July 14, 2020
Meet Jake McKeon – Coconut Bowls
To celebrate Plastic Free July we came together with some of the most inspiring businesses in our community to share experiences and insights from each of our sustainability journeys.
Jake, founder and CEO of Coconut Bowls,
is definitely leading the way when it comes to sustainable thinking. Not only concerned with the careful sourcing of materials, great design, high-quality craftsmanship, innovation, upcycling, repurposing and minimising the environmental footprint of Coconut Bowls, Jake has founded Plantd
too - a thriving community with shared values centered on health, wellness and sustainability.
Find out what this all-time legend had to say when we got together at our community event last week...
A 6-MONTH SURF TRIP AROUND THE GLOBE, WITNESSING THE ENORMITY OF OUR GLOBAL PLASTIC POLLUTION PROBLEM SERVED AS THE CATALYST FOR CREATING COCONUT BOWLS. DO YOU RECALL THE TIPPING POINT FROM WHICH YOUR BIG IDEA WAS BORN?
The final stop of my trip was Bali, and I simply stumbled across the Coconut shell handicrafts at a local market, which initially inspired Coconut Bowls. What started as very much a hobby and fun business that would take me back and forth to Bali, quickly became a far bigger mission when I began traveling to more remote parts of Indonesia and witnessing the enormous plastic pollution problem.
If there was a single tipping point, it would have been when I was in the Mentawais off North Sumatra, where I surfed in crystal clear waters, off white pristine beaches - yet just over the banks of the shoreline on these uninhabited islands, laid rows and rows of plastic rubbish from higher tides.
YOUR FIRST 100 COCONUT BOWLS WERE HANDCRAFT IN BALI. AS YOUR BUSINESS GREW, PRODUCTION MOVED TO THE COCONUT KINGDOM ON THE SHORES OF THE MEKONG RIVER IN VIETNAM; TELL US ABOUT YOUR SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAM AND THE IMPACT THAT IT’S HAD WITHIN THE COMMUNITY.
In the region of Vietnam where we work, most of the local community relies on coconuts as their only source of income. Traditionally mature coconuts have only one harvest a year, where the white coconut meat is extracted from the coconut then sold off to processing companies. Fortunately, we’ve been able to add additional sources of income for these communities, through purchasing their coconut shell waste and providing important work for local artisans.
Being socially sustainable means we need to provide long term employment solutions for the communities we work with, and being resourceful with natural materials helps us achieve this, through constantly innovating with coconut shells, waste wood, and bamboo to create handcrafted products that help replace both machine manufactured products and single-use plastics.
COCONUT BOWLS IS MORE THAN JUST A BRAND – YOU’RE A MOVEMENT FOR GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY. AS A BRAND, AND AS INDIVIDUALS, WE ALL FACE DIFFERENT CHALLENGES AT EACH STAGE OF OUR SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEYS; TELL US ABOUT ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’RE TACKLING RIGHT NOW.
At the moment our biggest challenge is in packaging and shipping, particularly eliminating plastic tape from shipping. All of our products are packaged in recyclable tissue paper and water-soluble tape and stickers however, we engage warehouses in the USA, UK, and Australia to ship our products to customers. These warehouses work off efficiency and traditionally use plastic tape to secure shipping boxes. As a brand invested in sustainable education, we’re working with these warehouses to overhaul their packaging systems to eliminate plastic.
Personally, the biggest challenge for me is always during my grocery shopping. I strive to always buy loose fruit and veg from local markets, and bulk foods, but every week I find my garbage bins somewhat full. I am currently making a conscious effort to reuse before recycling and to continually minimise my household waste. It’s tough but it starts by being conscious.
IT'S CONSIDERED THAT OUR PLANET COULD TRANSFORM IF PEOPLE ADOPTED A PLANT-BASED DIET; WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS?
Personally, I agree that if people adopted a plant-based diet, our planet would be a healthier place. However, I also believe that our planet can be a far healthier place if we shift our livestock farming behavior, and this begins with consumers becoming conscious of where their animal products come from and no longer accepting unethical and unsustainable farming practices.
Part of our mission at Coconut Bowls has always been to inspire people to eat more plants. I believe we’re going to be far more successful in transitioning people’s diets if we encourage and educate on how to enjoy more meatless meals, than if we demand people to exclude animal products altogether.
OUTSIDE OF COCONUT BOWLS IS A MEDIA PLATFORM CALLED PLANTD; WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO CONNECT AND GROW THIS COMMUNITY?
Prior to creating Plantd, we felt that many sustainability-focused media platforms were focusing on all the damage happening to our planet, without really inspiring or educating on how the average person can change their behaviour to have a positive impact. Change in behaviour begins with education, so we’re striving to give people knowledge on how they can make positive changes themselves, and encouraging them to feel as if every positive sustainable action makes a difference because it does.
THROUGHOUT THE @COCONUTBOWLS
INSTAGRAM FEED, WE SEE SOME AMAZING DISHES SERVED IN YOUR COCONUT BOWLS. CAN YOU GIVE US THE RECIPE FOR THE LAST MEAL YOU SERVED IN YOUR COCONUT BOWL?
Cacao nicecream. It’s better than ice cream, and can be made with just 3 ingredients.
My typical recipe for 2 servings is:
3 frozen bananas
3 teaspoons of raw cacao
a splash of almond milk (less is more)
blended until smooth and served in Coconut Bowls.
You can sweeten it up with a tsp of rice malt or maple syrup, or a couple of drops of vanilla essence.
Or add a little crunch by mixing in at the end some cacao nibs, coconut flakes or buckinis.
WE LOVE THAT YOU’RE LIVING AND OPERATING IN A WAY THAT HAS THE LEAST ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON THE PLANET, WITH A FOCUS ON STAYING HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND WELL. WHAT ARE THE TOP 5 TUNES THAT YOU HAVE ON REPEAT TO ELEVATE YOUR ENERGY AND GET YOU ON THE HIGHEST VIBRATION POSSIBLE?
5 Tunes!!! That’s way too hard, here’s 5 artists I have on repeat.
Sylvan Esso, Jack Botts, San Cisco, The Dreggs and DMAs
Stay inspired by following Coconut Bowls on Instagram @coconutbowls
or join the Plantd community online at plantd.co