DUNEDIN, Fla. — Kimberly Platt loves sea turtles.
The chef is such a fan, she named her popular Dunedin restaurant "Honu" which is Hawaiian for turtle.
For awhile, that love came with a lot of guilt, too.
“We started out like a lot of new places, using any types of products just to get open,” says Platt about her not-so eco-friendly early days. “But the transition is easier than people think.”
The Honu Restaurant features a Hawaiian-themed menu. It is now one of the Tampa Bay area’s leading restaurants when it comes to being environmentally-friendly.
One-use plastic items can harm wildlife and clog waterways.
That is why Platt does not use plastic bags or styrofoam takeout containers, both of which can get washed out into the Gulf. She instead opts for compostable containers and paper straws.
Platt also recycles just about everything and uses green cleaning products.
“We’re completely surrounded by water so we really should worry about it, because it affects every single thing that we do,” says Platt.
Ocean Allies, an environmental alliance of Tampa Bay area businesses led by David Yates of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, praises Platt's efforts.
Ocean Allies is urging all businesses to protect the area’s greatest resource, our waterways, by following the chef’s lead and become 100% “ocean friendly” certified.
Platt says a lot of the changes actually saved her money.
As for her guilt? It is gone, too.
“I just got back from Hawaii last week, so I spent a ton of time with the turtles,” says Platt. “Knowing we’re doing everything we can to help them survive — that’s it, we’re there!”