BY JAKE MCKEON
FOUNDER OF COCONUT BOWLS
Have you ever asked yourself, why hasn’t anyone thought of this?
While in Bali in 2015, I asked myself this exact question upon stumbling across coconut shell handicrafts at a local market. I discovered that local craftspeople were carving and painting coconut shells, and selling them to tourists as souvenirs.
I questioned whether these beautiful shells could be used to eat food from, and wondered where I could source them. The thought of what happened to coconut shells after the flesh has been taken out had never entered my mind until then.
Through research, I discovered that billions of these shells were going to waste every year. As a bi-product of the thriving coconut industry, coconut shells have traditionally been burned or discarded as landfill. I thought it was interesting that these shells – shaped almost perfectly to be used as a bowl – were considered waste.
A local craftsman taught me that coconut shells have been used as bowls in his, and many other villages for hundreds of years. I had never seen this at home in Australia and thought that maybe people would like them.
I asked my new friend if he could make some for me and then packed as many as I could into my luggage and returned to Australia. The thought of quarantine and customs hadn’t entered my mind until I was stopped with a surfboard cover and suitcase full of these weird, yet wonderful looking bowls. Fortunately, because the husk had been sanded off and they were sealed (originally with beeswax, now with organic coconut oil made from their flesh), they passed through without issue. After a couple of posts on Instagram, people from all over the world began asking if they could buy them.
After selling our first bowl in January 2016, we now reclaim over 10,000 discarded coconut shells every month. We purchase them from coconut farmers who had previously spent precious money and resources on the waste process. We take the coconut shells to one of our ethical workshops in Vietnam and Indonesia, where we employ local craftspeople at well above fair trade standards. Our team cuts, sands and polishes these coconut shells into beautiful coconut bowls that are food safe, reusable and can last a lifetime. We think they’re the perfect eco-friendly addition to any kitchen.
Every coconut bowl is unique, with its own shape, size, marking and imperfections. They’re one in a billion, just like you. This means that nobody else in the world will have a coconut bowl just like yours. Now that's pretty cool, isn’t it?