|Supporting environmentally friendly businesses is a great way to protect the quality of water and quality of life by voting with your wallet.
The Ocean Friendly Establishments program helps you identify some of the many local businesses who take an extra effort to protect our local community environment.
Ocean Friendly Establishments (OFE), a nonprofit founded in 2015 during the NC Marine Debris Symposium, and emerged from concern over the amount of plastic pollution found on our beaches.
Plastics like disposable straws, styrofoam containers, and leftover condiment packages are all threats to the local marine environment. Consumers can take steps to avoid these plastics, but avoiding harmful materials is difficult if a business doesn’t offer a sustainable alternative. Being able to choose businesses that offer environmentally safe options is essential. That’s what Ocean Friendly Establishments is dedicated to – recognizing businesses that keep our environment safe.
OFE, which has North Carolina chapters in Cape Fear, Crystal Coast, Topsail, the Outer Banks, and Brunswick County, is coordinated by a local conservation nonprofit and certifies businesses who agree to protect the environment. For businesses, that means only offering straws to customers on request, in addition to other measures like reducing plastic use, providing recycling facilities, and composting food waste.
Ocean Friendly Establishments also provide education and outreach opportunities for businesses. According to OFE founder Ginger Taylor, “most [businesses] are eager to learn about simple changes they can make to help protect our marine environment.”
For the Carteret and Onslow County areas, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch partners with the local Plastic Free by the Sea group, the Bogue Banks Surfrider chapter, and Ocean Fest to certify OFE businesses.
Finding an Ocean Friendly Establishment in your area is a great way to show support for environmental causes while enjoying local shops and restaurants in your community.
Plastic pollution was identified by both commercial and recreational fisheries representatives as one of the top five water quality impacts to NC fisheries.
Learn more about plastic pollution, Water Quality for Fisheries, and Ocean Friendly Establishments during the 2022 NC Marine Debris Symposium.
Save the Date – October 12-14th, 2022 at the Duke University Marine Laboratory.