Clean Ocean Action

Food Service Plastic Reduction Program

Plastic continually plagues our ecosystems, beaches and waterways. Litter, and particularly plastic, is harmful to animals that mistake it for food and/or become entangled – litter-filled beaches also negatively affect tourism and the coastal economy. In response, since 1985, thousands of dedicated volunteers — the tall and small — gather throughout New Jersey in the Spring and Fall for COA’s Beach Sweeps. Over 6,742,941 pieces of garbage have been removed by 133,390 volunteers to date. As a result, beaches and waterways are safer for wildlife and people. One alarming trend in the data collected at the Beach Sweeps is the overwhelming presence and growing number of single-use plastics.

For years, COA has educated citizens and fought to reduce plastics and litter that pollute waterways, spoil beautiful beaches, and harm or kill marine life, including turtles, whales, seals, birds, and fish. With a rapidly growing number of local laws and regulations limiting the use and distribution of single-use plastics throughout the state of New Jersey, as well as nationally and globally, the tide is finally starting to change. More and more corporations, companies, and industries are beginning to address the issue of plastic pollution and become environmentally sustainable.

COA offers a “trident” approach to address plastic pollution by encouraging restaurants and food service providers  to eliminate all single-use plastic items possible, reduce what they cannot eliminate, and replace the remainder with an environmentally-friendly alternative.


The Plastic Pollution Problem

Plastics are a human-created boon and bane. The wasteful use of plastics, particularly for single-use items, is a plague and an ecosystem crisis:

·         Plastics are now found throughout world and are accumulating in all marine ecosystems.

·         Plastic marine litter eventually breaks down into smaller and microscopic bits and ultimately becomes microplastics, which are more harmful.

·         If plastic pollution continues at the current rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the

ocean by 2050.[1]

·         Plastic pollution is killing, maiming, and harming marine life through ingestion or entanglement.

·         Plastic is now found in some seafood and sea salt. The long-term human health risks are real.


















49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Field Office:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

Charity Navigator, "Your Guide to Intelligent Giving"