Being green isn’t just part of Lanakila Kitchen branding – it’s one of our longstanding objectives. In the past, we’ve made the switch to biodegradable containers and utensils, as well as reusing cardboard boxes to minimize plastic bag usage. But our newest step is a bit greener – literally.

A pilot program for Zero Waste Oahu, Lanakila Kitchen began using reusable plastic containers at the cafeteria. For employees and regulars, the green clamshell containers are an easy way to cut down waste, while providing something studier than the thinner compostable vessels.

“It synced well with our overall goal of going greener,” says Reid Yasunaga, Lanakila Kitchen’s Director of Food Service. “We have to look at every aspect to make the impact where we can.”

This project with Lanakila Kitchen was a trial run for the reusable container program that has unfolded for North Shore restaurant takeout orders. Through Full Cycle Takeout, customers can choose to have their to-go order packed in reusable containers that they then bring back later to be cleaned. Participating restaurants currently include The Cosmic Kitchen, Haleiwa Joes, Rajanee Thai, and Cholo’s.  

It’s more important now than ever to follow green practices like these, Reid notes.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Reid says. “Especially in Hawaii, we live in paradise with limited resources and no government program that would allow us to recycle these materials. Whatever we do has to be collected, packed and shipped to the nearest facility that can make these things recyclable. Especially with the volume we go through – it’s not a particularly small amount. We have to do our part.”

Lanakila Kitchen has also gotten rid of using Styrofoam in the past years, getting us a year ahead of schedule in our plans to become a greener group. We believe we can do more than build independence for individuals – we have the chance to build a future independent from environmentally-detrimental practices. It all starts with something small, like a reusable green to-go container.


A social enterprise of Lanakila Pacific, Lanakila Kitchen provides job opportunities for individuals with disabilities and cooks up delicious meals and treats for catering, retailers, and Lanakila Meals on Wheels seniors. With help from our supporters, dozens have received job training and meaningful employment opportunities.

If you are interested in donating to support social enterprises like Lanakila Kitchen, click here.