We’ve got good news for you, the fish, and the planet today!

Einstein Bros. Bagels at San Diego Airport is the first official ocean-friendly airport restaurant.

Einstein Bros. Bagels has joined an international campaign together with many other eateries, organized by the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation, to promote ecologically responsible business practices.

Here’s a sobering fact: Scientists estimate that over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic alone are polluting oceans and threatening aquatic life.

Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurant lead, Vicki Conlon, says the campaign is part of the organization’s efforts to reduce plastic pollution.

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einstein bros san diego airport
PHOTO: San Diego Airport

How exactly do you become an ocean-friendly restaurant?

Vane spoke with Rachael Coccia, Plastic Pollution Manager at Surfrider, to find out the details.

There are five mandatory criteria restaurants must meet to be certified as an ocean-friendly restaurant by the Surfrider Foundation:

  1. Not using expanded polystyrene (aka Styrofoam)
  2. Following proper recycling practices
  3. Onsite dining uses reusable foodware only (includes dinnerware, drinkware, silverware, and ramekins/containers)
  4. No plastic bags offered with takeout or to-go orders and utensils are provided only upon request
  5. Providing paper straws only upon request (exceptions may be made for alternatives made from other naturally occurring materials and reusable)

In addition to meeting all five mandatory criteria, restaurants must also meet at least 2 of the six optional rules:

  1. No beverages are sold in plastic bottles
  2. Customers who bring reusable cups, containers, bags, etc. are offered a discount
  3. Offering vegetarian/vegan food options regularly
  4. All seafood is ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch or certified as sustainable
  5. Implementing water conservation and pollution mitigation efforts
  6. Energy efficiency efforts are in place

San Diego Airport is a pioneer when it comes to award-winning sustainability programs

San Diego Airport is one of the best examples of a major transit hub leading the charge in innovative programs aimed at cultivating an environmentally sustainable future.

For example, the SAN Green Concessions program promotes waste reduction and diversion, energy and water savings, and environmentally sound business practices among concessionaires, with green concessions now at 72% participation.

The Green Concessions program recognizes concessionaires that:

  • Help reduce airport water and energy usage
  • Minimize waste
  • Educate travelers on sustainability
  • Adopt green business practices like limiting the use of Styrofoam containers and plasticware, consumption of plastic bags, and following proper recycling practices

We’re excited to see Einstein Bros. Bagels become the first official ocean-friendly airport restaurant. It proves that it can be done successfully, and you don’t have to be a fancy health food shop to pull it off. Who’s next?

Cristina Alcivar

Founder and Editor of Vane Airport Magazine. Passionate about everything well-being, love travel, the ocean and the sun.

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