In response to the increase of plastic pollution in coastal zones and ocean gyres, Surfrider Foundation’s Palm Beach County Chapter and Loggerhead Marinelife Center have partnered to bring the Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program to restaurants in Palm Beach County.
“The Ocean Friendly Restaurants program is designed to work with local restaurants and cafes to institute self-regulated ocean-friendly policies,” said Tommy Cutt, LMC’s chief conservation officer. “Through educational workshops on marine conservation and ocean-friendly practices, along with recognition through this certification program, we hope to significantly reduce disposable waste in our oceans and on local beaches.”
“The ocean is turning into a plastic soup,” said Terry Hamilton, chair of Surfrider Foundation’s Palm Beach County Chapter. “Our local beach cleanups routinely collect huge amounts of plastic straws, foam takeout containers and plastic utensils. The Ocean Friendly Restaurant program has successfully partnered with businesses across the country, from Hawaii to California to South Carolina, and we’re thrilled to bring the program to Palm Beach County.”
Restaurants participating in the program must abide by the following four criteria:
1. Discontinue offering expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam.)
2. Follow proper recycling practices.
3. Only offer reusable tableware for onsite dining and only provide takeout utensils upon request.
4. Eradicate the use of plastic bags for takeout or to-go orders.
They must also choose to abide by at least three of the following criteria:
5. Provide plastic straws only upon request.
6. Eliminate the sale of beverages in plastic bottles.
7. Offer discounts to customers with reusable cups, mugs, bags, etc.
8. Offer vegetarian/vegan food options regularly (All seafood must be a “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” as defined by Seafood Watch.)
9. Use water conservation efforts such as low-flow faucets and toilets.
10. Use energy efficiency efforts such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances.
Establishments that implement all 10 criteria are recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant. LMC’s Tortuga Café was the first establishment to participate in the Center’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program, when plastic bottles were eliminated from campus in April 2017.
Partner benefits are available to participating restaurants. Palm Beach County restaurant owners or managers interested in participating can contact Tommy Cutt, LMC’s chief conservation officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Loggerhead Marinelife Center:
Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a non-profit sea turtle hospital that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site campus hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, a pier that hosts world-class fishing and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 300,000 guests free-of-charge each year. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.
About Surfrider Foundation:
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 500,000 supporters, activists and members, with more than 80 volunteer-led chapters and 60 clubs in the U.S., and more than 400 victories protecting our coasts. The Palm Beach County Chapter works to ensure that local beaches are healthy, safe, and accessible. Learn more at surfriderpbc.org.