of energy to carry yours to and from the beach.
This brand’s towels are also ultra-absorbent and dry quicker than a regular plush beach towel. That means less damp towels in your pool bag, in the car, etc!
Hilana is also B Corp certified brand and all of their towels and blankets are ethically made by artisans in Turkey.
4. Outlier (Best Linen)
If you’d rather go for natural linen towels rather than cotton, these ones from Outlier are the real deal.
First of all, linen is a great option for eco-friendly beach towels because it grows quickly, doesn’t need pesticides and herbicides, and requires a lot less water compared to cotton. Linen also naturally dries faster than cotton, which makes these towels a perfect fit for days when all you want to do is dip in the water again and again.
These particular 100% linen towels from Outlier have a dimensional grid weave, which means it dries even better, weighs less, and packs so compact that you can use it most anywhere, “from beach to backcountry and of course in your bathroom.”
They’re available in three sizes, three colors (gray rock, summer blue, and raw flax), and they come with loops so you can easily hang them up on any hook.
5. Pottery Barn (Best Personalized)
If you like that classic striped awning look for your pool towels, Pottery Barn has a great collection that’s made using 100% organic cotton, certified by GOTS and BCI. They also carry the OEKO-TEX certification, which means they’ve been tested to be free from a long list of toxins.
You can also get these towels monogrammed, so the whole family can match but also have their own.
6. Affina (Best Oversized)
At a standard size of 40×71 inches, you won’t find very many bigger, cozier organic beach towels than the ones from Affina. They’re pretty budget-friendly, too, especially when you consider their luxe 100% cotton material and superior design—sculpted in soft terry velour on the front, with a solid loop terry back.
Affina towels are soft to the touch, fast-drying, and very absorbent. Furthermore, their sustainable beach towels carry a whole host of certifications like GOTS Organic, OEKO-TEX, and USDA.
Their beautiful colors and designs are inspired by different coral reefs!
7. Finisterre (Best Changing Robe)
Need to make a wardrobe change in at the beach or pool? This clever robe/towel combo is made from super-soft GOTS certified organic cotton and eliminates the need for any embarrassing towel mishaps!
It’s got plenty of room so pretty much any family member can use it. Oh, and it has a hood, too!
8. MINNA (Best Artisan Made)
MINNA’s towels aren’t organic, but we’re including them here as a great plastic-free option because they have a lot of other things going for them.
First of all, they’re gorgeous! They’re handwoven in partnership with a cooperative of weavers in Nahuala, Guatemala, about an hour away from the beautiful Lake Atitlán. These craftspeople use pedal looms to weave together 100% cotton fabric that’s colored using non-toxic dyes.
These towels are also super absorbent but lightweight, so they can be rolled or folded up seamlessly to store or travel with.
Conventional beach towels often contain microplastics that aren’t healthy for humans or our environment. So, the next time you need a beach towel for a day at the beach, you might want to choose from one of the natural, non-toxic, and eco-friendly brands above!
Image Credits: All product photos belong to respective brands