Lesson 1: No More Single-Use Plastic!
ChocoBanana’s owner, Tracie Willis, and her team of employees have been committed to protecting the environment for many years. Not only does ChocoBanana set the standard in Sayulita for minimizing their carbon footprint on our earth, but Tracie and her team also encourage other restaurants and individuals to follow her example.
ChocoBanana has a 5-gallon garrafón of drinking water set out on an easy-tipping stand, allowing customers to refill their reusable water bottle or drinking cup. This eliminates buying a plastic bottle of drinking water at the store!
Lesson #2: Carry a Reusable Drinking Bottle or Cup with You
Don’t have a reusable drinking container with you? Don’t worry, ChocoBanana sells them! Carry it with you and take it home as a souvenir. Please don't buy single-use plastic bottles of water—ChocoBanana has you covered. Tracie states that single-use plastic bottles are produced at the rate of one million per minute! She is teaching us to stop using single-use plastic to help save the planet.
Recycling is not the long-term answer to eliminating plastic in our landfills and ocean. We need to eliminate the use of single-use plastic containers.
Lesson #3: What?!! No To-Go Single-Use Coffee Cups
Bring your own coffee mug if you want to buy a cup of organic coffee to go and help save our planet. If you forget your mug, ChocoBanana sells reusable coffee thermoses and coffee mugs at cost. Or you can rent a coffee mug for a deposit of 70 pesos and return it for a refund when finished. The price of coffee to fill your cup is very inexpensive. They aren’t trying to make a profit on to-go coffee sales—they are teaching us to stop using single-use cups that become trash filling up our landfills.
Lesson #4: Vendors Deliver Food and Drinks Only in Reusable Containers to Minimize Trash
Fruit Deliveries Come in Reusable Containers
Coca-Cola is Delivered in Glass Bottles and Returned Empty
ChocoBanana insists that vendors deliver food and drinks in reusable containers. Even the ice cream for shakes is delivered by Helados Remy in plastic reusable tubs. This greatly reduces garbage going into the earth's landfill.
Lesson #5: No Plastic Bags or Straws (even “Biodegradable”!)
ChocoBanana has been advocating for the elimination of single-use plastic straws for years and has had a huge impact in Sayulita, influencing customers to refuse straws at other restaurants, thereby influencing the restaurants to stop offering straws. While biodegradable straws and bags are legal alternatives to plastic in Nayarit, Tracie says she does not use them at ChocoBanana because they can take years to decompose while they float around in the ocean or blow around in nature.
Here’s an article that helps us understand why many biodegradable bags float in the ocean without decomposing: How Long Do Biodegradable Bags Take To Decompose?. So, take your reusable bag to carry the food you purchase to go.
Amalia Explains Other Ways ChocoBanana Helps the Environment
I interviewed Amalia, one of ChocoBanana’s employees, and she explained several ways that they minimize trash and single-use plastic. She said they offer paper bags for muffins and cookies purchased to go, never Styrofoam or plastic. They also will lend a glass cake plate with a cover to a customer who purchases larger quantities of pastries. When the customer returns the cake plate, it can be washed and reused.
For to-go orders of food, they are packaged for the customer in biodegradable, environmentally safe containers made from corn, never Styrofoam. A low charge of 8 pesos (40 cents) is added to the cost of the food, a minimal contribution to saving our planet.
Amalia also explained that ChocoBanana purchases flour in 25-kilo bags rather than small packages which further minimizes the amount of trash produced. Minimizing trash production is one of ChocoBanana’s important goals--one that we can all learn from.
Lesson #7: No Organic Waste Goes into the Trash
Candelario, Part of the ChocoBanana Team
I spoke with Candelario, another ChocoBanana employee, while Tracie handled a phone call to keep her many projects going. He told me that organic food waste is taken to a local ranch where it is fed to pigs. Vegetable and fruit waste is taken to the community compost area in Tamarindo. Disposing of food scraps in these ways contributes to decreasing trash in the landfill.
Composting at home is an easy way to decrease the volume and stench of trash. Read more about home composting at REDUCING OUR TRASH--PLAN #1 FOR THE NEW YEAR: Composting at Home in Mexico
Lesson #8: Buy a Chocolate-Covered Frozen Banana to Help Fund a Green Sayulita!
Tracie Willis and Her Original ChocoBanana Cooler from 1991
ChocoBananas, those yummy chocolate-covered frozen bananas, was Tracie Willis’ first product, created in 1991 and sold on the beach from her insulated cooler. Even back then, Tracie taught others not to throw trash on the beach—“Don’t Throw Trash on the Beach” was stenciled in Spanish on the reverse side of her cooler.
Now 100% of the sales of these chocolate-covered bananas go to the Ser Su Voz charity to help the environment. Tracie leads Ser Su Voz to promote responsible environmental practices in and around Sayulita, including helping the recycling program by donating a truck to the Centro de Reciclajede Sayulita, contributing funds and work to place eight large trash bins and two street-cleaning carts in Sayulita, a huge step to help keep garbage from washing and blowing into the ocean, planting and watering trees in Sayulita, and promoting land development with compassion, especially to protect our beach, ocean, and river.
Tracie Promoting Development with Compassion
To learn more about ChocoBanana Restaurant and Ser Su Voz Sayulita, stop in for breakfast, served all day, and talk to Tracie and her associates. You can't miss the restaurant in centro across from the corner of the plaza. Don’t forget to buy a chocolate-covered banana to help fund a green Sayulita!
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