Plastic pollution is suffocating our ocean and the many animals that call it home. Researchers estimate there are now over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean with the number continuing to grow every day. This pollution is impacting our marine ecosystems, wildlife such as seabirds, dolphins, fish, and turtles, and plastic fragments are even displacing plankton at the base of the food chain. So what’s the best way to combat this global epidemic facing our ocean? It’s simple: we need to stop the problem at its source! The Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program does just that. One restaurant, one customer at a time, increases awareness, drives change in behavior and ultimately creates scalable impact to reduce our plastic (and water!) footprint.
The Ocean Friendly Restaurants program offers restaurants an easy way to show their commitment to making sustainable choices for our ocean. Interested in becoming a Surfrider Ocean Friendly Restaurant Member?
Restaurants participating must follow the first five criteria:
- No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).
- Proper recycling practices are followed.
- Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining.*
- No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders and utensils are provided only upon request.
- Paper straws are provided only upon request.**
* Foodware includes dinnerware, drinkware, silverware, and ramekins/containers.
** Exceptions may be made for alternatives made from other naturally occurring materials and reusables. Straws should be provided to anyone who needs one, including people with disabilities. Read more here.
And choose a minimum of two of these criteria:
- No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
- Discount is offered for customers with reusable cup, container, bag, etc.
- Vegetarian/vegan food options are offered on a regular basis
- All seafood must be a ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch or certified as sustainable.
- Water conservation efforts and pollution mitigation efforts are implemented.
- Energy efficiency efforts are in place.
Check out our Quick Guide for more tips to meet each of the criteria.
Review our Ocean Friendly Foodware Guide to learn about greenwashing, product alternatives, and creative ways to implement more reusables.
Restaurants who meet all of the criteria are recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant.
Interested in supporting this program as a volunteer or business?
Contact Jessica Gilligan at firstname.lastname@example.org