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Plastic Pollution Initiative Update: Good News Edition!


Surfrider Activists Help Block a Bad Bill in Florida..For Now

You may recall in our last Plastic Pollution Initiative Update, that the Florida state legislature introduced SB1126: Regulation of Auxiliary Containers. This bill would have taken away the ability for local governments to regulate any single-use or reusable cup, bottle, bag, or other packaging designed for transporting, consuming, or protecting merchandise, food, or beverages from a retail or food establishment.

Thanks to everyone who filled out the Action Alert and attended Florida Healthy Beaches Day, the bill was temporarily postponed from its committee agenda. We believe this bill will die, but will continue to watch and keep you informed on its progress. For now, we celebrate this small win and continue to fight for plastic preemption repeal in the state of Florida!

In California, two exciting new bills were introduced, SB 1053 and AB 2236, that would ban the use of plastic bags by grocery stores and stores selling food. Since the passage of the nation’s first statewide plastic bag ban ten years ago, thicker plastic bags, touted as “reusable,” are not being recycled and continue to pollute our waterways, environment, and communities. The legislation tightens standards for reusable bags and requires stores to provide 100 percent recycled paper bags or allow consumers to use reusable bags. 

Ocean Friendly

New Ocean Friendly Foodware Guide 2.0 Released

To help restaurants stay informed and increase awareness of what's on the market today, Surfrider just released the Ocean Friendly Foodware Guide 2.0!

This new foodware guide is an updated version of the first Ocean Friendly Foodware Guide that was launched in 2020. Components of the brand new Ocean Friendly Foodware Guide 2.0 include:

  • Updated definitions of common labels and buzzwords
  • A decision matrix to help review products and avoid greenwashing
  • Case studies of real OFRs
  • Buying guide with new products categorized as ‘best choice,' 'good alternative,' and ‘what to avoid’
  • Exclusive vendor discounts for OFRs

Read more HERE

Surfrider Teams Up with Upstream in New Reuse for Onsite Dining Library

Single-use disposable foodware is increasingly prevalent in restaurants across North America — even for dining in. Over 20% of disposable foodware and packaging used by US restaurants and food service businesses could be eliminated today by making reusables the norm for onsite dining.

Together with 16 other organizations, Surfider is excited to be a part of a co-branded, collective library of nearly 60 resources. Whether you are a restaurant or school curious to increase your use of reusable foodware, a government department crafting a reuse for onsite dining policy, or a community group eager to organize around less trash, this library is intended to be a one-stop-shop of resources. In the library is Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants Program, our brand new Ocean Friendly Foodware Guide 2.0, and our Comprehensive Foodware Policy Toolkit.

Visit the Library Now!

OFRs Advocating for Change at the Federal Level

One of Surfrider's federal priorities this year is to help strengthen the plastic procurement phase-out plan by the federal General Services Administration (GSA), the largest purchaser of goods and services in the United States. 

We're calling on OFRs to sign this comment letter, urging GSA to propose a strong plan that includes all single-use plastic products and packaging by COB February 25, 2024. This letter is only for Ocean Friendly Restaurants, not for individual signers. We will list the restaurants represented as part of the letter.

We already have over 30 restaurants signed on! If you’re an OFR, you can sign-on by filling out the google form HERE

Break Free From Plastic U.S. Convening 

Initiative staff joined the Break From Plastic (BFFP) Movement U.S. members in Huntington, West Virginia, to connect with movement members, better understand, and identify opportunities to increase collaboration and support for each other’s work. BFFP is a global movement working towards eliminating single-use plastics and pushing for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. The convening was held at Marshall University, reinforcing the importance of youth engagement in this movement.  

Break Free From Plastic U.S. Convening in Huntington, West Virginia 

(Image Credit: Isabel Jenkins)