Call for cafes to join Ocean Friendly program

Surfrider Foundation is calling for Gold Coast cafes to jump on board for its Ocean Friendly program, modelled on the US Ocean Friendly Restaurants campaign.

Created in response to increasing pollution in the coastal zone and ocean gyres, the program aims to stop single-use plastic entering waterways by reducing single-use plastic at its source.
The program further encourages participating venues to reduce their environmental impact by undertaking efficient water and energy usage as well as ensuring food and other consumables are ethically sourced.

Surfrider Foundation’s Greg Howell said it’s a matter of going old school for local cafes, “to get back to the old sensible ways of reusing instead of throwing away without any responsibility for the problems our waste is causing.”

Greg said there were many reasons a café might choose to sign up to the program.

“We all need to take on the responsibility of lessening our negative impact on the planet,” Greg said, “and all accredited Ocean Friendly cafes are listed on our website, and social media for the world to see the wonderful initiatives of the industry.”

There are six specific actions cafes commit to when signing up to the program:
1. No expanded polystyrene foam use (for example styrofoam)
2. No single-use plastic straws
3. Reusable tableware is used for ‘dine in’ and non-plastic utensils for takeaway food
4. No water sold in plastic bottles
5. No plastic bags offered for takeaway orders
6. Proper recycling practices are followed

In addition, Surfrider Foundation encourages cafés to offer discounts for people who bring their reusable cups or containers, to use energy-efficient LED lighting and energy star appliances, to offer vegetarian and sustainable seafood options and to make efforts for water conservation.

Greg is hoping that everyday Gold Coasters will encourage their favourite cafes to become Ocean Friendly.

“Gold Coasters can see the increase in single-use plastic around our streets and shopping centres, in our creeks and on our beaches and this is an easy way for them to have a big positive impact,” Greg said.

“Just by speaking with the owner of their favourite cafe or restaurant and alerting them to the fact that this issue is a concern to them has a huge impact. When cafes sign up, Surfrider Foundation will welcome and assist them through the process.”

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Get more information on the Ocean Friendly program at surfrider.org.au/ocean_friendly.

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