Virginia  Chapter

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

The Virginia Chapter has implemented an Ocean Friendly Restaurants program in the state of Virginia.

Surfrider Foundation is fed up with pollution. As a response to increased plastic pollution in the coastal zone and ocean gyres, Surfrider Foundation Chapters started an Ocean Friendly Restaurants program. A main goal is eliminating EPS foam foodware (aka Styrofoam) because it is a top item found at our beach cleanups. There are other types of pollution and issues that restaurants can help with so we added criteria such as conserving water and serving responsible food. EPS foam foodware (cups, plates, ‘clamshells’, etc.), plastic straws and plastic utensils are frequently found at Surfrider Foundation beach cleanups. These are all items that are used by many restaurants in our area.

Why do we need Ocean Friendly Restaurants?

EPS foam foodware (cups, plates, ‘clamshells’, etc.) is a top item found at Surfrider beach cleanups and EPS foam does not biodegrade in our lifetimes. It may photodegrade and/or break into small pieces if littered, which are harder to clean up.

Animals can mistake EPS foam for food or nesting materials and 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 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.

Current Ocean Friendly Restaurants

Three Ships Coffee –

Pleasure House Brewing –

The Stockpot –

Fruitive (Hilltop Virginia Beach) –

Fruitive (Colley Ave. Norfolk, VA)

Fruitive (The Main Norfolk, VA)

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

Contact our Ocean Friendly Restaurants Committee Chair, Jim Deppe, if you are interested in becoming an Ocean Friendly Restaurant in Virginia. (cell:  757-636-1169)