zero waste

I've still never tried Nitro... and why Starbucks is the worst

starbucks is worst.jpg

When we were preparing to open Moku Roots and were trying to nail down all of our recipes and ingredient sources, we were faced with some decisions to make regarding coffee.  I know nothing about coffee as I’m not really a coffee drinker, but luckily we had some friends in town who own a string of award winning coffee houses on the east coast called The Mudhouse who informed or maybe enchanted me with the idea of Nitro cold brewed coffee.  

So we set out on a Maui wide hunt for a place to buy kegs to sell at Moku.  We quickly stumbled on an article about a shop in Kihei having Nitro so we called…. and called…. and called…. and apparently they don't have a phone number that works.  Around this time, I’d heard Starbucks carries it and against my better judgement after numerous times of going to various mainland Starbucks with my own mug, watched the baristas measure my chai in a single use plastic cup, throw it away and pour it into my mug without even a glimmer of consciousness of why I brought the mug in the first place, I went to Starbucks in Lahaina just to try Nitro…  

…….Aaaaaaand Lahaina didn’t have it.   

Fast forward roughly a year to today.  Bill was grabbing some things at Target, I was sitting in the truck reading Freakanomics which we’d parked way the hell over by the entrance to Starbucks so the truck could be in the shade.  I notice the only advertisement on Starbucks’ storefront, a logo and the word “Nitro” prominently and exclusively on the door.  I wasn’t in the mood for coffee, but today seemed like my day, I had a 12 oz jar with me, albeit a somewhat dirty one, but a billion dollar corporation should certainly own a sponge right? 

I walk in to by far the weirdest energy I’ve ever experienced in a coffee shop in my life.  There is no one in line and probably 5 people sitting on laptops separated from the rest of the world by noise cancelling headphones and the ambiance is completely devoid of the typical hustle and bustle of a coffee shop or busy restaurant.  There are easily the same amount of employees doing various seemingly unimportant tasks.  One is replacing the half empty trash bag with yet another plastic trash bag, one is staring sort of blankly at the food display case, possibly trying to mind control the fly that’s made a home on the turkey melt away out of customer’s eyeshot, 2 are chatting in the back, and another is more or less standing waiting to make an order.  Approximately 30 seconds later, someone acknowledges that there is now a person who wants a beverage from them and I present my 12 oz mason jar to mind control fly guy, pay my $4.84 for a small, ohh pardon me, “tall”, Nitro coffee and instruct him that it needs to be washed in case he cant tell that it is visibly dirty.  He pours a little filtered water into it and dumps it into the sink, not really clean, but I don’t really care enough to say anything at this point, they still haven’t somehow managed to sacrifice a single use plastic cup on my behalf yet so I’m just trying to tread lightly.  

I mosey on over 5 feet to my left to the designated pick up area where the anxious-to-barista lady stays.  I feel a little awkward just standing there, but you just pull a tap right? No brewing required? But how would I know, I’ve never had it.  Then about a minute later, the lady who has been within 4 feet of me this whole time, says “we don’t have Nitro, I haven’t set up the keg in the machine yet.”  Even though, it’s literally the only product that this establishment claims to have to the outside world! 
So at this point, I’m laughing at myself for even thinking that I could ever have a satisfactory experience at Starbucks, I ask for a refund, and since its one of those days, it takes way too long because now they’re counting the drawer.  I wait for my $4.84 and walk out, now noticing that every single person who is on their computer who will probably occupy that same chair for at least 2 hours or about 20X the time it takes to quaff down a frappaccino not only has a single use coffee cup of some kind but also a single use plastic cup with a plastic lid and a plastic straw for water!!!
So I can just put this little gem of an experience into my “get some goddamn reusable dishes!” category, and yes, I’m talking to you Mr Schultz!     

7 steps to dining out sustainably

1.  Eat plants!

Locally grown fruits and vegetables take far less resources to produce than meat while simultaneously providing clean for us to breathe. Who doesn't want to support that? 

Top 13 Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Lahaina Maui

Moku Roots’ menu is about 95% vegan and 100% vegetarian - offering local eggs - and operates with the absolute highest integrity of purchasing ingredients with putting locally sourced, organically grown, and minimal packaging above price and convenience always. 

6.8 LBS

At this point, pretty much everyone knows how proud I am of how little trash we produce at Moku Roots.  I think it’s also notable that we haven’t bought trash bags since we opened on May 1st.  Some people bring us produce in bags and we just repurpose those as trash bags along with other miscellaneous bags that come into our lives such as my dogs 50 lb bag of food.  

Food Waste in America

Food Waste in America is not something I find myself thinking about nearly as much plastic waste in our oceans and landfills. Perhaps it’s because it’s something we intrinsically try to avoid at home as well as at Moku Roots, whereas avoiding plastics in today’s society is a little trickier.  Lost food equals lost profits of course, or in your home its your hard earned money spent on food and lost into your trash can. 

1 year of trash in a jar

1 year of trash in a jar

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. 

Whole Foods, we can do better.

Whole Foods, we can do better.

The obvious implication here is Whole Foods, YOU can do better, and I know that because I’m doing better and I’m not a fortune 500 company or fortune whatever company you’ve become since being acquired by Amazon. I’m sure there are plenty of things we all know Whole Foods could do better cough*lower prices*cough, but I’m not one to gripe about price.

I see a shift!

I have been wanting to write about the disconnect between health food and consciousness of packaging for a while, but after an interaction I had today and a conversation I had recently, I’m going to be more optimistic and acknowledge a shift that I see happening instead!

No more maple!!

The title may have lead you to believe I have some kind of a vendetta against maple, which I assure you, I do not. I have nothing at all against maple, it tastes great, and it brings up an unparalleled level of nostalgia when paired with pancakes and remembering the good ole days of your mom’s breakfast on a lazy Saturday morning.  However, I never intended to rely as heavily as we’ve become on maple syrup at Moku Roots for our vegan pancakes which we previously served with honey until it was brought to our attention that it was slightly misleading.  The pancakes are vegan and will continue to be, but will be served with our local organic honey from Maui Bees in Kula and as such will be labeled dairy and egg free instead of vegan.  

We just got rid of our trash cans!!

We just got rid of our trash cans!!

I feel confident in saying that we are probably one of the only restaurants in existence that was faced with the predicament of producing too little trash for our 2 “slim jim” trash cans. Every night during our one trash run of the day, we would try to combine our 2 small kitchen trash cans, our 2 bathroom trash cans and the one by the register and still feel terrible that we were throwing away a full size trash bag hardly 1/3 of the way full.