Surfrider launches ‘Upon Request Only,’ ‘Choose to Reuse’ plans

LIHU‘E — Earlier this week, Surfrider Kaua‘i, a nonprofit environmental organization, announced it is joining Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants’ “Upon Request Only” program, which ties into their foundation’s goal of reducing single-use plastic waste.

The “Upon Request Only” campaign aims to educate and transition business owners and customers alike to adopt easy solutions to avoid unnecessary items.

This program is a part of OFR’s “Choose to Reuse” campaign launched statewide earlier this week to encourage Hawai‘i residents to pass on single-use utensils and condiments when ordering takeout food from local restaurants and food establishments.

“The majority of to-go orders are brought home, where customers use their own utensils, condiments and napkins,” said Ruta Jordans, Surfrider Kaua‘i Ocean Friendly restaurant coordinator said.

“By providing utensils on request only, restaurants and their customers can not only reduce single-use plastics, but restaurants can also save money in these challenging times,” she said.

Surfrider Kaua‘i said if restaurants would like to participate in the program, there are five steps to follow.

They are: provide utensils and condiments upon request only, use only reusable tableware for dining in, provide online or reusable menus, encourage customers to bring their own utensils, bags, etc., and offer reusables for to-go orders.

The county council recently passed Bill 2775, a ban on polystyrene (Styrofoam) food containers, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

According to Surfrider Kaua‘i, once Bill 2775 goes into effect, Hawai‘i will be a Styrofoam-free state, one of only five in the nation.

Surfrider Kaua‘i hopes this gives restaurants a head start on initiating new practices while saving money and resources.

Surfrider Kaua‘i’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program is launching “Choose to Reuse” with the “Upon Request Only” step, and has provided “Upon Request Only” decals to more than 50 restaurants so far.

According to Surfrider Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i food businesses interested in participating in the campaign, including restaurants, food trucks and grocery stores offering takeout, will receive “Upon Request Only” decals to post in their storefronts, as well as digitalgraphics to help share the new initiative with customers.

Residents can assist food establishments in the transition by simply mentioning that “you do not need utensils, straws, condiments, bags, napkins, etc. when ordering takeout,” Surfrider Kaua‘i said.

“We encourage Kaua‘i residents and visitors to continue to support Kaua‘i Ocean Friendly Restaurants and all local food establishments in the transition to a more-sustainable future,” said Barbara Levin, a Surfrider Kaua‘i volunteer said.

More information on participating in the “Upon Request Only” program or the Ocean Friendly Restaurants program is available by emailing

To learn more about Choose to Reuse, visit


Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business, and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or

  1. Doug October 28, 2020 12:41 pm Reply

    Finally someone is addressing the utensil usage. I almost always have to tell restaurants that I do not need plastic utensils with my take out, usually they just try to automatically throw them in the bag. Every once in a while I am asked, but not often. By the way, all those plastic utensils that are put in bags and tossed in the trash when you get home cost the restaurant money, imagine the cost savings for them if only they asked before providing the utensils……….

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