1 year of trash in a jar

Maui Vegan Restaurant

Being Zero waste isn’t necessarily fitting all of our trash for 1 year into a mason jar like you’ve probably seen on some facebook video of Lauren Singer who is one of the women at front of the Zero Waste movement. Especially in a restaurant where we are serving hundreds of people per day, that just isn’t feasible. But what is feasible is being conscious of waste created in all aspects of our lives especially when choosing what to buy and making decisions accordingly. 

As many of you know we don’t provide any single use anything to our customers. Your sandwich to-go is coming in a taro leaf wrapped in a banana husk from a fallen banana tree at my house that fell victim to the winds of hurricane Olivia a few weeks ago. If you want a straw you’ll receive a papaya stem. 

Not giving out any single use plastics etc is easy because we are 100% in control of what we give to our customers. What we receive has been a little bit tougher and although how we make our decisions of what to purchase is largely based on packaging, some things such as organic olive oil and organic coconut oil have been difficult to find plastic free. I have just found a mainland vendor to ship a palette of organic coconut oil in a 55 gallon drum, and organic olive oil and organic sesame oil in 5 gallon buckets. The 55 gallon drum, we can later turn into a table base and will save us a whopping 85 of those large plastic jugs of organic coconut oil from Costco! The 5 gallon buckets can be reused as compost buckets and each one will save over 9 of the 2L jugs from Costco! And we might turn that palette into another table :) Even though this hasn’t happened yet, we are still super excited to have found a sustainable solution to the plastics generated from the organic oils we buy. 

There are a couple exciting efforts that have recently happened in our zero waste mission that I want to give a special shoutout to! We have been purchasing locally made organic tortillas from Sandoval’s 808 Tortilla company since we opened. They typically seal the tortillas in plastic bags for their customers, BUT they have allowed us to bring in our own reusable bags to fill in lieu of single use plastic ones :))). Not only is it awesome that they are going out of their way to make that adjustment for us, they have been bringing organic flour back from the Costco in Portland to make these tortillas. We recently teamed up with Sandoval’s and kept calling the Hawaii buyer for Costco requesting the 20 lb bags of USDA certified organic flour and the first shipment is on its way to Kahului Costco so keep an eye out! 

I also want to give a shoutout to Local Harvest and Oko’a Farms. Local Harvest is a kick-ass company that picks up produce from home growers to full fledged farms on Maui and delivers local and organic produce to restaurants all over the island. They are rad for making local ingredients available to those who want them, by creating a network of those who grow them. Oko’a farms as a beautiful organic farm located in Kula that is very committed to growing diverse and sustainable crops, some of which have revolutionized our menu! #MauiGrownBrownies #yakin’ #yapples… That isn’t why I’m mentioning them however, I want to give a shoutout to both of them for REUSING BOXES!! Whenever they drop off produce to us, they also pick up the boxes we have saved from the last delivery. It would be easier for us to just throw the boxes into the dumpster like everyone else and rely on our suppliers to buy more boxes, made from trees grown on the mainland, cut down and trucked to a factory, then sent to Maui wrapped in plastic via some presumably indirect shipping route, but that isn’t how we roll!

So come enjoy some sustainably sourced food with confidence that we are doing everything we can to send as little to Maui’s landfills as possible!!