8 Hours

Your mission:

Help a local restaurant cut down on single-use plastics.


By raising plastic pollution awareness in one restaurant, you’ll be reaching lots of customers and can inspire behavior changes that will scale across your community.

What you need to know:

This Action was inspired by Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program, which offers restaurants all over the country an easy way to show their commitment to making plastic-smart choices. One of the best choices they can make is reducing the number of single-use items they give out.

Single-use items include:

  • Plastic straws
  • Utensils
  • Take out containers
  • Coffee cups
  • Lids
  • Bags
  • + more
What to do:
  • Think of a local restaurant you’re familiar with. Maybe it’s one you visit with your family often or one you feel comfortable approaching.
  • Get in touch with the primary decision-maker and inspire them to offer single-use plastic items upon customer request only.
  • Print out the commitment form.
  • Have the restaurant manager or owner sign the Wayfinder commitment to implementing a new policy.
  • Earn 2 extra Hours for inspiring the restaurant to make even bigger changes, such as:
    • No beverages sold in plastic bottles
    • Offering discounts for customers with reusable cups, mugs, bags, utensils, straws, etc
What to watch out for:
  • Not every restaurant will be ready to make the change. That’s ok! Don’t feel defeated for trying.
  • Try to approach your restaurant during off-peak hours such as lunch, dinner and on weekends.
  • Focus on locally-owned or mom-and-pop restaurants. Large corporate restaurant chains like fast food chains will not have as much individual freedom to make decisions.
  • If you can’t speak with a decision-maker in person, start the conversation with a call or email.
  • Help your restaurant educate their customers about the benefits of the change! Reach out to Algalita if you have questions about what to say.
  • Money talks. One way to pique your restaurant’s interest is by reminding them they can cut back on costs when they cut back on single-use plastics.
  • Restaurants tend to listen to their customers, so go ahead and buy something while you’re there!
Track Your Contribution To Solving Plastic Pollution:

Submit 8 Action Hours for approval: Complete the form below. For this lesson, you will need to print out the commitment form.


This Action was created in collaboration with Surfrider Foundation.

Cover image photo credit: Burak K on Pexels

Where to next?

Explore the lessons and actions that build off this one to continue on your journey to address the plastic problem! 

Design a Zero-Waste Composting Network

Map out how your community restaurant could be a part of a zero-waste compost network.


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