Hawaii was the first state to ban sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. In addition, Maui County has banned all non-mineral sunscreens, and the island of Hawaii is currently considering stricter laws. The harm is that chemical sunscreens wash into the ocean, threatening marine life and contributing to coral bleaching.
Members of the tourism industry, including many hotels and tour operators on the islands, have proven to be important conservationists and are, in many cases, the first to educate visitors on how changing sunscreen can benefit marine ecosystems.
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“Did you know that coral reefs are the largest living thing on earth? Did you know that Hawaii has 80% of all coral reefs in the entire United States?” says Nate Brovelli, an Aston employee at Whaler Kaanapali Beach, in an informational video. “Well, in Hawaii, we strive to take care of our land, our sea and our environment, but we need everyone’s help.”
Since 2017, Aqua-Aston Hospitalitywhich has more than 40 hotels in the islands, has raised awareness of the environmental benefits of mineral-based sunscreens through its #ForOurReef Campaign. Not only does his hotels provide on-site sunscreen dispensers for guests, but he has also implemented signage at his properties.
Others also take an initiative. Napili Kai Beach Resort is handing out free samples to guests, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and Fairmont Kea Lani are offering free sunscreen dispensers at their pools and beaches, and Holo Holo Charters is stocking reef-safe sunscreen on all his boat trips.
The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea offers complimentary reef-safe sunscreen at its pools and on the beach. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea this month held a sunscreen swap campaign with Project Reef Suncare, a new product now offered free to guests at its beach and pools.
“We are thrilled to be part of the launch of mineral sunscreen offerings at Four Seasons Resort Maui,” said Matt Roomet, founder of Project Reef. “Since we launched Project Reef in March 2022, we have worked full steam ahead to ban chemical sunscreens in the United States. This collaboration is timely as it allows us to expand our mission to more consumers and to educate on the importance of breaking up with chemical sunscreen and going mineral now.”
All of these actions are important steps that collectively will help make a difference in improving the health of the ocean.