Business Involvement

Elected officials often ask for some degree of business support before making legislative changes. Collect evidence of business support to help your campaign, and help businesses make the transition to ocean friendly alternatives.

Voluntary business involvement should be in addition to legislation by local governments, not a substitution for policy change.

Examples of business involvement:

A cafe in Hollywood, Florida sells a variety of reusable straws and cleaning brushes. Reusable is usually more environmentally friendly and can save money in the long run.

Resources for business owners:

There is one thing that any business can do immediately and easily, and that is to put in place a “straws upon request” policy. Customers who need straws can still get them.

For more information about the cost savings of switching to reusables, help with the Reusables Calculator, or for guidance with responsible products, reach out to Debris Free Oceans. You can also allow your customers to bring their own reusable items, such as bags, cups, and containers.

Restaurant Guide for Reducing Plastics

Beyond Plastics just released a free guide to help restaurants cut their use of plastic that’s at:

The free guide includes:

  • Practical guidance for reducing plastic usage in the front- and back-of-house
  • Links to plastic audit checklists
  • Links to savings and foodware calculators
  • Information on dishwashing options
  • Guidance on plastic-free take-out options
  • Sample language for staff and customer education
  • Advice on funding sources to purchase reusable dishes 
  • Two real-world case studies, and much more!

Plastics damage our planet and endanger human health at every phase of their lifecycle. The manufacture of plastics involves toxic chemicals including PFAS, phthalates, and heavy metals. With 15 million metric tons of plastic entering our ocean each year, it’s clear that we need restaurants to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.🌏

Ocean Friendly Restaurants is a Surfrider Foundation program. Restaurant owners commit to sustainable choices for our oceans.

Consumers care

A growing number of consumers do not want their food or drinks served in plastic due to concerns about their health and the environment. If restaurants make good choices, they can grow their clientele, improve tourism with cleaner beaches, keep our seafood healthier, and help the environment in many other ways. Some consumers now choose to participate in reusable container programs, which is a great way to reduce waste. Some programs even offer non-plastic containers. Read more here.

Give responsible businesses good online reviews!

Many businesses are already using responsible products. Some businesses will even give you a discount if you bring your own reusable cup or bring your own bag. When a restaurant does the right thing by providing reusable items and/or plastic free disposables, please write an online review and mention it. Business owners need to know that it’s important to customers, and it’s a great thing to spread the word to others.

Reusables! Examples of corporate solutions:

  • Deliver Zero: A New York City delivery service that packages food from over 100 participating restaurants in reusable containers. Customers return their old containers to the delivery courier on their next DeliverZero order or drop them off at any restaurant on the platform. There’s a $3.25 charge if customers choose to keep the containers.
  • GreenToGo: A takeout service similar to Deliver Zero, using reusable containers that are then returned, in Durham, North Carolina. There are about 25 participating restaurants.
  • Dispatch Goods: A reusable container service with over 30 participating partners.
  • Vessel: A stainless-steel to-go mug/cup-sharing program in Berkeley, California, and Boulder, Colorado. There’s no deposit, but it connects to an app, and if you lose your Vessel, it charges a fee. They partner with multiple cafes in each of their locations so that you can buy your coffee at one place and return it somewhere else or at one of their drop-off bins.
  • Just Salad: Just Salad offers two reusable bowl programs—MyBowl and BringBack—to provide a convenient waste-free dining experience.
  • The Amp: A music venue in Florida that has partnered with r.Cup to replace single-use plastic cups in its venue. Patrons pay a $3 deposit with their first beverage, and they can either return the cup to get their full deposit back or take it home to reuse at a future event. r.Cup also partners with live music/sporting events outside of the Amp to replace single-use cups with reusables.
Photo: Dispatch Goods
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