Do you own or manage a restaurant in Massachusetts that you would like to register as an Ocean Friendly Restaurant? Please contact us for more information!
The Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants (OFR) program was started in recognition of the important role that restaurants and diners can play in ocean protection.
OFR allows restaurants to partner with a local Surfrider Chapter and publicly demonstrate their commitment to making sustainable choices for the ocean and its inhabitants. The program also helps customers make informed decisions about reducing their environmental impact when choosing where to dine out.
Why Ocean Friendly Restaurants?
From coasts and beaches to the middle of the gyres far from land, plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats facing the ocean. The proliferation of single-use straws, beverage containers, and other foodservice-ware, especially those made from expanded polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam®), is a significant part of this problem.
To put this into perspective, each DAY people in the United States are estimated to use:
- 500 million drinking straws
- 273 million single-use plastic bags
- 295 million disposable cups, including 68 million expanded polystyrene cups
These are all made from materials that can remain in the marine environment for hundreds of years, directly harming wildlife through ingestion or entanglement, concentrating toxins, and eventually fragmenting into tiny pieces that are nearly impossible to clean up.
Click here for more information about polystyrene.
Beyond plastics, this program also addresses other important choices that impact the ocean, such as energy usage, water conservation, and the responsible sourcing of seafood.
What is an Ocean Friendly Restaurant?
Participating restaurants must meet ALL of the first four criteria:
- No expanded polystyrene use (a.k.a. Styrofoam).
- Proper recycling practices are followed.
- Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining and utensils for to-go food are provided only upon request.
- No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders.
And also meet at least three of these criteria as well:
- Plastic straws are provided only upon request.
- No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
- 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.
- Water conservation efforts such as low-flow faucets and toilets.
- Energy efficiency efforts such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances.
A restaurant meeting all 10 of these criteria can be recognized as a Platinum-Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant!
Check out this Quick Guide for Restaurants for some specific ways to meet each of the criteria.
What are Some Benefits of Being an Ocean-Friendly Restaurant?
In return for a registration fee (based on the number of employees of the establishment), a certified Ocean Friendly Restaurant receives:
- Ocean Friendly Restaurants marketing collateral including window stickers, brochures, table-tops, and bill inserts to show your membership to your customers.
- Promotion by local and national Surfrider Foundation on websites and social media platforms.
- Association with a nationally recognized nonprofit with thousands of members and supporters dedicated to ocean protection.
- Recognition as an industry leader that has taken a public stance in support of sustainable dining.