Look for this sticker in certified businesses’ windows to support their efforts in protecting our coastal environment.

In the northeast region, the Coastal Federation and the North Carolina Aquariums’ Jennette’s Pier have partnered with the Plastic Ocean Project to expand the Ocean Friendly Establishments program.

An Ocean Friendly Establishment is a business that voluntarily adopts environmentally friendly business practices, primarily reducing the use of single-use plastics. In coastal North Carolina, many establishments take pride in protecting the environment recognizing that a healthy coast is why we choose to live in and visit the area.

In an effort to reduce single-use plastic pollution, owners and managers of certified Ocean Friendly Establishments have agreed to only serve straws upon request and eliminate single-use plastic bags. Additional environmentally conscious business practices, like participating in the federation’s Restaurant to Reef oyster shell recycling program, eliminating Styrofoam, providing a vegetarian menu option, eliminating beverages sold in plastic bottles, and more, can earn the participating business additional stars. A business can earn up to five stars based on how many practices they adopt. This is a self-regulated initiative, and businesses are encouraged to ensure all employees are educated and adhering to the initiative. Educational sessions are available by request.

As an Ocean Friendly Establishment, participating businesses will receive a window decal and certificate that they can proudly share with the community to announce their commitment to being Ocean Friendly. Once certified, they will also be featured on the federation’s website, Plastic Ocean Project’s website, as well as all relevant social media outlets.

If you manage or own a business in northeast North Carolina, specifically in the Outer Banks and surrounding areas, and are interested in becoming certified as an Ocean Friendly Establishment, fill out the attached form. Applications are available for both restaurant and retail businesses. While the initiative is self-regulated, the Federation’s staff is available to help you become certified by providing you with information to become more environmentally friendly and earn more stars.

Send your completed application or questions about the program to outerbanksofe@gmail.com. If you are located in another region of coastal North Carolina and are interested in becoming Ocean Friendly, click here.

Tackle Trash

You can help clean up our coast—from hurricane debris to microplastics.

Current Ocean Friendly Establishments