Ventura County

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

Surfrider is fed up with pollution. As a response to increased plastic pollution in the coastal zone and ocean gyres, Surfrider Foundation Chapters started an Ocean Friendly Restaurants (OFR) program.  Scroll down for a list of ‘OFR’s. Surfrider is excited to announce that it now cost $0.00 for restaurants to join our network of Ocean Friendly Restaurants! Contact Juan Espinoza at for all questions and inquiries

Jason Steffenauer (left), general manager and Luisa Hyatt (right), owner, at the new Rincon Brewery location in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone.

What’s in it for You?

  • Your sustainable business practices not only help reduce waste in our landfills, also protects our oceans, and marine life waves, from urban pollutions such as Styrofoam, micro and single use plastics.
  • Being an OFR helps set an example to your employees and will enhance the image of your company as a positive contributor to the community and local environment.
  • Encourages employees to be engaged in sustainability and best practices
  • Benefits include: extensive branding and promotion opportunities Surfrider social media and newsletter shout outs, your logo highlighted below on our OFR webpage, promotion at community events and beach cleanups and collaborative promotions such as launch parties, or paid catering at our monthly chapter meetings
  • Your restaurant will show up on our Surfrider National database and could be featured in the monthly National OFR spotlight blog

Ocean Friendly Restaurants in Ventura County:

For a map of all the ocean friendly restaurants in California, click here

Why do we need Ocean Friendly Restaurants?

A main goal is eliminating EPS foam foodware (aka Styrofoam) because it is a top item found at our beach cleanups. There are other types of pollution and issues that restaurants can help with so we added criteria such as conserving water and serving responsible food.

EPS foam foodware (cups, plates, ‘clamshells’, etc.) is a top item found at Surfrider beach cleanups and EPS foam does not biodegrade in our lifetimes. It may photodegrade and/or break into small pieces if littered, which are harder to clean up.

Animals can mistake EPS foam for food or nesting materials and although inexpensive to buy, EPS foam litter can be expensive to clean up.

Americans use an estimated 500 million plastic straws every day and restaurants use an average of 5,800 gallons of water per day.

Our Ocean Friendly Restaurant team is working hard to reach out to our community to educate, share resources, and support restaurant owners who are looking to make the switch to sustainable restaurant practices.You can help us out by letting us know what restaurants you would like to see become ocean friendly by taking this 30 second survey!

What are Ocean Friendly Restaurants?

Restaurants participating in the OFR Program MUST follow these 7 mandatory criteria:

1: Only Reusable Foodware is used for Onsite Dining Foodware includes dinnerware, drinkware, silverware, and ramekins/containers.

2: Paper Straws only provided on request Exceptions are made for other alternatives sourced from naturally occurring materials and reusables. Bioplastics and compostable straws are not acceptable alternatives.

3: No EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) is used EPS products include cups, plates, and clamshells. We recommend paper base alternatives.

4: No plastic bags are used for take-out orders Encourage your customers to use reusable bags! Paper alternatives acceptable.

5: Single-use utensils, straws, and condiments provided only on request

6: Beverages are not sold in plastic bottles. Plastic bottles and caps are among the most found items at bleach cleanups.

7: Proper recycling practices are followed. Check with your local municipality to ensure your following recycling requirements.

And choose a minimum of two of these criteria as well:

1: A discount is offered to customers with a reusable item Offering a discount is a great way to incentivize sustainable behavior.

2: Vegetarian/Vegan options are available Plant based diets can reduce the impacts of climate change.

3: All Seafood is ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch or certified as sustainable Please choose seafood that is fished or farmed in ways that have less impact on the environment and preserve natural populations.

4: Energy efficiency efforts are in place Conserving energy will help lower your carbon footprint.

5: Water conservation and pollution mitigation efforts are implemented Check with your local municipality for resources on water conservation and pollution mitigation strategies.

6: Concessions and pre-packaged food items are not sold in plastic packaging This includes any food sold or displayed that is pre-wrapped in plastic such as chips, candy, sandwiches, and grab-and-go snacks.

7: Composting efforts are in place for food waste If you aren’t able to compost food onsite look into city sponsored or privately operated composting programs.

8: Neither single-use plastic nor bio-based plastic containers are used for takeout or to-go orders Sustainable alternatives include paper or aluminium containers.

Implement all 13 of the criteria to be recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant!


Benefits include promotion to more consumers through: social media, our website, emails, community events and beach cleanups and collaborative promotions such as launch parties or coupon days promoted to our members. Optional marketing collateral includes: OFR window sticker, table tents, and bill stuffers / info cards.

Please share this info with any restaurant owners or managers you may know.

Please email for more details and any questions.