Blue Table Initiative
Introduction Our Mission Statement
From shore to sea, the Blue Table Restaurant Program at Loggerhead Marinelife Center strives to serve as a bridge between restaurants and the marine environment by implementing environmentally friendly changes that will have lasting, positive effects on one of the world’s most important resources: the ocean.
The purpose of the Blue Table Restaurant Program (BTRP) is to bring ocean friendly practices into local restaurants in Palm Beach County that will mutually benefit both the restaurant and the environment. We strive to create a plastic-free, Styrofoam-free restaurant setting, while also encouraging sustainable seafood and local produce options.
Why Choose Us?
Blue Table is a completely free program that is locally-based at Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC). We endeavor to be part of the community around us, taking part in what we believe is best for our oceans and the people of Palm Beach County. When a restaurant chooses to be a part of Blue Table, they not only receive free advertising, but also the knowledge that they are actively participating in the community while saving the ocean.
What We Bring to the Blue Table
The participating restaurants will receive the following benefits from partnering with LMC’s Blue Table Restaurant Program:
- A map and brochure to all participating restaurants will be located at the front desk of LMC, available for all 300,000+ guests per year to view
- Blue Table Restaurant Program partner recognition on LMC’s website, social media, newsletter, etc., reaching over 90,000 viewers
- A window sticker with the Blue Table logo will be provided for the restaurant window, highlighting that restaurant as an ocean conscious restaurant
- Signage for both the restaurant and LMC promoting the restaurant as a Blue Table Restaurant Program partner
- Direct, hands-on assistance and guidance bringing about ocean-saving changes to the restaurant
- Recommendations and support on environmentally friendly practices
- Monthly communication with partner organization
- Replacement supplies as necessary
- Periodic reports on overall program achievements
What the Restaurant Brings to the Blue Table
To join the Blue Table Restaurant program, participating restaurants will choose to participate on different levels:
- Eliminate foamed plastic (i.e. Styrofoam) takeout containers
- Provide straws only upon request
- Eliminate beverages sold in plastic bottles
- Eliminate plastic bag use for takeout/to-go orders
- Use only reusable tableware (including napkins and silverware) for in-house dining- disposable utensils may be available on request for takeout/to-go orders
- Promote at least one menu item using sustainable seafood rated “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program*
- All criteria in level 1 must be met
- Implement good recycling habits
- Paper straws (or no straws) are used in place of plastic
- No disposable utensils are provided for takeout/to-go orders
- 25% of all seafood served is rated “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative”
- All criteria from both level 1 and level 2 are met
- 50% or more of all seafood served is rated “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative”
- Local products are used whenever possible in accordance with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services list of in-season crops**
Why Does All of This Matter?
The Fight Against Plastic
Plastic, including polystyrene plastics (i.e. Styrofoam), is a unique material that does not biodegrade or disappear over time; instead, plastic pieces continue to get smaller and smaller, releasing toxins and negatively affecting marine life. Researchers estimate that there are 5.25 TRILLION pieces of plastic in the ocean. In 2017, LMC hosted 68 beach cleanup events along local beaches and collected 2,863 pounds of debris. Out of the 2,863 pounds, 70% was composed of plastics. 100% of the post-hatchlings LMC receives have ingested plastic. By eliminating plastic from restaurants, we can greatly reduce the amount.
*The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program is based on scientific studies completed to assess which seafood is fished or farmed in a way that support a healthy ocean. A complete list of “Best Choice,” “Good Alternative,” and “Avoid” seafood can be found at www.seafoodwatch.org. **Local products are generally defined as food grown within 100 miles of its point of purchase or consumption. The complete list of Florida’s seasonal produce can be found at www.freshfromflorida.com.
Sustainable seafood is a growing trend in restaurants across the U.S., but what does that mean? Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program defines sustainable seafood as “seafood from sources, whether fished or farmed, that can maintain or increase production without jeopardizing the structure and function of affected ecosystems.” In other words, sustainable seafood comes from sources that have a stable or increasing populations, and when taken as food, will not have a negative effect on the population or ecosystem around it. More information on sustainable seafood can be found at www.seafoodwatch.org.
But How Does This Affect Humans?
The ocean is the world’s greatest resource. Ocean-based businesses contribute over $500 billion to the world’s economy. Over 3 billion people rely on fish as their main source of protein, making seafood the largest traded commodity in the world. Oceans hold 97% of the world’s water and produce over half of our oxygen while also absorbing most of the carbon in the atmosphere. Without the ocean, humans cannot live; yet, both plastic pollution and overfishing are severely damaging the marine environment. Fish and other marine animals cannot reproduce fast enough to replenish their populations, and diseases and toxins are becoming more and more prevalent in our seafood. The ecosystems are becoming unbalanced or dying out entirely, and humans are the cause. However, we can also be the solution. By partnering with LMC’s Blue Table Restaurant Program, you can actively participate in saving the world’s greatest resource for future generations.
To make your restaurant Blue Table certified please contact Katie O’hara at firstname.lastname@example.org