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 five criteria:
- No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).
- Proper recycling practices are followed.
- Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining, and disposable utensils for takeout food are provided only upon request.
- No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders.
- Straws (never plastic) are provided only upon request.
As well as choose a minimum of two from the following criteria:
- No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
- Discount is offered for customers with reusable cup, mug, 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, such as low-flow faucets and toilets, are implemented.
- Energy efficiency efforts such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances, are in place.
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.