A nationwide ocean-friendly program is picking up traction in the Coastal Bend. Nine local restaurants are involved in the program, lead by the Surfrider Foundation. This initiative helps participating restaurants like Water Street Sushi Room reduce their plastic footprint.
“It felt like an immediate fit,” said Richard Lomax, the vice president at Water Street Restaurants. “We’re so involved in our ecosystems since it’s where our products come from.”
Lomax says he sees plastics pollute the gulf and bay daily.
“When I’m fishing or at the beach, it’s the styrofoam cups and the plastic bags [that I see].”
That’s why Water Street Sushi Room and other restaurants like the Post at Lamar Park and Shoreline Sandwich Company jumped on the opportunity to become part of the ocean-friendly restaurant program.
To be a part of the program, those restaurants must meet some criteria: no Styrofoam products, no plastic bags for takeout or to-go orders, using only reusable tableware and utensils and straws are given out only if a customer requests them.
The lack of plastic straws is no problem for Gavin Snider, a regular customer at the Sushi Room.
“By eliminating that material, there are no more straws that can be thrown out randomly at the beach,” said Snider.
Meanwhile, Lomax says being an ocean-friendly restaurant comes at a small cost.
“The appearance of plastic and the appearance of the junk that it creates has been a huge ‘it’s worth it,’ ” said Lomax.
Lomax and others say the benefits outweigh the cost.
“Slowly but surely I think it will keep the beaches clean,” Snider said, “which is really important especially here in Corpus.”
For more information about ocean-friendly restaurants, visit the Surfrider Foundation’s website here.