Skip to content (press enter)


Plastic Pollution Initiative Update: Progress!

Ocean Friendly Restaurants Program Gains Momentum

In April alone we renewed/welcomed 57 restaurants into the program! Since January 2023, we’ve renewed/welcomed 158 OFRs spanning 15 states with a grand total of 370 Ocean Friendly Restaurants participating in our program today. Those OFRs are serving on average 65,000 plastic-free meals a day and that number only continues to grow. Is your local restaurant Ocean Friendly?  If not, encourage them to sign up and join the movement to end single-use plastics! 

Tiny Turtle, Big Impact!

This month we highlighted The Tiny Turtle, an Ocean Friendly Restaurant in Cocoa Beach Florida that's serving up Puerto Rican cuisine with a touch of Caribbean fusion. When asking the owner Kelly Lieneke about what other restaurants can do to become Ocean Friendly, she said to start small! “Each action makes a difference. You can start with getting rid of styrofoam or you can change your straw ask policy.” The Tiny Turtle serves about 200 guests every day and staff estimate that roughly 6 customers ask for a straw daily. This one simple change has saved The Tiny Turtle money, as they have to order and use less inventory.


Healthy Beaches

The Beach Cleanup Program is continuing to bloom this spring, with nearly 11,000 volunteers removing over 38,000 lbs of trash and recycling during 281 cleanups. Earth Day 2023 was a huge success and Surfrider Chapters and partners hosted close to 30 cleanups during the weekend of April 22nd. These cleanups took place across the United States and showed that coastal activists are willing to show up, rain or shine, to clean up our coasts and protect our planet. This week also marks the end of the Student Club Cleanup Competition. While we’re still calculating the final results, early data shows that Surfrider Student Clubs removed over 2,000 lbs of trash and recycling in just two months! 


Some state legislatures are winding down while others are in full swing! 

The Oregon state House passed two bills with bipartisan support to address the growing environmental and public health impacts of single-use plastics. Both bills are the result of years of advocacy and include Senate Bill 543 and Senate Bill 545. SB 543 is a part of Surfrider’s Oregon Foam and Plastic-Free Foodware campaign and will phase out polystyrene foam foodware, packing peanuts and coolers and prohibit the use of PFAS, the toxic substances nicknamed "forever chemicals" because of their longevity, in food packaging starting January 1, 2025. Senate Bill 545, part of Surfrider’s Clean Up the Oregon Health Code campaign, instructs the Oregon Health Authority to update the state’s health code to make it easier for restaurants to provide reusable container options.

Extended Producer Responsibility also continues to be a trending topic in the legislature. In the Mid-Atlantic, there are several bills in various stages of becoming law in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. 

California is in the thick of its legislative session with an impending deadline for bills to pass out of where they originated (Assembly and Senate) happening in less than a month. Surfrider is advocating for bills that reduce microfiber pollution, stop the siting and expansion of incinerators and eliminate the most toxic and harmful plastic packaging. 

Take a minute to voice your support for plastic pollution reduction policies here.