San Francisco Surfrider Foundation

Rise Above Plastics

The Rise Above Plastics (RAP) Mission

To reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

Our San Francisco chapter works hard to address the plastic pollution issues that are most challenging in the Bay Area. We look for alternatives to single-use plastics that come in on our Top 10 list at beach cleanups – plastic straws, bottle caps, food wrappers and plastic cutlery – as well as creating solutions for global marine plastic pollution issues, such as microplastic pollution from washing fleece clothing.

We are currently working on a plastic straw campaign, Plastic Straws Suck, as well as a plastic shotgun wad campaign, a microplastics campaign, and supporting our local government on a citywide ban of single-use plastics in restaurants. We are constantly growing and adapting to create campaigns and strategies to combat sources of marine plastic pollution as we become aware of them.

10 Ways to Rise Above Plastic

Here are 10 easy ways to reduce your “plastic footprint” and help keep plastics out of the marine environment:

  1. Bring your own bag when shopping and use your own reusable cloth bags for produce and jars for bulk shopping.
  2. Carry reusable utensils and a reusable straw and bring your own to-go container with you to restaurants.
  3. Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a drink container.
  4. Bring your to-go mug or mason jar & straw with you to the coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that let you use them.
  5. Be smart about compostable plastics – compostable plastics only work when they are disposed of properly (not in landfill bins) and when there is a local high heat composting facility in your area. Compostable plastics act just like other plastics when littered and are just as harmful to wildlife.
  6. Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
  7. Volunteer at a beach cleanup. We have three a month in San Francisco!
  8. Join the green team at your school or in your office and eliminate plastic from your common areas.
  9. Ask your local bars and restaurants to stop using straws and other single-use plastics and tell them how much money they can save by reducing their landfill waste and increasing their compost!
  10. Join our volunteer team and help support campaigns to eliminate single use plastics!

Contact our Rise Above Plastics (RAP) lead, Olivia Angus at with any questions or to get involved@wad-watcher

Rise Above Plastics (RAP) Lead—Olivia Angus

Olivia is a goofy-footed short boarder from San Diego. She got her start with Surfrider in 2008 making signs for a Save Trestles rally and has been committed to Surfrider’s mission ever since. She has a background in engineering and loves applying engineering principles to creating environmental change. In her free time, she enjoys Marie Kondo-ing (or KonMari-ing) her life, working towards a zero waste lifestyle, dancing, and exploring with her husband and kids. Follow her journey towards zero waste at @OliviaForTheOcean.