More than 92 countries around the world produce coconuts for the products we use every day. From lotions and soaps to oils and water–coconuts are a vital part of our lives. Unfortunately, this versatile fruit is often used for the meat it contains, while the shells are discarded and burned.
While coconut husks (the “hairy” outside of the shell) make a good substitute for charcoal and are often used as fuel, the smoke from the burning shells leads to an increase in methane and CO2 emissions and pollutes the air.
99% of the world’s coconut shells are thrown out and burned each year. It’s a tragic waste of natural resources and of a sustainable material that lends beauty and practicality to any table.
Coconut shell bowls are a simple way to not only prevent the waste of a useful resource but also prevent harmful gases from being released into the air from burning husks and shells. Beyond the benefits to the planet, however, coconut bowls and other kitchenware are having a dramatic impact on local economies.
The social impact of coconut bowls and utensils
In the past, many Vietnamese farmers cut down their coconut trees when coconut prices went down, and they believed they could plant something more lucrative in their place. Society is starting to embrace coconut bowls as an environmentally friendly replacement for traditional utensils. As a result, waste is slowly starting to decline, and the Vietnamese economy is beginning to benefit from this previously-untapped resource.
Vietnamese families like the Bao family of the Phu Yen province see the potential in discarded coconut shells and are using them to provide hundreds of jobs for local residents at a fair salary and desirable working conditions. Each year, Mr Bao’s company exports over three million up-cycled coconut products to countries around the world.
Ben Tre is known as the “Coconut Capital” of Vietnam. Our coconut shell bowls, spoons and forks come directly from Ben Tre, which has some of the world’s best soil for growing palm trees. These trees are a critical component of the Vietnamese economy and culture. Farming, harvesting, and up-cycling coconut shells is an honoured trade in Vietnam and one that provides income and security to thousands of people in the community.
A fair trade partnership for global sustainability
The shells for each coconut bowl are purchased from companies that specialize in harvesting and selling the water and flesh of the fruit. After only the husk and shell are left, a craftsman removes the husk, sanding the remaining shell carefully, and oiling it to a smooth finish. Each bowl is different, with natural markings and imperfections that tell the story of its journey from a far away palm tree to your table.
We support fair trade with the companies from whom we purchase our coconut shells, and we also hire skilled craftsman from the local communities where the coconuts are grown. Each coconut bowl represents a contribution to sustainability– both for the planet and for the countries that inhabit it.
We are all caretakers for the environment. It has given us a multitude of resources to enjoy (and to use responsibly). By harvesting the entire coconut and turning each unique shell into beautiful, functional work of art, we save the air from the pollution of burning shells, and we support our fellow man.
Each meal enjoyed in a natural coconut bowl is a reminder of our remarkable planet and our individual responsibility to treat it with care.
If you care about reducing pollution in the atmosphere and helping farmers in Vietnam, you can contribute by eating you meals out of coconut bowls. Get your bowls here.