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Plastic Reduction Laws Advance & Beach Cleanups Charge On

Plastic Pollution Initiative Team Together at Last!

IMG_3024The Plastic Pollution Initiative team from left to right, CJ O'Brien (Ocean Friendly Programs Manager), Jennifer Savage (Plastic Pollution Initiative Senior Manager), Jennifer Harrah (Healthy Beaches Manager), Miho Ligare (Plastic Pollution Policy Manager)

Last month, the Surfrider Foundation hosted its annual All-Staff Meeting, where staff members got to connect, strategize, and celebrate the incredible work that’s been done. Even though the PPI team didn't win Survivor games this year, we have plenty to celebrate this week, as plastic reduction laws advance, beach cleanups charge on, Yelp highlights the OFR program, and much more!

Surfrider’s regional staff and activists are making strides in advancing plastic reduction laws.

Washington’s Trifecta Plastics Bill (HB 1085) is on the governor’s desk! This bill will reduce plastic pollution in three ways: banning future installations of foam-filled docks, requiring lodging establishments to replace single-use plastic mini-toiletries with refillable body care products (shampoos, conditioners, etc); and requiring any new installations of water drinking fountains to have attached water refill stations. HB 1085 passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and now the Governor has 40 days to sign this bill into law. 

Surfrider’s Florida volunteers traveled to Tallahassee to meet with their elected officials and tell them why healthy beaches and a clean ocean matter to them! Collectively, we held 22 successful meetings with members of the Florida legislature lobbying for shared legislative priorities: less plastic pollution, clean water, healthy beaches, and more resilient coastlines. Special thanks to our partners at Oceana and Healthy Gulf for helping to make this event such a great success!

IMG_8865 (1)Ocean advocates from Surfrider, Oceana and Healthy Gulf attended Florida Healthy Beaches Day in Tallahassee, FL to advocate to eliminate plastic pollution and for clean water and healthy beaches

California also held its 18th Annual Ocean Day! Organized by Surfrider and other partners, it was great to be back in person after being held virtually the past two years due to COVID. We had strong chapter and student club representation and advocated for eliminating plastic pollution through reducing problematic plastics (AB 1290) and microfibers (AB 1628), protecting healthy ocean ecosystems and increasing coastal access and protection. 

Plastic Pollution Initiative staff, UC Davis Student Club representative and others meet with Asm. Lowenthal’s Office during CA Ocean Day

Don’t Mess With Texas Beaches

PPI Senior Manager Jennifer Savage joined Coastal Bend Co-Chair Neil McQueen at the Texas Plastic Pollution Symposium on April 5. The symposium brought together scientists, students, educators and advocates to discuss the latest studies, efforts and trends related to plastic production and pollution in the state and, in some cases, across the U.S. border.  

McQueen, a longtime superstar in Surfrider’s activist network, leads the chapter’s “Skip the Plastic” project. Together, they shared insight into what Surfrider is doing in the Lone Star State (and beyond) to provide solutions to the plastic pollution problem. Attending the symposium provided a great opportunity to learn more about the pressures facing Texas from the fossil fuel industry – which is deeply entrenched in the state’s politics – and efforts to protect the region’s wildlife, waterways and human communities from the related harms. 

Beach Cleanups Charge On

The Beach Cleanup Program is having an excellent spring cleanup season, with 6,600 volunteers removing almost 24,000 pounds of trash and recycling across 204 cleanup events. More than 30 of those cleanups are from Surfrider Student Clubs, meaning our club network is on track to be more engaged in collecting cleanup data than ever before. With two weeks left of the Student Club Cleanup Competition, we are anxiously waiting for them to cross the finish line and see who comes out the cleanup champion.

Ocean Friendly Restaurants are inspiring businesses on Yelp and beyond.

Yelp Features OFRs in Sustainability Resource Hub

This month, Yelp featured Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants Program on their Sustainability Resource Hub. This hub provides ways for customers to add eco-friendly attributes to the Yelp Business page plus provides resources on how your business can make more sustainable choices for the environment. Many of these business attributes, like using reusable foodware and providing BYO containers are steps that our Ocean Friendly Restaurants are already taking. Our network of over 300 restaurants is no-doubt inspiring and providing best practices for other businesses across the country. Is your local restaurant Ocean Friendly?  If not, encourage them to sign up and join the movement to end single-use plastics! 

Thinking Local, Acting Global to Fight Plastic Pollution

Ocean Friendly Programs Manager, CJ O’Brien attended the Plastic Policy Summit: Domestic Solutions to a Global Problem hosted by World Wildlife Fund in Washington DC. This summit brought together representatives from companies, NGOs, and local, state, and federal governments to discuss solutions to our plastic pollution problem. Conversations included private-public partnership success stories, innovations in reuse, the importance of centering environmental justice, and future plans for congressional leadership in plastic. In order to stop plastic pollution, it will take all hands on deck and Surfrider will continue to work with diverse partners to further our campaigns and programs.

1681243645658Plastic Policy Summit: Domestic Solutions to a Global Problem hosted by World Wildlife Fund in Washington DC 

OFR Leaders Compare Notes

22 new/renewed restaurants joined the program in March, totaling 340 OFRs. Our team hosted the first quarterly “OFR Leaders Check-in Meeting.” During this meeting, our fearless OFR activists compared notes and shared tips for recruiting new OFRs and building out your OFR program.