When Will More Ocean Beach Restaurants Join the Plastic ‘Straw Wars’?

by on May 24, 2017 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

The San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is part of the  world-wide movement to ban plastic straws in restaurants, the so-called “Straw Wars” campaign, part of a wider effort to get restaurants certified as Ocean-Friendly Restaurants (OFR).

A number of OB restaurants are currently ocean-friendly, according to Surfrider.

But now we hear that 3 “high-profile” restaurants in other parts of San Diego have joined this movement to limit the number of plastic straws, many of which end up polluting our oceans and harming marine life. An estimated 500 million plastic straws are used by Americans everyday, and many of them splash down in our coastal waterways and oceans.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Herringbone in La Jolla and the city’s two Searsuckers, in Del Mar and the Gaslamp, have taken the “No Straws” pledge recently. All three are owned by the Hakkasan Group, reportedly a large Abu Dhabi-based hospitality company. Their new policy is to provide straws only upon request.

The Union-Tribune reported that Rachael Giannecchini, director of restaurant marketing for the Hakkasan Group, claims the local movement to get rid of straws,  “all started with a very passionate restaurant manager here in San Diego” -Herringbone manager Kelli Aspenleiter. Giannecchini also said that when told why, 90% of their customers support the idea.

There’s also nation-wide and global groups, like The Last Plastic Straw and Strawfree.org. Plus Tim Robbins, the action, narrates a new 30-minute documentary called “Straws.”

So, we have to ask: When will more Ocean Beach restaurants join “Straw Wars” and take the “Straws Suck” oath not to serve the straws with either cocktails or non-alcoholic drinks?

As mentioned, a number of OB eateries are already part of the Ocean-Friendly Restaurant campaign, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have taken the oath to ban plastic straws.  The OB list includes:

  • Bo Beau Ocean Beach,
  • Lazy Hummingbird Cafe,
  • Little Lion Cafe,
  • (the OB Warehouse was on it, but of course they’ve closed),
  • Raglan Public House, and
  • Wonderland Ocean Pub.

We applaud them all for this, and ask them to go the step further, and ban plastic straws.

Here’s what San Diego Surfrider says about their ocean-friendly restaurant efforts:

Reducing Plastic Waste – One Restaurant at a Time

The Ocean Friendly Restaurant (OFR) campaign works with San Diego County restaurants to institute self-regulated ocean friendly policies that reduce disposable plastic waste. By reducing disposable waste, restaurants have the power to greatly reduce their impact on San Diego’s ocean and beaches.

Instead of punishing restaurants that have wasteful practices, San Diego Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics committee will instead support restaurants that take it upon themselves to be ocean friendly. By engaging the restaurant community in a conversation about ocean friendly practices, we hope to significantly reduce disposable waste in our ocean and on our beaches.

Also, here is how a restaurant becomes certified OFR:

What Makes a Restaurant Ocean Friendly?

Restaurants participating in the OFR Campaign MUST follow these four criteria:

  1. No styrofoam use
  2. Only reusable tableware is provided for onsite dining
  3. Proper recycling practices are followed throughout the restaurant
  4. Plastic bags are not used to carry out food

And choose a minimum of three of these criteria as well:

  1. Plastic straws are provided only upon request
  2. Takeout food and beverage containers are recycled, recyclable, or compostable
  3. Takeout bags are provided only upon request, or pickup customers are asked to bring their own takeout bags
  4. Disposable utensils for takeout food are provided only upon request
  5. No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
  6. Discount offered to customers who bring in their own cup, mug, container, bag or other reusable item.

Hey, next time you’re out dining in OB or Point Loma (or anywhere else for that matter) ask the manager if they’re part of the ocean-friendly restaurant and “Straw Wars” campaign? And if they say, no, say ‘why not?’


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Christo May 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm

Plastic Straws should be phased out in favor of biodegradable paper straws.



kh May 24, 2017 at 5:50 pm

I don’t see all that many plastic straws littered on the coastline. Or maybe that’s a testament to the progress of these programs.

After cigarette butts, alcohol containers and bum clothing, the next most common is receipts, styrofoam pieces and cigarillo wrappers. The styrofoam is especially bad because it breaks down into smaller pieces that can’t feasibly be cleaned up.

Paper products are always preferable in coastal cities. They require more cost and natural resources to produce, but breakdown quickly if littered, and don’t harm wildlife.


Frank Gormlie May 24, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Thanks KH, you would know as you’ve been cleaning up the cliffs.


Jeffeck May 25, 2017 at 10:21 am

Paper straws collapse and breakdown and take alot of trees out. That would be a negative.

But we have a new burgeoning industry using hemp?? Maybe that is the solution.

Now how can we stop them from breaking down in water (or other beverage).


Christo May 25, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Hemp would be a good solution.

I would think whatever we end up with we would WANT them to break down in water- but maybe not in 30 minutes.

How about titanium reusable ones? https://snowpeak.com/products/titanium-straw?variant=671174649


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