Why do we need Ocean Friendly Restaurants?

EPS foam foodware (cups, plates, ‘clamshells’, etc.) is one of the most frequent items found during Surfrider beach cleanups. This type of foam does not biodegrade in our lifetimes, however, 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 it is 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.

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 of the program is eliminating EPS foam foodware (aka Styrofoam) because it is one of the most common items found during our beach cleanups. Other important measures for this program include reducing factory-farmed meat, increasing water conservation efforts, and using efficient energy sources. Compostable substitutes for styrofoam are readily available on island and its pricing is reasonable.

Contact Rebekah, ofr@kauai.surfrider.com, to get your Kaua`i restaurant certified. You will receive a certificate, free publicity and you will be making a difference.

Recently Certified Restaurants:


Restaurants participating in the OFR Program MUST follow these four criteria:

  1. No use of polystyrene (aka Styrofoam).
  2. Follow proper recycling practices.
  3. Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining, utensils for to-go food are provided only upon request.
    *Food trucks and take-out restaurants with no significant on-site dining (max 5-6 tables) are exempt from this requirement IF utensils are compostable or recyclable in your area.
  4. No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders.

In addition to the criteria above, restaurants must choose at least three of the following criteria:

  1. Plastic straws are only provided upon request.
  2. No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
  3. A discount is offered for customers with a reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.
  4. Vegetarian/Vegan options are offered on a regular basis. All Seafood must be ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch or certified sustainable.
  5. Participate in water conservation efforts, such as low-flow faucets and toilets.
  6. Energy efficiency efforts, such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances, are implemented where possible.

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.

Join the national movement by registering here.

Check out our full list of restaurants on all islands here.

Do you own or manage a restaurant that you would like to register as an Ocean Friendly Restaurant? Click on the link above to the chapter closest to you. If you are located elsewhere please email ofr@surfrider.org


Surfrider Foundation
Surfrider Foundation Oahu
Conservation Council for Hawaii
Kokua Hawai’i Foundation
Maui Huliau Foundation
Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii
Sierra Club of Hawaii


Surfrider Foundation acknowledges that we cannot claim that all listed restaurants are 100% in compliance with OFR standards at all times, but Surfrider Foundation strives to diligently review compliance on a regular basis. If an Ocean Friendly Restaurant is found to be out of compliance, they are removed from the website as quickly as possible.

Such a restaurant will not be reinstated on the list of Ocean Friendly Restaurants, until the compliance issue is remedied.