Most of our initiatives touch on the theme of reducing waste and for good reason – Hawaii produces more waste per person than any other state, largely a result of all the packaging required to ship things to the islands. By utilizing the programs mentioned below, we have reduced our waste considerably. We have produced tangible results and aim to serve as an example and resource for other Big Island businesses looking to lighten their footprint.
Reusing Containers & Bags:
Starting on Earth Day in 2008, Island Naturals became plastic grocery bag-free! We do not offer plastic grocery bags. So how do customers get their groceries out the door? Boxes of various sizes are generally readily available at the registers, so groceries leave the store just as they came. Or, bring your own reusable grocery bag and receive a 10¢ credit – the highest offered in the state! We also offer a Container Credit of 10¢ when you bring your own jar or other container for bulk groceries (instead of all those pesky plastic bags). Just remember to have a cashier weigh it for you before using it, so we can subtract the container weight at the time of purchase. Please help us reduce waste by bringing your bag and container, and watch the credits quickly add up!
Recycling has become second nature for us; anywhere you see a trash can, you will also see a recycle bin. The cashiers recycle all unwanted receipts, our offices recycle paper, our kitchens recycle empty cans, jars, and bottles, and our customers recycle empty containers and HI-5¢s (beverage containers) at our dining areas. This program has reduced our waste significantly.
We proudly use biodegradable corn-based containers to package our freshly made deli and bakery food. Furthermore, the paper plates and utensils you’ll find at our salad bar and hot buffet are made from plant starch and sugar cane bagasse, and are also compostable.
We proudly feature and promote a wide range of local products at all of our locations, ranging from massage oils to exotic fruits to fresh fish. In order to support our local farmers, other local vendors, and economy as a whole and we promote and price our local products as attractively as possible. Stop by any location today to browse our extensive local selections!
We believe in using green power to the extent possible, and using energy efficiently. Our Pahoa store has solar panels which generate clean energy to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Our new Hilo location uses a computerized rack system for refrigeration and freezers, where the compressors power on and off optimally. We also have a co-generation system which utilizes the waste heat generated to heat water.
A lot of food scraps come out of the in-house kitchen at each Island Naturals, which if tossed into a landfill, would turn into methane, a greenhouse gas. Fortunately, all of our food scraps are instead set aside to be collected for use as slop or compost material for local farmers.
Keeping it Green Awards:
Island Naturals Pahoa was rewarded the Recycle Hawaii Keeping it Green award in 2008, and Island Naturals Hilo and Kailua-Kona were awarded the same honor in 2010. These awards recognize the effort we’ve made in reducing and recycling waste, using sustainable energy, and encouraging the reuse of items often thought of as disposable.
Independently Owned Companies:
We proudly support independently owned companies that are committed to natural and organic foods. Fortunately, many locally owned Hawaii companies are also independent.