What is an “ocean-friendly” event?
Many people are aware of the problems plastic is causing to our oceans, wildlife and human health. As a result, more and more people choose to support organizations that are parting ways with single-use plastics. Ocean-friendly events are those that abstain from using single-use plastics and instead use items that are reusable, compostable or recyclable. Organizing an ocean-friendly event not only helps our marine ecosystems, it can also be a great promotional quality for your event.
How do I make my event ocean-friendly?
There are six requirements for an event to be considered ocean-friendly:
Use of styrofoam, or expanded polystyrene, is not allowed. Replacement materials are reusable, compostable or recyclable. Examples are cups, mugs and to-go containers.
No plastic bags can be used for food orders or merchandise. Paper bags are to be used, if needed. Plant-based plastics, such as bioplastic, bags can be just as bad for the environment as conventional plastic.
Proper recycling practices must be followed throughout the event. This means that recycling receptacles should be available, and vendors should be educated on what can and cannot be recycled.
Disposable plastic utensils are not allowed at an ocean-friendly event. Wooden compostable utensils are to be provided upon request.
No balloons are used at the event. Balloons are a continual killer of wildlife. Other ocean-friendly decorations are plentiful and encouraged.
Other options to consider
- While plastic bottles are allowed in the Ocean Allies ocean-friendly certification at this time, priority should be given to water refill stations, reusable bottles, and canned water.
- If food is at the event, vegetarian and vegan options should be available to attract more patrons and support diets that are sustainable.
- All seafood should be ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch or certified as sustainable.
Ocean Allies is happy to assist any event that would like to go ocean-friendly and can provide guidance on the right materials to choose. If your event is certified ocean-friendly by Ocean Allies, it will be promoted and celebrated. The city’s sustainability coordinator can also be contacted with questions at (727) 562-4003.