Coastal Connection Restaurant Program
Good news on reusable items!
COVID -19 and single use plastics
Out of an abundance of caution, many businesses and individuals stopped using reusable items such as cups and bags in favor of disposable alternatives to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As of July 2020, we now know more about how the virus spreads and precautions to put in to place. According to health experts in a statement released in early July, both disposable and reusable items share a similar and low risk for disease transmission. When using reusable items precautions can be taken to make them as or more safe than disposables such as making sure they are properly washed and instituting no-touch practices for reusable items being brought in from the outside. Read the full statement.
To implement safe use of reusable items in your hospitality business, Oceanic Global put out guidelines for reopening sustainable businesses in the time of COVID-19. Use the guidelines to make sure your business has the appropriate systems in place to keep your staff and your customers healthy.
Coastal Connection 2.0
Participating restaurants will meet all the minimum prerequisites of the program. In addition, each restaurant has the option to complete additional actions as listed. To apply, simply send an email to Sustainability@myboca.us with contact information and a statement of how the requirements are being met (see below).
- Use reusable tableware on site
- Provide disposable products (straws, paper napkins, takeaway cutlery and containers) by request only.
- Replace one or more of the following disposable plastic items with reusable or non-plastic* alternative.
- Coffee cups
- Coffee lids
- Take-away containers
- Take-away cutlery
Additional Actions (optional)
- Put in place policies that allow customers to safely use reusable items (e.g. bring their own bags or cups) where appropriate.
- Put in place a system to recycle, reuse, or donate one or more waste streams.
- Put in place strategies to control litter around the property.
- Purchase paper products such as napkins, toilet tissue, and/or copy paper that includes recycled content.
- Provide signage or messaging to staff and customers to encourage environmental behavior.
- Implement at least one of the following water conservation strategies:
- Regularly check for leaks by monitoring water bills and noting unexpected increases.
- Replace or have installed all toilets, faucets, and urinals with high-efficiency WaterSense certified models.
- Install low-flow aerators on all faucets in kitchen sinks, bathrooms, and public restrooms.
- Install low-flow pre-rinse spray valves.
- Implement at least one of the following energy conservation strategies:
- Use LED bulbs in at least 75% of all light fixtures (indoor and outdoor).
- Install lighting controls including occupancy sensors, delay timers, and/or daylight sensors.
- Purchase one or more Energy Star certified appliances (refrigerator, dishwashers, ovens, etc.).
- Install a high-efficiency HVAC system (minimum 16 SEER).
- Optimize HVAC use by providing regular maintenance, setting the temperature at 74˚ or higher, and maintaining separation between conditioned and unconditioned space.
- Install an Energy Star natural gas or high efficiency water heater or a solar water heater.
- Provide main course menu options which are vegetarian and vegan.
- Commit to only serve seafood that is certified as “best choice” or “good alternative” by seafoodwatch.org
- Serve produce and meat that are locally sourced, organic, or from an on-site garden.
- Reduce food waste through restaurant practices.
- Purchase one or more electric or hybrid-electric vehicles for business use.
- Provide incentives for employees to walk, bike, use transit, or carpool.
- Use SaferChoice cleaning products that are safe for the environment.
- For restaurants with control of their building’s exterior, implement at least one of the following sustainable site design strategies:
- All exterior lighting is dark skies friendly.
- Plant one or more new shade canopy trees on property.
- Install awnings or overhangs to shade the building.
- Install Energy Star windows, doors, and/or roof products.
- Landscape with drought resistant and wildlife attracting native plants, according to the principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping or following the WaterWise guidelines.
- Install water-efficient irrigation.
- Promote rainwater infiltration by increasing pervious surfaces and/or maintaining swales/raingardens on property.
- Use only organic herbicides and pesticides.
- Install electric vehicle supply equipment on site.
- Install a solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system.
- Other innovative green/environmental action. Approval at the discretion of the program manager.
How to Apply
Applying is easy!
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Business name and address
- Name and contact information of main business contact and person applying including mailing address for Coastal Connection decal.
- Description of how you are meeting the prerequisites and plastic disposable item being removed or replaced and, if replaced, details of the replacement.
- Description of any other sustainable action, see below for examples of documentation.
Our Sustainability team may reach out to you with additional questions. Once approved, you will receive a digital toolkit in your email, a window cling in the mail, and be listed on our website as a Coastal Connection business!
Example documentation for additional (optional) actions:
- Products and equipment: Spec sheets, invoices, photos, or other documentation that shows the products are energy/water/waste efficient and that they are in use at the restaurant.
- Menus: Copy of menus showing vegan and vegetarian options, invoices demonstrating sources of local or organic foods, recipe planning or ordering structure that facilitates food waste reduction.
- Programs: Written description of education, waste reduction, or other programs in place. Photographs when available to document.
- Policies: Written description of internal policy. Copy of memo or signage when available.
- Other practices: Documentation should be photographic or copies of documents when available and written narrative description otherwise.
There are a wealth or resources available to assist restaurants to achieve the goals of the program. Several are listed below:
Plastic use reduction:
Plastic and Litter Reduction:
- US EPA’s Energy Star program’s best practices for restaurants
- Energy Star for Small Business
- EPA's commercial food service equipment
Sustainable Menu and Food Waste
Restaurants that have an alternative green business certification are automatically eligible for the Coastal Connection Program provided they also meet the prerequisites of this program.
- Surfrider Ocean Friendly Restaurants (https://palmbeachcounty.surfrider.org/ocean-friendly-restaurants-ofr/)
- Green Restaurant Association (https://www.dinegreen.com/)
* Ensure that any compostable/biodegradable product is 100% plant material (e.g., bagasse/sugarcane fiber, wheat straw, palm leaf, bamboo, uncoated paper). Plastics labeled as compostable or biodegradable typically only break down when composted in a specific type of industrial facility not present in South Florida. For this reason, compostable plastics pose the same hazards as regular plastics and should be avoided.