Businesses opt for compostable alternatives

  • Contributed

    Koa Kimmerle, son of owner of Anatta’s Thai Street Food holds up a yummy dish of Pad Thai Shrimp in the paper trays they switched to.

  • Contributed

    Domonique Chambers, showing off Holey Grail Donuts’ 100 % compostable donut box.

LIHU‘E — From Hanalei to Lihu‘e, restaurant owners are making the switch from styrofoam to paper carryout containers before it becomes law.

Although the county council has not finalized Bill 2775 that would restrict the use and sale of polystyrene foam food-service containers, many restaurant owners on Kaua‘i have already transformed how they serve their dishes to the public.

Hana Dreiling, the co-founder of Holey Grail Donuts of Hanalei, opened her business with her brother with compostable packaging in mind.

“Our donuts have always been served in to-go boxes, however, it was our goal since starting the business in 2018 to create the world’s first 100% compostable donut packaging in order to create a more sustainable donut that was better for us and better for the planet,” said Dreiling.

Dreiling said her food truck launched the compostable donut boxes and wax sheets last month and have gotten a great response from guests.

“Our donut packaging is now full circle,” said Dreiling. “We couldn’t have done it without the loving encouragement and support from our community. … As business owners and consumers we need to work together to make decisions that protect and celebrate the place we live.”

Dreiling said her guests fully supports compostable and biodegradable packaging and consider it a huge bonus when buying her products.

Anatta Komers, owner of Anatta’s Thai Street Food in front of Ace Hardware in Lihu‘e and in front of Noka Beach in Kapa‘a, said its business as usual since the bill would not be a problem for her food truck.

“The same as before COVID-19, it did slow down but now the local traffic picked up,” said Komers. “That’s all we use, paper trays, we switched over two years ago.”

Komers said she sees on average 100 to 150 people a day and most of them have been very supportive of the switch from styrofoam to paper trays.

“We still got plastic straws and we will make the switch to paper straws soon,” said Komers. “It’s better for the environment.”

Councilmember Luke Evslin is one of the county leaders in support of banning these styrofoam containers.

I think the need to make the transition is as great as ever,” Evslin said. “And the majority of restaurants on Kaua’i have already made the transition to compostable.”

Evslin said as much as it is important to make the switch, it’s also important to be sensitive to the unprecedented difficulties that restaurants are going through right now.

“My hope is that if the bill passes, the remaining restaurants that can afford to transition will make the transition before the January 2022 implementation deadline.”

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Stephanie Shinno, community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

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