Ocean Friendly Criteria


Establishments wishing to become ‘Ocean Friendly’ must
implement the six following mandatory criteria:

(Printable Checklist coming soon)

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

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.

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 (Surfrider recommends placing signage and
information for staff to follow).

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/vegan an sustainable seafood options
Vegetarian/Vegan options are offered on a regular basis and produce is sustainably
sourced. If seafood is on the menu, they are to be responsible seafood choices that
meet the requirements of Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide.

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 more information on energy efficient systems visit

Establishments who receive ‘Ocean Friendly’ status, must report to Surfrider Foundation
Australia every 6 months to prove ongoing adherence to the above criteria. Contact




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