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Einstein Bros. Bagels in San Diego International Airport becomes first “Ocean Friendly Restaurant” in an airport

Monday, September 30, 2019

SAN DIEGO – September 30, 2019 – San Diego International Airport (SAN) is the first airport in the nation to offer an “ocean-friendly” dining option certified by Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurant program.

Einstein Bros. Bagels in Terminal 2 West, operated by Mission Yogurt, Inc., became the first official Ocean Friendly Restaurant at an airport, and joined a wave of eateries publicly pledging to both reduce their waste and boost environmental awareness about the alarming rise of garbage cluttering Earth’s waterways.

The Einstein Bros. Bagel location joined an international campaign by the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation to promote ecologically responsible business practices.  Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurant lead, Vicki Conlon, explains the campaign is part of the organization’s efforts to combat what scientists estimate at over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic alone polluting oceans and threatening aquatic life.

The Einstein Bros. Bagels Ocean Friendly Restaurant location operates 18 hours daily to serve the more than 24 million passengers per year coming through SAN.  The restaurant offers a variety of fresh bagels along with other dining options and features coffee and tea options.  Its efforts to promote ocean-friendly environmental practices include:

  • Providing reusable foodware for onsite dining
  • Proper recycling practices
  • Only paper straws provided (upon request only)
  • No polystyrene (Styrofoam)
  • No plastic bags for take-away orders

More environmentally sustainable practices are encouraged for participating Ocean Friendly Restaurants, which number over 115 in San Diego County, and in the hundreds across 26 states nationwide plus Canada and Washington, D.C.

“To us, we see this as another step in doing the right thing by both our customers and our planet,” said Rob Ziemer, general manager of Mission Yogurt, which operates both Einstein Bros. Bagel restaurants at SAN.  “When the Airport Authority and Surfrider Foundation approached us with the suggestion, it just flowed naturally to follow on our efforts as one of the first Green Concessionaires at SAN.”

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which operates SAN, manages award-winning sustainability programs.  Among them is its SAN Green Concessions program, which promotes waste reduction and diversion, energy and water savings, and environmentally sound business practices among concessionaires, with green concessions now at 72% participation.

“This is a tremendous example of our concession partners leading by example, showcasing the extent and efforts being made at SAN to collaborate in the name of sustainability,” said Kimberly Becker, Airport Authority President/CEO.  “We look forward to this being the tip of the iceberg, with more concession partners seeking certification as we all work toward making our airport and region a better place for future generations.”

Joining the campaign, which requires fees to Surfrider Foundation based on restaurant size, allows member eateries and taverns to feature signs on their websites and restaurants advertising the advocacy for ocean-friendly practices.

Surfrider’s Conlon is thrilled by San Diego International Airport’s participation in the program.  As she notes, with the potential access to millions of passengers and more than 9,000 Airport employees, they have the ability to carry their message of being ocean-friendly around the world.


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