Virginia  Chapter

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

The Virginia Chapter implemented an Ocean Friendly Restaurant program as a response to increased plastic pollution in the coastal zone and ocean gyres.  A main goal is eliminating EPS foam food ware (i.e. Styrofoam cups, plates, clamshells, etc.) because it is often found at our beach cleanups and breaks up into little pieces that can be eaten by coastal sea life. Other items frequently collected on clean ups are plastic straws, plastic utensils and plastic bags.  There are other types of pollution and issues that restaurants can help with including water and energy conservation, recycling, and serving responsible food.

Why do we need Ocean Friendly Restaurants?

Pounds of EPS foam food ware are collected during Surfrider beach clean ups and EPS foam does not biodegrade in our lifetimes. It may photodegrade and/or break into small pieces if littered, but it is harder to clean up.  Animals can mistake EPS foam for food or nesting materials.  Although inexpensive to buy, EPS foam litter can be expensive to clean up.

Americans use an estimated 500 million plastic straws every day and restaurants use an average of 5,800 gallons of water per day.

Restaurants participating must follow the first five criteria:

  • No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).
  • Proper recycling practices are followed.
  • 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.

And choose a minimum of two of these criteria:

  • No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
  • Discount is offered for customers with a 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.

Restaurants who meet all of the criteria are recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant.

These are minimum criteria aimed at teaming up with restaurants to help protect the coast.  Some chapters may have stricter criteria based on their local situation.  Please contact your local representative for more information.

Current Ocean Friendly Restaurants

Abbey Road Pub and Restaurant:  Virginia Beach

Continental Divide:  Charlottesville

Fruitive: Virginia Beach and Norfolk (Colley Ave. and The Main)

Ocean Eddie’s Seafood Restaurant: Virginia Beach

The Stockpot: Virginia Beach

Do you own or manage a restaurant that you would like to register as an Ocean Friendly Restaurant?

Contact our Ocean Friendly Restaurant Committee Chair, Addie Abcede, if you are interested or have questions in becoming an Ocean Friendly Restaurant in Virginia at