One Restaurant at a Time

The Ocean Friendly Restaurant (OFR) campaign works with San Diego County restaurants to institute self-regulated ocean friendly policies that reduce disposable plastic waste. By reducing disposable waste, restaurants have the power to greatly reduce their impact on San Diego’s ocean and beaches. Instead of punishing restaurants that have wasteful practices, San Diego Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics committee will instead support restaurants that take it upon themselves to be ocean friendly. By engaging the restaurant community in a conversation about ocean friendly practices, we hope to significantly reduce disposable waste in our ocean and on our beaches.


Restaurants participating must follow the first four criteria:

1. No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).
2. Proper recycling practices are followed.
3. Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining, and disposable utensils for takeout food are provided only upon request.
4. No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders.


And choose a minimum of three of these criteria as well:

5. Plastic straws are provided only upon request.
6. No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
7. Discount is offered for customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.
8. Vegetarian/vegan food options are offered on a regular basis; and / or all seafood must be a ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch or certified as sustainable.
9. Water conservation efforts, such as low-flow faucets and toilets, are implemented.
10. Energy efficiency efforts such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances, are in place.

Restaurants who meet all 10 of the criteria are recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant.


  • Show your support by frequenting our certified Ocean Friendly Restaurants and let them know you found them on the OFR webpage
  • Say “no straw” whenever you order a drink (even take-out and drive-thru), and take the No Straw Pledge
  • Ask for water and other drinks in a reusable glass instead of plastic
  • Bring your own reusable cup for takeout coffee, and remember to  ask for a reusable mug when ordering “for here”
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to avoid purchasing plastic bottles of water
  • If you think you may have leftovers, bring your own reusable container instead of getting a disposable container from the restaurant
  • Always bring your own bag when picking up takeout food


Anyone can become part of the OFR team and certify restaurants to be Ocean Friendly.  Join us at a committee meeting to find out exactly how the process works.


Click here to start registration

Benefits of being an Ocean Friendly Restaurant

We offer restaurants several incentives for their Ocean Friendly practices.

  • Promotion to more than 30,000 San Diego County consumers through:
    • social media
    • our website
    • email blasts
    • community events and beach cleanups
  • Optional collateral including: OFR window sticker, table-toppers, diner brochures, bill stuffers and poster
  • Collaborative promotions such as launch parties or coupon days promoted to our members
  • Train wait staff about campaign
  • Vendor pamphlet with alternative material sources and pricing, including negotiated discounts


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