Greenwashing and Coconut bowls

Smoothie bowls, buddha bowls, cute insta layouts, aesthetically pleasing feeds, platters... Coconut bowls have been "in" for awhile, and that doesn't look like its about to change anytime soon.  This may be why some of the big guys have jumped on the bandwagon, and coconut bowls are now being sold in mass, in fast fashion/ decor department stores and supermarkets around NZ. Unfortunately this mass production and consumption is leading to the exploitation of this traditionally eco-friendly resource... through a thick green washed smoke. 

Coconuts are an insane natural resource, every part of the coconut can be used in some way, from the water, shell, husk and white meat. The coconut water and meat are used to create a variety of health products including creams, butters and oils. The husks are made of a fibre which is known as coir, and can be used for a whole range of products from husk chips to material used to make brushes and even clothing. Last but not least the shells are often polished down and used to make home decor, bowls and candles. The best part about all these products - if kept untreated/grown responsibly and in their natural form, they are biodegradable and can return back to the earth at the end of their life!

BUT... like with all natural resources and products, when greed comes to the table, mass production, harmful chemicals and factory labour also joins.

  1. Let's start with the yield, in order to produce the amount of coconuts required to make bowls in mass for large department and fast decor stores, more trees are needing to be planted and harvested... and faster. Resulting in the use of often harmful chemicals in the growth of coconut trees and over-worked farmers trying to keep up with the demand.
  2. Coconut to bowl, a coconut shell needs to be cut, polished and oiled before it becomes the beautiful bowl you display your smoothie in. This is not easy work and does take time - which should be reflected upon the price a coconut bowl costs to purchase. Recently I have seen that some stores are selling coconut bowls for as little as $2.00 each. Now businesses are not silly and will be making at least a 200% return on this... which means the original bowl will have been purchased by the supplier for $1 at the most - leaving next to nothing in wages for the worker who spent time making the bowl in the first place.  
  3. Ethics and the welfare of workers; as stated above the cheap and cheerful coconut bowls prices rising from the depths of the fast fashion world, are only reflective of the little value these companies place on those who created these items. When products are created in mass, sold cheaply in bulk and corporates are making millions - something has to give, and it's usually the safety, health and welfare of the workers who make the products. This is no different with coconut bowls and utensils. 

However, when you do shop around and purchase coconut products from small, sustainable and transparent businesses you are making a change! Coconuts Bowls are amazing in so many ways, and the purchase and use of them can be super positive for the creators and the environment... when done correctly!

  1. They are made from a re-cycled waste product. Coconuts shells are often left over after the milk, meat and husk have been taken away to be turned into an array of products. The shells were historically disposed off through being burnt off or sent to the landfill... however when turned into a bowl (using natural processes and oiling) - these can have a life of their own and then be home composted and used in your garden - returning to the earth.
  2. Lots of small businesses selling coconut bowls (including us) work with small artisans in countries like Vietnam and Bali where coconuts are grown widely and the sale of the shells as bowls, makes for a great income for many families (as well as creating much needed jobs). We at Husk and Honey are committed to paying ethical wages to our suppliers, and have built great relationships with our awesome artisans!
  3. Coconut Bowls create zero waste, from production, to use, all the way to disposal!
  4. They look cool, are super fun to eat out!

 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published