Ocean Friendly Restaurants

Our Oceans, Our Restaurants from the Surfrider Foundation Los Angeles Chapter.

See the current list of Ocean Friendly Restaurants in Massachusetts

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?

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!

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?

Mandatory Criteria (All 7 Required):

  1. Only reusable foodware 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 or to-go orders.
  5. Single-use utensils, straws, condiments, and other accessory items are provided only upon request.
  6. Beverages are not sold in plastic bottles.
  7. Proper recycling practices are followed.

* 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. Read more here.

Optional Criteria (Choose At Least 3):

  1. A discount is offered for customers with a reusable item (e.g. cup, container, bag).
  2. Vegetarian and vegan food options are offered on a regular basis.
  3. All seafood is ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch, or no seafood is served.*
  4. Water conservation and pollution mitigation efforts are implemented.**
  5. Energy efficiency efforts are in place.***
  6. Concessions and pre-packaged food items are not sold in plastic packaging.
  7. Composting efforts are in place for food waste.
  8. Neither single-use plastic nor bio-based plastic containers are used for takeout or to-go orders, reusable containers are preferred.

* Locally sourced, sustainable seafood is preferred and should be prioritized when Seafood Watch recommendations do not apply.

** Examples include installing low-flow faucets and toilets, offering drinking water upon request only, no hosing down outside to reduce urban runoff, proper disposal of FOG, and up-to-date septic or sewage to prevent wastewater pollution.

*** Examples include switching to LED lighting, installing solar panels, using Energy Star certified appliances and/or other efforts to use less energy.

Restaurants that meet all of the criteria are recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant!

Check out our Quick Guide for more tips to meet each of the criteria, and review our Ocean Friendly Foodware Guide to learn about greenwashing, product alternatives, and creative ways to implement more reusables.

What are Some Benefits of Being an Ocean-Friendly Restaurant?
  • Ocean Friendly Restaurants marketing collateral including window stickers, brochures, and bill inserts to promote your membership to customers.

  • Use of Ocean Friendly Restaurants logos for restaurant menu, website and other restaurant marketing materials.

  • Restaurant listed on Surfrider national and chapter websites.

  • Restaurant included in Ocean Friendly Restaurants national map on Surfrider national and chapter websites.

  • Launch parties and collaborative promotions with your nearest Surfrider chapter.

  • Access to national vendor discounts on sustainable restaurant and to-go products.

  •  Tax-deductible donation opportunity.

  • Association with a nationally recognized nonprofit with thousands of members and supporters working hard to keep our ocean healthy and protected!