by Nasaria Budal
photo Courtesy of Bread & Chocolate
Businesses across the Cayman Islands are actively recycling to reduce their environmental footprint. This is becoming more evident in the kitchens of several restaurants and food service providers that are choosing to replace conventional packaging containers with biodegradable alternatives, reuse food in ways that reduce waste and even repurpose discarded items.
Reusing and Repurposing
The eco-conscious restaurants at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort — Island Naturals, Bread & Chocolate and Anchor & Den — are reducing their waste by using food that is often thrown out. Broccoli and mushroom stems and bits of inedible onions and carrots that are usually discarded are used to make tasty soup stocks. According to Bread & Chocolate owner, Agata Kalicki, the restaurant also utilises the pulp from juicing as a sweet or savoury addition to its baked goods. In addition, any food that isn’t used in the kitchen, as well as uneaten table scraps, are fed to a pet pig at her son’s day care centre, Little Trotters.
The Cayman Islands Brewery regularly supplys local farmers with its used grains from brewing to feed livestock. They have also switched to Hi-Cone plastic ring carriers, a product that breaks down into mere fragments when exposed to the sun’s rays. The brewery is also utilising its used brewing water for irrigation and washing company vehicles.
Both The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort are recycling used cooking oil for diesel biofuel, which would otherwise carry a hefty fee to have safely removed and disposed. At Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd., the developers behind Camana Bay, ground coffee beans are never thrown out. Instead, they are saved for employees Carrie Lyn Bodden and Jim Verano, who scatter the grounds in their home gardens as fertiliser and ant deterrent.
One Man’s Trash
Farmers, restaurateurs and business executives are also salvaging non-food items that are frequently discarded. Both Bread & Chocolate and Island Naturals are returning empty bottles of kombucha, a nutrition-packed tea that’s growing in popularity across the health-conscious community, back to their vendor where it’s refilled and returned to the restaurants. The Cayman Islands Brewery also offers CI$2 per case of returned bottles.
Much of Bread & Chocolate’s interior décor is constructed from reclaimed items, like their statement wall of stacked wooden wine boxes brimming with quirky knick-knacks and books supporting the vegan lifestyle.
And on local farmer Joel Walton’s plantation, the old adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” comes to life when metal drums, old water pipes, tin cans and plastic cartons all act as plant pots for his vegetables and herbs.