Surfrider Foundation – Santa Barbara Chapter

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

The Ocean Friendly Restaurants program helps restaurants minimize their impacts on the ocean by adopting practices that reduce single-use plastic waste and conserve resources.

Why do we need Ocean Friendly Restaurants?

  • 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.1
  • In 2018, the Surfrider Foundation conducted over 400 beach clean-ups and removed over 100,000 lbs of trash from our coastlines. Ocean Friendly Restaurants is a complement to beach clean-ups that allows us to stop plastic pollution at the source, before it makes its way to the beach.2
  • Plastic straws are not recyclable, and are one of the top items found at beach clean-ups worldwide.
  • Less than one-third of plastic bottles were recycled in the US in 2016.4
  • While plastics may break down into smaller pieces, they persist in the environment and can enter the food chain. In fact, recent studies estimate that fish in the North Pacific ingest over 12,000 tons of plastic per year.5
  • Restaurants use an average of 5,800 gallons of water per day.6 Water conservation practices like low-flow faucets and toilets reduce stress to our freshwater resources!

One restaurant, one customer at a time, Ocean Friendly Restaurants increases awareness, drives change in behavior, and ultimately creates scalable impact to reduce our plastic (and water!) footprint.

Ocean Friendly Restaurant Practices

Mandatory Practices

Restaurants must follow these 7 criteria:

No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam)

Proper recycling practices are followed

No beverages sold in plastic bottles

Only reusable foodware is used for onsite dining

Paper straws are provided only upon request

Single-use utensils, condiments, and other accessories provided only upon request

No plastic bags for take out or to-go orders

Additional Best Practices

And restaurants choose to meet at least 3 of these criteria:

  • Pre-packaged items are not sold in plastic
  • A discount is offered to customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.
  • No single-use or bio-based plastic containers
  • Vegetarian or vegan options are offered on a regular basis
  • Energy efficiency efforts, such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances, are in place
  • Water conservation and pollution mitigation efforts are implemented
  • Composting efforts are in place
  • All seafood is ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch, or certified as sustainable

Restaurants that meet all 15 criteria are recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant.

Santa Barbara Ocean Friendly Restaurants

Platinum Ocean Friendly Restaurants

Platinum level Ocean Friendly Restaurants follow ALL program criteria!

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

Interested in volunteering with us? Fill out the OFR volunteer form!

Want to learn more about Ocean Friendly Restaurants?

Contact us:


Ocean Friendly Restaurants in Santa Barbara County


Plastic and foam takeout containers found on Santa Barbara County beaches on Coastal Cleanup Day


Plastic bags found on Santa Barbara County beaches on Coastal Cleanup Day