Press Releases

Tofino's Successful Drinking Straw Reduction Campaign

Surfrider Foundation Vancouver calls for local businesses to reduce business-to-customer waste, congratulates Tofino on successful drinking straw reduction campaign

Vancouver, BC -- What happens to that plastic drinking straw sitting in your glass as you enjoy a beverage at a local restaurant, or the styrofoam container holding your favourite take-out, or the plastic shopping bags holding your purchases? The Vancouver chapter of Surfrider Foundation is encouraging not only consumers, but also businesses that dispense these items, to think twice before using these single-use plastic products.


Recently in Tofino, Surfrider Pacific Rim challenged local businesses to stop using plastic drinking straws by Earth Day, April 22,2016. The campaign has been very successful, and has captured the attention of locals, Vancouver Islanders and even residents of the Lower Mainland.


Surfrider Vancouver chair Matthew Unger congratulates their efforts. "We applaud Tofino businesses for choosing to make a real difference in reducing waste. We'd love to see Vancouver businesses do the same with straws, styrofoam containers, and plastic shopping bags.  It's such a simple thing, but it makes such a big difference.”


Current research shows that the plastics used to make single use dishes, bags and straws are designed to last over 10,000 years. Styrofoam and other polystyrene products have life expectancies more than ten times longer.


Surfrider is encouraging Vancouver businesses to follow suit in the reduction of business-to-customer waste, by starting with three items: plastic drinking straws, styrofoam take-out containers and plastic shopping bags. Says Unger, “The goal is to promote local businesses who replace these products with biodegradable options. By now most people have seen or heard about how plastics are choking our waters, our members want to know that the businesses they support are setting an example.”


Many local businesses are applying this model, and some even charge a nominal fee for plastic shopping bags. In cases where elimination of plastic or conversion to earth-friendly materials seems too daunting, businesses can still make a difference by moving to an "available on request" policy for plastic straws and shopping bags.


Vancouverites already use their own bags when shopping, or bring a travel mug when buying coffee to go. Now, the chapter is asking Vancouverites to highlight local businesses who are leading this change with a #greenspotted campaign on Twitter and Instagram. "Our members want to promote and thank the business owners and managers who have already made the switch from plastics and styrofoam to environmentally friendly alternatives.” The campaign includes a shout out each week to business with the best submissions.


Surfrider Foundation is an international volunteer organization is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of waves, oceans and beaches.

Paradise Island

Local filmmaker's environmental documentary premieres, raises awareness as well as funds

True to her profession, Vancouver-born documentary filmmaker Kathleen Jayme naturally sees things from multiple angles.  So when she turned her eye to Boracay Island in the Philippines, she saw much more than a long-time vacation spot for her family and millions of others. She recognized the social and environmental issues faced by Boracay’s year-round inhabitants, and especially how those issues affect the island’s children.


“Every year I noticed the island getting more crowded and polluted, but it was only when I met these children that I began to question what we do when we’re on vacation. They were on the beach every morning and night making sand castles for money. And the instant I saw them, I wanted to know more. I knew I had to make a film about them.”


The then 23 year-old director found their story so compelling that she began preparations to share it with the rest of the world through her favourite medium.  Jayme, a Production Coordinator at the Vancouver office of the National Film Board of Canada, has been involved in writing, directing and producing a number of films, one of which won her a Leo award for Best Student Production in 2011.


After three years of work Jayme completed Paradise Island, her film about the children of Boracay, and the first documentary she wrote, directed, edited, and produced. In 2015 Paradise Island was featured in the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner, and the documentary has also been shown in Toronto, Florida, and at Yale University. On March 17 the film will have its Vancouver premier at the Vancouver International Film Festival at Vancity Theatre, an event that Jayme has anticipated for some time.


“I’m so excited to finally be able to show friends and family what I’ve been working on for the past three years, and to see its premier in my home city. The fact that this is a fundraiser for Surfrider Vancouver, an organization I care deeply about, makes this night extra special.”


Surfrider Foundation is an international organization is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches. Jayme serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for Surfrider’s Vancouver chapter. “It has been rewarding and fulfilling to work with a group of like minded, kind, and passionate individuals who love Vancouver, the oceans, and beaches as much as I do.“


Paradise Island premieres on Thursday, March 17 at 6:30pm, followed by a Q&A session with Jayme. The film is the first of two that night; the second is the documentary Sonic Sea, which examines marine noise pollution and its effect on aquatic life, and is also followed by a panel discussion. The double feature which has already sold out online (tickets still available at the door), will be shown at the Vancouver International Film Festival at Vancity Theatre. Half of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Surfrider Foundation Vancouver.


Kathleen “Kat” Jayme:


Surfrider Foundation Vancouver:;


Vancouver International Film Festival: