Surfrider is fed up with pollution. As a response to increased plastic pollution in the coastal zone and ocean gyres, Surfrider Foundation Chapters started an Ocean Friendly Restaurants program. A main goal is eliminating EPS foam foodware (aka Styrofoam) because it is a top item found at our beach cleanups. There are other types of pollution and issues that restaurants can help with so we added criteria such as conserving water and serving responsible food.
Why do we need Ocean Friendly Restaurants?
EPS foam foodware (cups, plates, ‘clamshells’, etc.) is a top item found at Surfrider beach cleanups and EPS foam does not biodegrade in our lifetimes. It may photodegrade and/or break into small pieces if littered, which are harder to clean up.
Animals can mistake EPS foam for food or nesting materials and although inexpensive to buy, EPS foam litter can be expensive to clean up.
Americans use an estimated 500 million plastic straws every day and restaurants use an average of 5,800 gallons of water per day.
Restaurants participating in the OFR Program MUST follow these four criteria:
1. No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).
2. Proper recycling practices are followed.
3. Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining and utensils for to-go food are provided only upon request.
4. No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders.
And choose a minimum of three of these criteria as well:
5. Plastic straws are provided only upon request.
6. No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
7. Discount offered for customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.
8. 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.
9. Water conservation efforts such as low-flow faucets and toilets.
10. Energy efficiency efforts such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances.
Implement all 10 of the criteria to be recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant!
Check out this Quick Guide for Restaurants for specific ways to meet each of the criteria.
These are minimum criteria aimed at teaming up with restaurants to help protect the coast. Some chapters may have stricter criteria based on their local situation.