SAN DIEGO (May 20, 2015) – The Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego County Chapter has launched the Ocean Friendly Restaurants campaign, which aims to reduce beach pollution by working with the San Diego County restaurant community to voluntarily reduce the use of plastic food service items, including Styrofoam containers, plastic bags and disposable cups and utensils.
“Disposable plastic food-service items made up nearly half of all garbage picked up by Surfrider and Coastkeeper in 2014 during organized beach cleanup efforts,” said Jason Rubin, co-chair of Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics Committee. “This means that restaurants can have a tremendous impact on our ocean and beaches by adopting ocean-friendly practices.”
The Ocean Friendly Restaurants Campaign was officially unveiled at a news conference today at Wonderland Ocean Pub in Ocean Beach, one of the first restaurants to join the campaign.
“This is an important project that will have wide-ranging benefits for our beaches and bays,” said San Diego City Council President Sherri Lightner, who came out this morning to support the campaign along with City Council Member Chris Cate and members of the San Diego restaurant community and the local Surfrider chapter.
“This is an example of an incentive-based program that will protect the qualities that make San Diego a top tourist destination. This program, along with proper education, will help enhance the quality of life in San Diego without negatively impacting our small businesses,” Cate said.
Hoffman Leung, co-owner of Wonderland Ocean Pub, said, “Polystyrene foam has been the go-to material for take-out containers for decades, mainly for its low cost and effective heat insulation. But it’s also created a problem for our environment, not to mention our city as a whole.”
“As you can see from the group assembled here today, this is an inclusive campaign with broad-based support that spans the business community, elected officials from both sides of the political aisle and the greater restaurant industry,” said Mark West, Surfrider’s San Diego County Chair. “That’s because ocean and beach pollution affects everyone.”
The campaign rewards restaurants that agree to voluntary practices that decrease beach and ocean pollution. Restaurants that adopt ocean-friendly requirements are eligible for significant marketing and promotional support from Surfrider.
An Ocean Friendly Restaurant meets the following three requirements:
- No polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) is used.
- Only reusable tableware is used onsite.
- Proper recycling practices are followed.
An Ocean Friendly Restaurant must also meet at least three of the following six criteria:
- Plastic straws provided only upon request.
- Takeout food and beverage containers are recycled, recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable.
- Takeout bags are not made of plastic.
- Takeout bags are provided only upon request, or pickup customers are asked to provide their own takeout bags.
- Disposable utensils are provided only upon request.
- No beverages are sold in plastic bottles.
For more information on Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants campaign, go to surfriderSD.org/OFR.