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San Francisco “Ocean Friendly” Restaurants Doing Important Work

By Sarah C. Brady

There’s a new classification in dining supported by the Surf Rider Foundation for you to seriously consider: Certified Ocean Friendly Restaurants (OFRs).

Image courtesy of yasabe.com

The devil on your shoulder, disgusted by your ever-growing list of feel good causes, might tell you that this cause is one too many. Not so fast, Devil!

Surfrider, the organization that certifies OFRs, makes a convincing argument for the cause. Surfrider volunteer and OFR Program Co-Lead, Corinne Gentile, explains:

“In 2016 our volunteers removed nearly 7,000 pounds of trash from beaches in SF.” Sadly, a good part of that waste comes from takeout containers which are provided by local restaurants. People take to-go food down to the beach and, particularly at Ocean Beach, often leave it piled next to overflowing trash cans. Then it blows into the sand and water.

Surfrider volunteers removed 42 straws at Ocean Beach stairwell 17 just this weekend

“In 2016 our volunteers removed nearly 7,000 pounds of trash from beaches in SF.”

Gentile says that volunteers also remove massive quantities of plastic straws, preventing them from being eaten by animals or permanently lodged in their noses and throats.

The OFR program offers pro bono consulting to help restaurants easily eliminate plastic straws and takeout containers from their offerings, swapping them with compostable or reusable alternatives. See the full list of requirements for OFR certification here.

Not convinced you should give a shit? The U.N., which is holding its first-ever Ocean Conference this week, issued a statement that might help persuade you to give your business to OFRs: “Plastic waste alone kills up to one million sea birds, a hundred thousand sea mammals and countless fish each year. An estimated 80 per cent of marine pollution comes from land-based activities.”

Still not ready to say “au revoir” to your Cosmotini straw? this is what plastic does to sea turtles in the ocean. If this doesn’t work to convert you then you have no soul.

So you’re *pardon the nautical pun* on board now, right? The OFR program officially launches in SF June 8th, and here’s a list of restaurants already certified:

Surfrider plans to post an interactive map of certified restaurants to their website over the coming months. In the meantime, be on the lookout for OFRs in your neighborhood, identifiable by the handy little storefront decal pictured above.

Got a restaurant you’d like to help join the list? Check out the one page breakdown of the program, and feel free to share. You can also reach out to the OFR team at ofr@sf.surfrider.org to set up a free consultation.

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