08 Dec Bohemian Bowls: Repurposed with Purpose
Mother Nature creates so much beauty to behold. There was once a time when we relied solely upon her to create the products we require and desire. As we’ve advanced as a species, so have the tools we use…or have they? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 60% of the products we create, and thus, waste, are made from non-natural, manmade products. Meaning, these products are not biodegradable and must either be recycled or disposed of in the landfill. The resolution: return to our roots and use the tools our Mother has provided for us, like coconuts, for example.
Coconuts and coconut-based products have grown in popularity, recognized for their health benefits and affordability. Coconut oil, coconut water and coconut body products are making their way onto the shelf and into your home, but all result in the wasted discards of the coconut shell. These shells can be biodegraded, but Bohemian Bowls Founder Somerset Ruiz-Penuela saw another use for them: one-of-a-kind coconut bowls for everyday use.
Having purchased coconut bowls from other companies, Somerset and her husband were continuously dissatisfied with the products they received, and knew they could create a better bowl. So, they began researching coconut farmers, suppliers and artists, and soon became connected with a group of farmers in Vietnam. The farm primarily grows and harvests coconuts for their meat and milk, often leaving the discarded shells to biodegrade. However, since developing a relationship with Somerset and her artist, they now reserve higher-quality shells for Bohemian Bowls.
“My artist does the sourcing for us because she has to be able to make sure they’re thick enough to handle the blade for the design. So, she actually goes and handpicks the coconuts. Out of 1,000, maybe 300 will qualify to become a Bohemian Bowl. If it’s not thick enough, hopefully it gets repurposed somehow, some other way.”
The bowls are all created without producing waste, simply splitting the shell in half to create two unique bowls. The artist then sands the edges for smoothness and intricately hand-carves the design. Each bowl is assured to last, as long as they’re well cared for, some having endured twenty years of use and still holding integrity.
Bohemian Bowls also creates natural, reusable cutlery from sustainably-sourced bamboo from China, using biodegradable materials, down to the straw cleaner.
“It’s all about avoiding single use, and instead, repurposing and upcycling,” said Somerset. “Right now we’re just working on providing affordable replacements for single-use plastic, making something affordable, available and a no-brainer. It’s something you purchase that you’re happy with and you’re going to use it.”
Although Bohemian Bowls are not yet considered fair trade, Somerset and her artist have begun the process in ensuring their products will one day hold this title. But, from production to packaging, Bohemian Bowls always prioritizes sustainability.
“As far as our packaging goes, we try to reuse materials. We also prefer to package our items ourselves to avoid anybody filling them with plastic or items that usually would be thrown away. We use everything here. Anything that we have around the office that can be used as void fill, we use before we would ever touch plastic,” ensured Somerset.
Ultimately, the Ruiz-Penuela family strives to create a superior, sustainable product that you’re proud to purchase and that makes a positive impact.
“Other than being eco-friendly, the bowls are absolutely beautiful. They make a great addition to any room, any home, any business. They make eating fun, they make you feel good about the bowl you’re using and they make you feel like it’s good for the environment. It’s an all-around good feeling, and, in the process, you’re helping to prevent waste,” said Somerset.
Somerset and her family encourage all consumers to consider the products they purchase, using their dollar to make a difference, because ultimately, we have the power as consumers to incite change.
“Everybody got used to bringing your own bag, and now they’re getting used to bringing their own straws. If we stop selling plastic bottles, then people have to adjust. People have to make a choice. We’re in this together! We’ve got to do it!” encourages Somerset.