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Rise Above Plastics

Rise Above Plastics is designed to eliminate the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

About Plastic Pollution

Most plastic pollution at sea starts out on land from overflowing landfills or as litter on beaches, streets and sidewalks. Rain flushes that plastic through a storm drain system, or directly sends it into creeks, streams and rivers that lead to the ocean. After plastics enter the marine environment, they slowly photodegrade into smaller pieces that marine life can mistake for food, sometimes with fatal results. Research groups report that ocean gyres — a system of circulating currents in an ocean — concentrate plastic pollution in five main areas of the world’s ocean, with alarming consequences. 

The whole lifecycle of plastics is also problematic. From extraction to disposal, plastic pollutes our communities and environment. It is a leading contributor to climate change. And more often than not, it disproportionately harms Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color.

Learn more below about our ongoing campaigns and recent victories through the Rise Above Plastics program.

Plastic Utensils at Jones Beach by Brian Yurasits via Unsplash

Skip the Stuff Bill

The Skip the Stuff Bill asks for restaurants, food delivery apps, and online delivery platforms to give out single use plastic utensils, napkins and condiments only when it is requested by the customer.

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program recognizes restaurants that are committed to cutting out wasteful single-use plastic. It offers restaurants a simple and straightforward framework to make sustainable choices for our ocean and become leaders in their communities.


Recent Victories

Plastic Bag Ban
The plastic bag ban officially took into effect in March 2020, but enforcement began only in October 2020. The reason why the enforcement took longer was because of a lawsuit from plastic bag manufacturers. Now that it is in effect and enforced, stores could face fines up to $500 if they are not complying.

Plastic Straw Upon Request Bill
In May 2021, the New York City Council passed a bill to reduce plastic straw usage. The bill dictates that establishments will only be allowed to give out a plastic straw if a person asks for one.


See Surfrider HQ's Rise Above Plastics program page for additional info here