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.
Participating restaurants must follow the first seven criteria:
- Only reusable food-ware is used for onsite dining.*
- Paper straws are provided only upon request.**
- No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).
- No plastic bags are used for takeout or to-go orders.
- Single-use utensils, straws, condiments, and other accessory items are provided only upon request for takeout and to-go orders.
- Beverages are not sold in plastic bottles.
- Proper recycling practices are followed.
As well as choose a minimum of three from the following criteria:
- A discount is offered for customers with a reusable item (e.g. cup, container, bag).
- Vegetarian and vegan food options are offered on a regular basis.
- All seafood is ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch, or certified as sustainable.
- Water conservation and pollution mitigation efforts are implemented.
- Energy efficiency efforts are in place.
- Concessions and pre-packaged food items are not sold in plastic packaging.
- Composting efforts are in place for food waste.
- Neither single-use plastic nor bio-based plastic containers are used for takeout or to-go orders, reusable containers are preferred.
*Foodware includes dinnerware, drinkware, silverware, and ramekins/containers.
** Exceptions may be made for naturally occurring materials (e.g. hay, bamboo)
and reusables (e.g. metal, glass), not including bio-based plastic. Straws should be
provided to anyone who needs one, including people with disabilities.
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.