ocean friendly

Ocean Friendly Australia 


The Surfrider Foundation Australia’s ‘Ocean Friendly’ Program, is an Australian adaption of the Surfrider Foundation US ‘Ocean Friendly Restaurants’ program which aims to reduce single-use plastic at it’s source, in favour of reusable items and non-plastic
alternatives, as well as ensuring food and other consumables are ethically sourced. The program further aims to reduce the environmental impact of participating venues by encouraging efficient water and energy usage.

Surfrider Foundation Australia in association with the Boomerang Alliance aims to promote establishments along the Australian Coastline who are taking action on plastic pollution by implementing measures to reduce single-use plastic items at their source.

Managers who implement the six mandatory measures will be promoted on the Surfrider Foundation Australia website, social media, emails and community platforms as well as promoting their ‘Ocean Friendly’ status through optional promotional material (window stickers, brochures, posters - available at www.surfrider.org.au . We hope this initiative inspires individuals, businesses, management, local government, state and federal decision makers that every little action counts and that our oceans and our environment are worth protecting.

The Ocean Friendly Criteria

1. No expanded polystyrene foam use (aka Styrofoam).

Establishments must not use any polystyrene food packaging. Surfrider recommends embracing reusable items whenever possible and using paper and cardboard packaging for takeaway options. Where paper and cardboard packaging cannot be used Surfrider encourages establishments to REDUCE single-use packaging, avoiding bioplastic items where possible. 

2. Only reusable tableware is used for on site dining and non-plastic utensils for takeaway food.

Establishments must not use single-use plastic tableware; including plates, bowls, cups, glasses, and utensils. Non-plastic cutlery (eg. wood, bamboo) must be used for takeaway dining. Establishments must not use bioplastic*

3. No plastic bags offered for takeout orders.

Establishments must not offer single use plastic bags. For takeaway options establishments can offer paper bags or a reusable bag system.

4. No single-use plastic straws.

Establishments must not offer single-use plastic straws. Establishments can use reusable straws or paper straws. Surfrider recommends only providing a straw upon request for all beverage items in order to reduce overall use. Note items may require straws in which case providing only upon request will not be feasible.

5. No water sold in plastic bottles.

Establishments must not offer water in single-use plastic bottles. Beverage litter is the highest volume litter item in Australia and specific action needs to be taken to reduce it’s impact on the environment. Surfrider recommends establishments offer house water to customers and refill stations to encourage customers to bring reusable bottles. If plastic water bottles cannot be eliminated for WH&S or licensed venue regulatory restrictions, establishments must offer house water to customers and refill stations for customers to use for reusable bottles. Signage of water/refill stations must be displayed to the public

6. Proper recycling practices are followed.

Establishments must provide a recycling disposal option that is easily visible for customers to recycle all beverage containers and recyclable material. Establishments must ensure that cardboard and any other delivery packaging are recycled at the back of
house. Check with your local council to see which items can be recycled. Signage must be placed above bins for staff to follow proper recycling practices in house.

*Compostable bioplastic products will only decompose in Industrial composting facilities or purpose built organic composting apparatuses (this does not include home composting units) and will not break down in marine or natural environments. Given that Industrial Composting facilities are are not widely available to the Australian public, a transition to compostable bioplastic products in open environments will not result in a reduction of waste sent to landfill or mismanaged, bioplastic products present similar risks to marine and wildlife (ingestion) as they will not biodegrade in the natural environment. Surfrider therefore does not endorse the use of bioplastic compostable cutlery

We also encourage the following:

7. Discount offered for customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.

Establishments must offer a discount (minimum 30c) for customers who bring reusable items. Establishments are only required to offer a discount for one item which is clearly advertised to customers. Surfrider however, encourages establishments to offer multiple discounts to incentivise customers to bring reusable items that replace single-use disposable items; including offering a small discount for reusable coffee mugs, drink cups, reusable bags and reusable food containers. 

8. Vegetarian/Seafood sustainable options 

Vegetarian options are offered. Avoid seacage/farmed aquaculture, with all seafood certified as sustainable. Source ethical and local produce.

9. Water Conservation efforts such as low flow faucets and toilets

A) Installing low flow faucets and toilets, which can help to conserve a significant amount of water.

B) Company policy prioritises a reduction in water usage for all cleaning operations: Eg the use of a broom, rather than a hose, to clear sidewalks, driveways, loading docks and parking lots. If more intense cleaning is needed, policy that specifies spot cleaning with a bucket and brush instead of power washing and capturing the water. Note, many municipalities prohibit restaurants from using any cleaning process for outside areas that generates urban runoff. Check with local council for regulations.

C) Conserving water and reducing sewage spills as part of proper handling of fats, oils, and greases (FOG). When poured down the drain, FOG hardens inside sewer pipes, constricting wastewater flow and clogging the pipes. This can lead to sewer overflows
that can potentially reach the ocean. Additionally, it can take extra water to attempt to ‘flush’ FOG down the drain. Establishments must have policy that addresses these issues. Surfrider recommends following local requirements for a grease trap and FOG

10. Energy efficiency efforts such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances. Establishments must provide evidence that low environmental impact lighting products and systems are in use. 

For further information contact southcoastnsw@surfrider.org.au or operations@surfrider.org.au

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