San Francisco Surfrider Foundation

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

From Table to Trash

Researchers estimate there are now over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean with the number continuing to grow every day.

  • An estimated 100 billion plastic bags are used ANNUALLY in the United States.​
  • An estimated 500 million straws are used DAILY in the United States.
  • 49.4 billion plastic water bottles were sold in one year’s time with only 31.1% recycled, leaving roughly 34 billion plastic bottles that were littered or went into a landfill in 2015.

Restaurants Making a Change

By reducing disposable waste, restaurants have the power to greatly reduce their impact on San Francisco’s ocean and beaches.

The Ocean Friendly Restaurants program offers restaurants an easy way to show their commitment by making sustainable choices for our ocean.

SF OFR Criteria (Updated)
A restaurant can be certified as an OFR if it meets all 7 of the mandatory criteria  and 4 of the optional criteria listed below. 

Mandatory Criteria (San Francisco):

  1. Only reusable foodware is used for onsite dining. (Foodware includes dinnerware, drinkware, silverware, and ramekins/containers.)
  2. No plastic straws. Paper or reusable straws provided only upon request. (Exceptions may be made for naturally occurring materials (e.g. hay, bamboo) and reusables (e.g. metal, glass), not including bio-based plastic.)
  3. No expanded polystyrene used (aka Styrofoam).
  4. No plastic bags are used for takeout or to-go orders.
  5. Non-plastic single-use utensils, straws, condiments, and other takeout accessory items are provided only upon request.
  6. Beverages are not sold in plastic bottles.
  7. Proper recycling & compost practices are followed throughout the restaurant with standardized labels.

Optional Criteria (Must Meet Minimum of 4):

  1.  No single-use plastic or bio-plastic takeout/to-go containers. Reusable or backyard composable only.
  2. If compostables are used for takeout and to-go, containers are BPI and Green Screen Certified.
  3. If plastics are used for takeout and to-go, only #1 and #2 plastics are used.
  4. A discount is offered for customers with a reusable item (e.g., to-go container, cup, bag).
  5. Vegetarian/vegan food options are offered on a regular basis.
  6. All seafood must be a “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” as defined by Seafood Watch, or no seafood is served. (Locally sourced, sustainable seafood is preferred and should be prioritized when Seafood Watch recommendations do not apply.) 
  7. Water conservation and pollution mitigation efforts are implemented. (Examples include installing low-flow faucets and toilets, offering drinking water upon request only, no hosing down outside to reduce urban runoff, proper disposal of FOG, and up-to-date septic or sewage to prevent wastewater pollution.)
  8. Energy efficiency efforts are in place. (Examples include switching to LED lighting, installing solar panels, using Energy Star certified appliances and/or other efforts to use less energy.) 
  9. Concessions and pre-packaged food items are not sold in plastic packaging.
  10. All paper products are 100% recycled made with 100% post-consumer recycled material or are labeled as “FSC Recycled.” 
  11. Utensils for takeout are made of wood or bamboo (rather than bio-based plastic).
  12. Ashcan is available on-site.

Find an Ocean Friendly Restaurant in San Francisco

  • Show your support by frequenting Surfrider’s certified Ocean Friendly Restaurants and let them know you found them on our OFR webpage
  • Say “no straw” whenever you order a drink (even take-out and drive-thru)
  • Ask for water and other drinks in a reusable glass instead of plastic
  • Bring a reusable water bottle
  • Bring your own reusable cup for takeout coffee, and remember to ask for a reusable mug when ordering “for here”
  • If you think you may have leftovers, bring your own reusable container instead of getting a disposable container from the restaurant
  • Bring your own bag when picking up takeout food

Contact our Ocean Friendly Restaurant (OFR) Lead, Meriel Gibson via email with any questions.