Seaweed-fed goats, lighter wine bottles, and solar panels are among the many reasons this iconic restaurant has become carbon neutral.
by Regan Stephens - Published 3/8/23
When Peter Merriman opened his eponymous restaurant on Hawai'i’s Big Island in 1988, the chef was an early champion for working with local farmers and fishermen. Thirty-five years later, and with the help of solar panels, lighter wine bottles, and a new seaweed diet for goats, Merriman’s Waimea just became the state’s first carbon neutral restaurant.
“The restaurant business is a reflection of society, and [sustainability] is important for our industry, not just in Hawai'i, but all over,” says Merriman. “We can at least do our part.”
Merriman’s Waimea is going carbon neutral! We are proud to do our part for the planet and commit to being a carbon neutral restaurant. In partnership with GreenPlaces, we’ve completed our first carbon assessment to understand our emissions, offset those emissions by investing in verified environmental projects around the globe that reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Now we’re focused on our plan to reduce our footprint where we can. These exciting initiatives include expanding our solar capacity, switching to all electric kitchen equipment, exploring new sustainable alternatives to glass wine and spirit bottles, and investing in carbon-friendly, locally made, goat cheese!
In this podcast Peter talks about what the past 2 years have been like, the correlation between staffing challenges and affordable housing on Maui, navigating through the workforce shortage in general, industry changes created by the pandemic that will stick around, what went into the decision to switch to a prix-fixe menu at Merriman’s Kapalua, the challenge the industry is facing with increased costs, how he will be the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Aipono Awards on August 20th, recounting what it was like to get local products for a restaurant back in the mid-80’s compared to what it’s like today, his passion for conservation and sustainability in Hawaii, his goal to transform one of his restaurants into a carbon neutral business (and what that will entail), and his goals in general for Merriman’s and Monkeypod here on Maui over the next 6-12 months.