Five restaurants in Coral Bay have joined forces with the Coral Bay Community Council to demonstrate that there are practical alternatives to single-use plastic and Styrofoam.

Today, Indigo Grill, Aqua Bistro, The Thirsty Donkey, Shipwreck, and Pizzabar-in-Paradise — all restaurants in Coral Bay — are going “plastic free,” using only reusable/washable items or compostable single-use items, like takeout boxes, plates and eating utensils and cups.

Dr. Dave Minner, the Earth Program leader at Gifft Hill School, will take the compostable restaurant waste and turn it into compost to use in the school’s Earth Program gardens: essentially taking restaurant waste and growing fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Compostable Day campaign is part of the Coral Bay Community Council’s solid waste reduction outreach efforts, which include the “Compost It” ad campaign in The Daily News and on local Facebook pages.

“Single-use plastic is an enormous problem in the V.I. and constitutes a large percentage of restaurant waste, and we want to show the possibilities of using a different material, one that is compostable and has the ability of being turned from waste to food,” said Scott Eanes, CBCC’s Environmental Programs associate and organizer of the Compostable Day campaign.

“The great news is that as a whole, the Coral Bay restaurant community is ahead of the curve in terms of waste. Indigo Grill reuses almost everything, The Thirsty Donkey uses only compostable materials and no plastic straws, Shipwreck’s only plastic is straws and they compost all their food waste, and Pizzabar-in-Paradise uses paper plates and no straws whatsoever, so we aren’t that far off from our goals. The restaurant community of Coral Bay wants to keep their community clean. The change is happening,” said Eanes in a news release.

The goal of the Compostable Day campaign is to spur other restaurants to change their inventory to more island environmentally friendly material. All the materials used in the campaign were purchased from and are available to restaurants through Caribbean Food Packaging on St. Thomas. Other vendors also have similar choices, if business owners ask.

“The more restaurants want environmentally friendly materials, from paper straws to compostable cups, the more the suppliers will order them, and the more they are ordered, the more the price for these items will drop. It’s simple supply and demand, and soon, no more single-use plastics in the Virgin Islands, and wouldn’t that be beautiful?” said Eanes.

The Compostable Day campaign is part CBCC’s continued solid waste management outreach and is funded by a grant from the USDA.

For more information, contact the Coral Bay Community Council office at 340-776-2099.