Surfrider Foundation Launches “Choose To Reuse” Educational Campaign to Reduce Single-Use Waste

Intended to educate and transition local businesses and residents to adopt more sustainable practices, reduce single-use plastics, and save money.

KAHULUI, HAWAII – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation about reusables, combined with increased takeout demand, has increased the amount of disposables foodware items used by restaurants (including bags, straws, utensils, cups, menus, and condiments). Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program is launching the “Choose to Reuse” educational campaign to educate and transition business owners and customers alike to adopt easy solutions to avoid unnecessary disposable items.

As part of the educational campaign, volunteer-run Ocean Friendly Restaurants program is encouraging businesses to choose reusable tableware for dine-in guests, provide utensils/condiments only upon request, offer incentives if a customer brings their own reusable mug, and offer online ordering or ordering by app to avoid disposable menus.

Beginning January 1, 2022, restaurants on Maui will be required to provide single-use serviceware upon request by law. The “Choose to Reuse” campaign aims to aid in the transition in adopting Bill 52. Signed into law by Mayor Michael Victorino in April, Bill 52 is one of the strongest single-use plastic bans in the nation. Encouraging eco-friendly disposable options, the bill bans nearly all takeout plastic across Maui County.

Maui County’s Bill 52 follows the success of Bill 40 on Oahu that was passed in December 2019. Most recently, Kauai County banned polystyrene (“styrofoam”) food containers.

Implementing campaigns such as “Choose to Reuse” gives restaurants a head start on initiating the new practices while saving money and resources. Businesses interested in participating in the campaign will receive signage to post in their storefronts that offers customers utensils on request only, as well as digital infographics to help share the new initiative with customers.

“Most to-go orders end up at home where customers use their own utensils, condiments, and napkins,” noted Christine Roberson, Maui Chapter’s Vice Chair. “By providing utensils on request only, this campaign saves restaurants money and helps customers to cut down on single-use items.”

The volunteer-run Ocean Friendly Restaurants program is also encouraging businesses to choose reusable tableware for dine-in guests, offer incentives if a customer brings their own reusable mug, and offer online ordering or ordering by app to avoid disposable menus.

Businesses interested in participating in the educational campaign will receive signage to post in their storefronts that offers customers utensils on request only, as well as digital infographics to help share the new initiative with customers. For more information about the campaign and helpful tips for restaurants to implement these changes please visit https://maui.surfrider.org/ocean-friendly-restaurants.

Residents can assist restaurants in the transition by simply mentioning that you do not need utensils, straws, condiments, bags, napkins, etc. when ordering takeout from local restaurants. Many businesses in Hawaii are successful due to consistent support of the community. We encourage residents to continue to support local restaurants in the transition to a more sustainable future.

If you would like more information about Ocean Friendly Restaurants and how to participate, please contact vicechair@maui.surfrider.org. To learn more about the Surfrider Foundation, visit https://www.surfrider.org/ or find a Hawaii chapter at hawaii.surfrider.org.

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About Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter & Ocean Friendly Restaurants
Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter’s mission is centered on the protection and enjoyment of our island’s (and world’s) ocean, waves, and beaches for all people. Ocean Friendly Restaurants is one of five major programs supported by our powerful activist network of volunteers. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter and all our initiatives, please visit https://maui.surfrider.org or follow us on Instagram and Facebook @surfridermaui.