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The Zero Waste Adventure

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

How do we reduce waste? Let us count the ways!

Since the beginning, caring for the local community and environment have been core values that have guided the evolution of Choice Health Bar. Constantly evaluating environmental impact, seeking alternatives to reduce waste and connecting with the eco conscious community, zero waste practices are an integral part of the Choice mission. Attracting like-minded staff, customers and community through these values has allowed for important conversation and collaboration in support of the plant-based localvore diet that in turn fuels local agriculture. We live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which comes with unique environmental challenges. What we see is all the opportunity to encourage a self-sustaining economy and our kuleana (responsibility) to protect what we love.

Our açaí journey

In pursuit of the least wasteful, best açaí bowl on Maui, Choice founders Emily & Kat pushed for less packaging on bulk orders of açaí for years. We are pleased to share that individual superfood packages are now a thing of the past as our açaí now arrives in the form of frozen cubes. Our managers even reuse the large bag that holds the cubes….because we care A LOT about this planet we all call home. Now if we could just figure out how to grow açaí on Maui!

Bottle return program

The cost of our fresh, cold pressed juice includes a bottle deposit. Customers are asked to rinse and return the bottle for a $1 Choice token, which is redeemable for anything on the menu. These bottles are then sanitized and reused for future juice. Truly a zero waste operation, we are now working on an upcycling solution for the bottle caps.

Local wherever possible

Not only does sourcing produce from local farms allow for the freshest, organic ingredients to be served to our customers but it also reduces our environmental footprint. With less transport from the farm to the table, we are reducing the fossil fuels required to fuel our customers with healthy meals. We also love supporting Maui farmers, knowing them by name and having personable interactions with our suppliers.

Repurposing local produce to make more local produce

As a plant-based operation, we make a lot of compost. All of the juice pulp and organic bi product of our menu preparation is separated and donated to local farmers. Choice Health Bar in Lahaina feeds Simpli Fresh Farm and helps farmer Kimo to rebuild Lahaina community farms, west side neighborhoods, private nurseries and kuleana lands. The compost from our Paia location is sent to a family farm and coconut cooking school in Haiku, where it feeds a happy flock of chickens and fuels a really epic home garden.

Environmental advocacy

As enthusiasts of sustainability in our community, we feel empowered to lend our voice in the pursuit of better industry practices. This is why we will always stand up for our environmental principles and push for improved industrial standards including bans on harmful packaging. Choice Health Bar was a major advocate for the ban on polystyrene foam which was put into effect by Maui County on December 31, 2018. We were also the first Ocean Friendly Restaurant on Maui, certified by Surfrider Foundation.

Pioneers of industrial composting

Choice is extremely proud to be the first restaurant on Maui to work with West Maui Green Cycle to compost PLA to-go containers. Choice will be separating PLA containers through our new Malama Pono waste station in Lahaina. Those items will be transported to West Maui Green Cycle where they will be mixed with organic compost to effectively break down into soil that can be recycled to grow more local produce. What a beautiful system!

Malama Pono waste station

Our new ‘Malama Pono’ waste separation station in Lahaina allows for collection and separation of recyclables, PLA compostable containers, rubbish and compost so we can recycle as much as possible and further reduce our impact on the environment. The station itself was constructed using reclaimed pallet wood from supply deliveries.

Supporting like-minded efforts

We make it a priority to source local ingredients and to support local businesses wherever possible. At our Lahaina and Paia locations, as well as through our online store, you’ll find a selection of reusable alternatives, health focused and eco conscious retail items. We are a proud participant in the Hui Zero reusable takeout container program and are always open to working with new businesses or organizations that aim to reduce waste. Please contact us with any suggestions!

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