As a response to increased plastic pollution in the coastal zone and ocean gyres, Surfrider Foundation Chapters started an Ocean Friendly Restaurants program. The main goal of Ocean Friendly Restaurants is to eliminate expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam foodware (aka Styrofoam) and other disposable plastics, which are the items most commonly found at beach cleanups. Through this brand new program, our chapter seeks to celebrate and recognize restaurants that are taking the pledge and making efforts to reduce their plastic use.
What does it take to be an Ocean Friendly Restaurant?
Restaurants participating in the OFR Program MUST follow these seven criteria:
1. Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining.
2. Paper straws are provided only upon request.
3. No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).
4. No plastic bags are used for takeout orders.
5. Single-use utensils, straws, condiments, and other accessory items are provided only upon request.
6. No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
7. Proper recycling practices are followed.
And choose a minimum of three of these criteria:
- Discount 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, or no seafood is served.
- Water conservation efforts (such as low-flow faucets and toilets) and pollution mitigation efforts are implemented.
- Energy efficiency efforts (such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances) 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
Businesses that implement all criteria will be recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant!
What do Restaurants Get in Return?
Besides the fact that you will be doing an ocean of good, you will also be aligned with our Surfrider brand. Surfrider Foundation has an extremely credible brand with significant reach that even small businesses want to be associated with. This speaks to the success of the OFR Program and why it’s growing so rapidly.
Ocean Friendly Restaurants will be promoted through:
Website, Social Media, and Promo Videos: We plan to use our reach to promote your restaurant to our followers. OFRs will be featured on our website, promoted in our social media posts, and we will be creating a promotional video for OFR in which we will feature our participating restaurants.
Media Attention: The first restaurant to be certified in the Eastern Long Island Chapter will receive a press conference and press release to celebrate the launch of Ocean Friendly Restaurants on the East End.
National Recognition: OFR has been initiated in at least 10 other chapters across the country. We are building a database of all the OFRs across the nation and will be developing an interactive map so our supporters can easily find an OFR near them, even when they are traveling.
Cost Savings: By having customers ask for items like straws and to-go utensils you will need to give out less which means you will need to buy less. This can lead to big savings.
Swag: We will supply you with your very own OFR window sticker to display proudly in your window so your customers can feel even better about choosing your business. We can also provide table toppers and bill inserts so your customers can learn about the work you are doing to be an OFR.
We have made an Ocean Friendly Restaurants Toolkit that can be used to answer any questions you may have about the program and its requirements: Ocean Friendly Restaurants Toolkit