We're fed up with pollution

As a response to increased plastic pollution in the coastal zones and ocean gyres, Surfrider Foundation Chapters started an Ocean Friendly Restaurants program. The primary goal was to eliminate plasticware and EPS foam foodware (aka styrofoam) because they are top items found at beach cleanups. The program also includes criteria such as conserving water and serving responsible food.  These restaurants serve as an important example of how sustainable efforts can reduce pollution.

The Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition has adopted the program and is working to sign up businesses in Tampa Bay! It’s the perfect mix of local and national action. Our volunteers are on hand to answer your questions, patronize your restaurants, and address your concerns. Your certification will come from a National organization who are spending time and money to strengthen the Ocean Friendly brand, so that your involvement is recognized around the country. It’s a win win!


How to become an Ocean Friendly Restaurant

Mandatory Criteria

  • No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).

  • Proper recycling practices are followed, if available.

  • Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining, and disposable utensils for takeout food are provided only upon request.

  • No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders.

  • Straws are provided only upon request. Paper straws are preferred.

In addition to the above, businesses must choose at least two additional criteria from the following list:

  • No beverages sold in plastic bottles.

  • Discount is 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, are implemented.

  • Energy efficiency efforts such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances, are in place.

Implement all THE criteria to earn Platinum Level!

Have Questions?

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What's in it for the restaurant?

In addition to the knowledge that you're making a difference in the world, Ocean Friendly Restaurants benefit from the following:

  • Ocean Friendly Restaurants marketing collateral including window stickers, brochures, table-tops, and bill inserts to show your membership to your customers.

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

  • Brand recognition and visibility via the social media networks of our 18+ coalition partners.

  • Company spotlight on our website as well as on Surfrider national and chapter websites. 

  • Launch parties and collaborative promotions with us.

  • Inclusion on a local and National Ocean Friendly Restaurant map.

  • Staff training.

  • Support in finding cost-effective suppliers for alternative materials and practices.

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

  • Tax-deductible contribution.

Certification Costs

Cost for annual certification cover the materials and marketing provided to your organization, your staff training, and help and support during your transition.

The Ocean Friendly Restaurants membership fee is based on a sliding scale ranging from $125 to $175 annually for local businesses based on the number of employees at the restaurant.

  • 1-20 Employees – $125 annual fee

  • 21-40 Employees – $150 annual fee

  • 41-60 Employees – $175 annual fee

  • 60+ Employees – Please contact us.

Your Ocean Friendly Restaurant status will demonstrate to your customers and community your commitment to our environment and ocean.


Ocean Friendly Spotlight

These establishments have pledged to protect our oceans and coasts by reducing their plastic waste impact. They rock.