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Plastic Pollution Initiative Update: Starting Off the Year Strong

January is wrapping up and the Surfrider network has been busy gaining policy victories and expanding our Ocean Friendly programs and beach cleanups!  

Making waves on the East Coast 

Refilling bottles just got a little easier in New York City with the successful passage of bill 1161-A which allows people to bring their own reusable beverage containers in sports venues. This bill is very important for NYC as this year alone, we collected 725 plastic bottles, 2,866 plastic bottle caps, and 1,439 plastic straws at our beach cleanups. The New Jersey chapters also stopped bill A1759, which would have weakened environmental protection in favor of burning plastic in the state. Finally, the Eastern Long Island chapter is advancing a Skip the Stuff ordinance in East Hampton Village. This ordinance would require all East Hampton restaurants to provide single-use take-out accessories by request only. We see this as a benefit for all: the customers can still receive these items if they ask for them, the restaurant saves money, and our beaches will see a lot less plastic waste.


The Eastern Long Island Chapter advocating for a Skip the Stuff ordinance in East Hampton Village

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

Our OFR program started the year off with a bang as we added/renewed 34 OFRs in January totaling 549 OFRS across the country. We estimate that our OFRs serve over 101,000 single-use plastic-free meals a day…that’s about 36 million single-use plastic-free meals in 1 year!

Additionally, our Ocean Friendly Programs Manager, CJ O’Brien was busy spreading the word about our Ocean Friendly Restaurants Program across the state of Florida. For Florida Healthy Beaches Day, 40 of Surfrider’s chapter volunteers from throughout FL visited the state capitol to talk with lawmakers about coastal protection, clean water, and plastic pollution.

FL_Update_012624Florida Healthy Beaches Day group photo (left) and the Orlando Delegation meeting with State Rep. Harris

During Surf Expo, the Orlando Chapter talked with those in the Surf Industry about our legislative priorities, Ocean Friendly Restaurants program, and ways to get involved.


Orlando Chapter and Surfrider staff at the Surf Expo in Orlando FL

Beach Cleanups

As we close out January, Surfrider’s Beach Cleanup volunteers are showing that 2024 is the year of clean beaches. With 1,627 pounds of trash and recycling removed by 318 volunteers during 43 cleanups, our cleanup champions are hitting the ground running. Nearly 8,500 items have been removed from our beaches in less than one month! Interested in protecting our coasts and ocean from plastic pollution?

Join your local chapter for their next cleanup and leave your beach better than you found it. 

Northwest Straits Cleanup Crew

Northwest Straits Cleanup Crew on 1/1/24 at Birch Bay State Park