Ocean Friendly Restaurants
Our Chapter's programs operate solely on your kind donations:
Who We Are & What We're About
Surfrider is fed up with pollution. As a response to the heavy plastic pollution in the coastal zones and ocean gyres, Surfrider Foundation chapters in Southern CA started the Ocean Friendly Restaurants program.
Ocean Friendly Restaurants
For more information, please contact Judith:
Benefits of Being an Ocean Friendly Restaurant
Surfrider chapters coast to coast and across the Pacific in Hawai'i are taking part in this joint mission to heal our oceans of pollution including trash and debris, and other invisible pollutants such as bacteria which can come from trash enclosures and sanitary sewer overflows (SSO). These impair our water quality, causing sickness and impact the sustainability of our communities. Cities and counties spend countless hours and millions of dollars each year on pollution prevention programs and cleaning our infrastructure as a part of maintaining the health of our environment under the Clean Water Act and in protecting public health and safety. With this source control program, we help our communities be more sustainable in preventing pollution and reducing the associated cleanup costs to taxpayers.
We strive to eliminate EPS foam food ware (aka Styrofoam), and other unnecessary single-use plastics, such as bags and straws which are items found in beach cleanups we conduct as volunteers. Americans use about 500 million plastic straws everyday! Eco-friendly alternatives are available, and are cost-effective when we make our voices heard.
All life comes from the sea. And the health of our oceans contributes to the health of our lands.
As a partner in pollution prevention, Ocean Friendly Restaurants help protect our oceans by preventing pollution. They recognize that changing the tide starts with them. They're happy to ride the wave coast to coast, across boundaries, to promote sustainable actions they can do quite simply. In turn, they show their customers what each one of them can do, wherever they are, at home, or out and about.
Pollution prevention begins at our feet, with each of our actions. Ocean Friendly Restaurants are helping to educate our communities through their outreach efforts. They can post certificates of their Ocean Friendly Restaurant recognition, along with window decals that we provide them. They can place table tents and toppers to start conversations between their staff and customers. They can place information on their menus to educate on their sustainable actions and commitment to the environment. They also participate in hosting launch and recognition parties, which we like to call "Taste OF" mixers to bring together like-minded folks to talk about the ways we can all be Ocean Friendly. Many of our certified restaurants provide support for our volunteer work in various other ways, including monetary and food donations for these events and others at beach cleanups and at sustainability expos, where we are able to outreach to additional demographics to educate them on pollution prevention and sustainability.
Conserving water and serving local, sustainable food are also factors we are working to implement in our county's restaurant industry. It's astonishing how many miles some of our food travels before it gets to us! Restaurants use on average 5,800 gallons of water daily. Conserving water also reduces our energy needs to move that water into Southern CA. Buying locally helps reduce our carbon footprint, reducing greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change and ocean acidification. Neither of which are good for the planet or its people.
We remind restaurants to properly manage fats, oils, and grease (FOG) disposal and to recycle it. In doing so, they avoid pollutant runoffs and help protect our infrastructure from greasy buildups which can cause wastewater to backup, out into the environment -- or into their restaurant. FOG is also an excellent feedstock for renewable energy processes such as anaerobic digestion and renewable diesel. In recycling their used cooking grease and residual grease from plates and cookware, restaurants are contributing to the sustainability of their communities by providing a source of renewable, clean energy!
Our local restaurants are also participating in a new project underway with our partner, Waste Management, Inc., to recover food waste and recycle it in the same way. Organic material such as food and FOG are very high energy sources -- food fuels all animals, and the biological systems at wastewater recovery and treatment systems as well! Here is a snapshot of this incredible way to create renewable energy!
It's time to get our local restaurants on track with more sustainable actions. By working with us at Surfrider Foundation with our local Huntington Beach/Seal Beach chapter and Newport Beach chapter, we work hand in hand with the food service industry to fulfill the criteria required to become a part of this sustainability program.
We are proudly here to assist restaurants in becoming Ocean Friendly and ecologically conscious across all facets of their business.
What You Can Do
If you would like to help, there are many ways to take personal action!
Show your support of our certified Ocean Friendly Restaurants. One of the easiest is to visit our certified restaurants, local and with other chapters, and start a conversation with them! Let them know you heard what they're doing, and you're stoked! Post about it on social media with any or all of the hashtags #OFR, #OFROC, #cleanbeachs #cleanwater #cleanbeach #protectwhatyoulove #ridethewave, stemthetide #nostrawplease #nofoam #strawssuck #sustainable #newnormal, #drainstoocean #trashynotclassy #justsayno #plasticpollutes and tag our chapters @hsbsurfrider and @surfridernewportbeach, or your local chapter.
Make a personal commitment to say "no" to plastic straws. Small actions make a BIG impact. Politely request "no straw please" whenever you order a drink (even take-out and drive-thru). Encourage your friends and family to take the pledge, too!
You've got more power than you think, and there is strength in numbers. Want to take your impact even further? Make a statement when you pull out your own paper, glass, bamboo, or stainless steel straw, and start a conversation. You can purchase reusable straws through many of our partners and find others online or near you. Check out our Resources page for more details! Encourage those eateries you visit to make a change to non-plastic straw options. Change begins with you! And enough of our voices make a loud noise. We know that these changes can happen, and are happening with our OFR certified restaurants.
If you'd like to get involved with your local chapter in more fun ways to help, and to learn valuable skills and bring those you have to the table, please contact us. We're looking for folks who can lend a few hours a month or a quarter, or even just help with posting and sharing material on social media. No action is too small. There are various tasks to do, all of which can be correlated with your passion, your career, and community service needs that many students need to meet. From learning about pollution prevention, to public relations, to working alongside great agencies and making valuable connections, to getting great mentors, and learning about careers where you can apply your passion while getting paid, we have it! Come join us!
See you soon! Cheers!!
Beyond simply improving your restaurant’s reputation, taking on an environmentally sound and responsible position benefits your business in more practical ways as well.
You will build credibility through your actions — people want to know you care! And you’ll be able to measure your actions for sustainability reporting.
We are here to do whatever we can to support restaurants in being Ocean Friendly. Whether a restaurant needs help finding a supplier or training restaurant staff on environmentally conscious practices, we are here to help!
We offer participating restaurants several incentives for their Ocean Friendly practices:
Staff education and training on OFR program
Educational packet with sustainability tips and practices
Promotion to Orange County consumers and tourists through:
• OFR window decal for storefront window!
• OFR certificate for posting in your restaurant
• OFR table toppers or diner brochures to educate your customers on the
importance of the OFR program
• Social media promotion (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter)
• Our website promotion and educational information downloads
• Our partners’ websites and via their social media
• Emails to our extensive membership base with two chapters of Surfrider
• Community events and beach cleanups
• Collaborative promotions such as launch parties (Taste OF mixers) or coupon days
promoted to our members
Alternative material sources and pricing, including negotiated discounts.
Learn More at
Help to protect and preserve our oceans, waves and beaches by joining Surfrider!
Follow our Ocean Friendly Restaurants Program on Social Media!