Giving Compass' Take:

• Ryan Cruse explains how activists from the Surfrider Foundation are working with restaurants to reduce the use of single-use plastics that often end up on the beaches. 

• How can this model be spread with the help of activists? How can funders enable this type of activism? 

• Learn more about what donors can do to reduce ocean plastic

Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program has seen dramatic growth in 2018, expanding to about 250 participating restaurants across the nation. The majority of these restaurants, which are voluntarily agreeing to cut their use of single-use plastics, are brought on board through on-the-ground education and awareness work done by local Surfrider volunteers.

In Hollywood Beach, Florida, our Broward County Chapter and St. Thomas Aquinas (STA) High School Surfrider Club have teamed up to tackle the plastic pollution issue at their local beaches. Although there is an ordinance on the books banning disposable plastic food service products in establishments located east of the Intercoastal Waterway, enforcement has been non-existent and therefore, take-out containers, plastic bags, cups, lids, and straws are frequently found on area beaches, waterways and in the ocean.

Not wanting to stand idly by, our Surfrider chapter and club team decided that using the Ocean Friendly Restaurants program would be the perfect tool for educating local businesses and encouraging behavior change and ordinance compliance in a positive, business-minded manner.

In addition to providing solutions and building awareness on plastic pollution issues in their community, this partnership is a shining example of how Surfrider chapters and student clubs are stronger and even more effective when working together. The local chapter, finding that youth are often listened to even more closely, have leveraged the energy and passion of the STA Club members in meetings with city officials and business owners to highlight just how important this issue is to the next generation and local community.

Read the full article about ocean-friendly resturants by Ryan Cruse at Surfrider Foundation.