Boca Raton, FL - February 19, 2019
The City of Boca Raton is launching a new program called Coastal Connection on March 2, 2019 at the Sea Turtle Day Festival at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. With the City located in coastal southeast Florida with five miles of beachfront, the program is an environmental initiative that aims to recognize those who are acknowledging their role in their coastal community and taking actions to both mitigate negative impacts and create positive change. This year, the city is focusing on a restaurant program to promote and encourage businesses to take steps to become more environmentally conscious.
"In its entirety, the Coastal Connection program is a way to promote Boca Raton as a destination, or home base, for environmentally conscious people and businesses," commented Lindsey Nieratka, Sustainability Manager. "We've already noticed a lot of restaurants in the area taking steps to promote sustainable actions within their establishment, so we decided to use this restaurant program as an opportunity to give them the recognition they deserve and inspire others to join."
For a restaurant to be recognized and earn a Coastal Connection "sustainability star," they must first tackle one main issue impacting the ocean: single-use plastics. To receive a one-star designation, restaurants must alter their practices and materials to be non-plastic and biodegradable and implement the following four actions: provide straws by request only; use reusable tableware for onsite dining; provide only non-plastic takeaway containers, cups and bags, and only provide takeaway cutlery on request; and regularly offer sustainable food choices. To earn a two- or three-star designation, restaurants must take on other issues impacting the coastal environment and implement actions that address energy and water conservation, night-friendly lighting, recycling and sustainable seafood.
With about 8 million tons of plastic thrown into the ocean annually, marine life mammals regularly become entangled in or ingest plastic debris causing a variety of dangerous issues. With the partnership of Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, the Coastal Connection program also aims to address issues the rehabilitation facility staff address daily.
"The Coastal Connection program has been designed so that every action has a powerful impact on reducing our footprint on the environment," commented Leanne Welch, Manager of Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. "Here at Gumbo Limbo, we have seen firsthand the impacts of single-use plastics on our sea turtle patients. Partnering with the Office of Sustainability and these restaurants through this program helps to further our mission to inspire stewardship of the coastal and marine ecosystem."
The Coastal Connection restaurant program will officially launch at the Sea Turtle Day Festival on March 2 at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center at 10 am.
For more information on the Coastal Connection program, please visit the Coastal Connection webpage. To apply to be a part of the restaurant program, please contact Lindsey Nieratka, Sustainability Manager at [email protected] or 561-393-7997.
Anne Marie Van Casteren
Public Relations Specialist