Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Agriculture, Economy, Environment, People & Places » The Harmonious Relationship between Coconut Water Sales and Single-Use Plastic Bottles
Feb 2, 2023

The Harmonious Relationship between Coconut Water Sales and Single-Use Plastic Bottles

On tonight’s episode of Belize On Reel, we continue our coverage of the coconut water industry. We take a look at the symbiotic relationship between the sale of coconut water and the sale of single-use plastic bottles. Businesses that sell single-use products, like plastic bottles, are very much reliant on the success of vendors that sell coconut water. On the other hand, vendors in the business of selling coconut water cannot operate if plastic bottles are not made available. And, within this symbiosis is an environmental concern for which little to no alternative is available locally. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

On last week’s episode of Belize on Reel, we showed you the expanding coconut water industry on the small business level. More and more street side vendors are turning to coconut water as a business opportunity. We spoke about the health benefits and the fact that the Government of Belize has taken notice of this lucrative business. Tonight we revisit this business and its symbiotic relationship with a separate industry. Cuello’s Store on Central American Boulevard sells an assortment of single-use products for the food and beverage industry. Approximately eighty percent of sales come from small businesses like those coconut water stands we come across throughout Belize City.


Cindy Canton

Cindy Canton, Manager, Cuello’s Store, Belize City

“We offer mostly biodegradable products for the food and beverage industry, the restaurants, local people that also have their small businesses out there that deal with tricycles. It starts with big restaurants and even the ones that are the street vendors as well.”


The highly-sought-after product for those who sell coconut water are sixteen ounce and one liter plastic bottles. The most commonly used sixteen ounce bottles are sold by bale. A bale of eighty bottles cost the vendor twenty-one dollars, while a bale of two hundred and ten bottles go for fifty dollars. If you do the math, a single bottle costs about twenty- five cents a bottle.


Cindy Canton

“We get not just the coconut water. We get the coconut oil as well. They are not big, because I usually speak with my customers. So, they probably do in their vicinity. They do not do in big but they still do a little side business. Some of them would pick up a dozen of the bottles for the coconut oil and they will come in the next week. That is for a limited customer. Then there are others that will come in for the coconut water. They will come in two to three times a week for a bail of bottles that bring two hundred and ten bottles. So, some of them really are out there selling a lot.”


There is, however, an environmental concern attached to the increased sale of coconut water. While more and more Belizeans catch on to this growing trend, each purchase is another single-use plastic entering the environment. As of March of 2022, the sale of single-use plastics has been banned in Belize. This has forced companies like Cuello’s Store to source alternatives, like biodegradable plates and kitchen utensils. But, unless you take your reusable cup to buy coconut water, there is not much of an alternative available on the local market at this point.


Paul Lopez

“I know you told me earlier, I wish there were options, but at this point there are not any alternatives. Single use plastic is still not the best thing for the environment.”


Cindy Canton

“That is true, hopefully and we are hoping that soon there will be a company that provides us with the biodegradable bottles. That is one of our main hopes and objectives, because they are trying to see of there are other options. But for right now that is what we, we don’t import then what will happen with the people out there, what other source will they go to or use to sell their products. So, for right now we have to at least supply them with that and have the business still going on.”


A notable change to the updated single-use bottles on the market is the fact that less plastic is used in the manufacturing process. These bottles are now easier to crush than they ever were before. But, Cindy makes a valid point. If these bottles are to be done away with, then what other options would be available for street side vendors, like Brenda and Manuel, who both rely on the sale of bottled coconut water to provide for their family?


Brenda Sosa

Brenda Sosa, Coconut Water Vendor

“It helps us a lot because we nuh work fih nobody, just me and my common-law husband. I have three kids, she is my smallest baby. The first one is going to standard five. The smalles one is going to infant one and it helps us because we don’t have to work for nobody. It helps us, yes sir.”


Manuel Mejia

Manuel Mejia, Vendor

“Enough fih just pay the bills and just for survive, just for live, pay the bills. Sometimes I sell like a two three hundred. Before we never had lot of people I use to sell five hundred, six hundred coconut. Now, because dah lot ah we, so the business slow down a bit. But, before I use to sell a truck load.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed