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Plastic Pollution Initiative Update: Winning! ...And More Work to Be Done

A month into 2023, the Plastic Pollution Initiative team is in full swing toward our ultimate goal of eliminating all single-use plastic products in the United States by 2035. What that will look like this year is:

  • Passing at least 12 local and state plastic pollution prevention bills throughout our coastal network.

  • Including policy actions as part of our Healthy Beaches program.

  • Rebuilding our Ocean Friendly Restaurant program as COVID-related restrictions have changed.

  • Expanding “Ocean Friendly” to other industries.

  • Making sure Surfrider’s in-house events reach Zero-Waste status and working with our corporate partners to do the same.

(Did you miss our post summarizing last year’s achievements? Read about our winning 2022 here!)

The push for global action

We’re also working with Surfrider’s Global Affiliates to make sure that the United Nations’ Global Plastics Treaty commits to an ambitious, action-driven approach that includes commitments to reduce single-use plastic production, support reuse and refill markets, and end plastic pollution. On a related international note, we applaud Surfrider Europe’s recent lawsuit against Danone over the company’s worldwide contribution to plastic pollution.

Calling on our federal leaders to do more

On the immediate horizon, we’re preparing for Surfrider’s annual Coastal Recreation Hill Day and consulting with leaders in Congress about the potential reintroduction of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, the Protecting Communities from Plastic Act and other related legislation. We’re also continuing to push on the federal government to eliminate single-use plastics from purchasing and from our public lands.

An early local victory – and more to come

Surfrider is excited to kick off the year with a major victory in New York City! After three years of working with a coalition of local organizations, the New York City Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is celebrating the passage of the “Skip the Stuff” bill in NYC. The Mayor has 30 days to sign the bill, but it passed with a veto-proof majority. Many states are also starting their legislative sessions and we’re advocating for strong plastic pollution reduction policies such as expanding access to recycling infrastructure in Washington, promoting reuse in Oregon and many others! Stay up to date and learn how you can help with all of Surfrider’s federal, state and local campaigns here!

Making restaurants Ocean Friendlier

On the program side of the initiative, we welcomed 12 new Ocean Friendly Restaurants this month! Restaurants joined our program from New York, California, and Hawaii. We also featured The Saloon, an Ocean Friendly Restaurant in Ventura, CA on our Coastal Blog. In addition to composting and gardening, The Saloon uses no single-use plastic and provides locally sourced plant-based meals and beverages, showing their commitment to protecting the planet and nourishing the humans that inhabit it. We look forward to welcoming more innovative and inspiring restaurants into the program in 2023.

Keeping our beaches clean after bomb cyclones and beyond!

The year is also starting off strong for Surfrider’s Beach Cleanup Program with over 700 volunteers removing 2,200 pounds of trash and recycling during 37 cleanups this year. The Portland Chapter took the beach cleanup to the streets of downtown Portland on Martin Luther King Jr. Day collecting 317 pounds of trash in just a couple of hours. California’s recent bomb cyclone meant there was more trash on our beaches than ever, as well as more people wanting to get out and clean the mess the storms left behind. A particular group of dedicated volunteers in Ventura County took it upon themselves to clean up their local beaches and removed 23 bags of trash! From celebration events to storm responses, Surfrider Healthy Beaches volunteers across the country continue to inspire us with their commitment to a clean and healthy planet, both at the beach and beyond it.