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.

Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition is taking the Ocean Friendly Restaurant program one step further to include all types of businesses. With the same primary goals, the Ocean Friendly Business program adds focus on single-use plastic bag reduction.


How to become Ocean Friendly

Mandatory Criteria

  • No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam). Replacements are recycled, recyclable, or compostable.
  • Proper recycling practices are followed throughout the business (unless deemed infeasible because of space)- conduct initial weight analysis with one of the eligible commercial recycling companies.
  • Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining, and disposable utensils for takeout food are provided only upon request.
  • No plastic bags for takeout or to-go orders.
  • Turtle-friendly lighting if located directly on beach.
  • Plastic straws/lids only upon request. We prefer that you use paper straws since they break down faster.

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

  • No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
  • Only paper straws offered.
  • Discount is offered for customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.
  • 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.
  • 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 eight criteria to earn Platinum Level!

This list was formulated with restaurants in mind. If your business is not in the restaurant industry, you may be subject to additional requirements. Please contact us if you're interested in certifying your business. Additional industry specific criteria considered case-by-case.


What's in it for the business?

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

  • Making a difference in the world.
  • Window stickers and table toppers, and other marketing materials.
  • Brand recognition and visibility via the social media networks of our 20+ coalition partners.
  • Company spotlight on our website.
  • Inclusion on a National Ocean Friendly Restaurant map, or a local Ocean Friendly Business Map.
  • Staff training.
  • Support in finding cost-effective suppliers for alternative materials and practices.

Certification Costs

Cost for certification cover the materials and marketing provided to your organization, your staff training, help and support during your transition, and annual re-certification. Costs are as follows:

  • 1-20 Employees – $125 annual fee
  • 21-40 Employees – $150 annual fee
  • 41-60 Employees  – $175 annual fee
  • 60+ Employees – Please contact us.

Ocean Friendly Spotlight

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