Guide to a Plastic-Free Life in Hong Kong

by Joanne Rushton
December 16, 2020

Wanting to move towards a plastic-free life in Hong Kong? 

While it may be difficult to move straight to a zero-waste life, there are lots of steps you can take to move to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.  Looking at your plastic consumption is an obvious starting point.

Many people have already adopted some steps to help reduce their plastic usage, such as taking a tote bag shopping with you to having your own coffee mug in your bag, but there is so much more one can do. 

Leading a truly zero-waste life goes so much deeper than just these basic steps. Zero waste refers to the responsible production and consumption of products.

In this article, we provide some suggestions on consuming goods more responsibly in Hong Kong:

We’re going to look at: 

  • What zero-waste actually means
  • Where to get drinking bottles and straws for you and your family
  • Keeping your teeth, hair, and body clean, along with the environment
  • Ways to make your kitchen more eco-friendly
  • Other simple lifestyle changes you can make you help the planet
  • Some of the best eco-friendly stores in Hong Kong
  • Why the purchase of second-hand goods in Hong Kong makes so much sense

As well as giving you some tips on where to look for other environmentally-conscious items in Hong Kong. 

 

What is the meaning of zero waste?

Zero waste refers to the responsible production and consumption of products.  Essentially, a zero-waste lifestyle tries to ensure that products and materials are reused rather than dumped into landfills or an incinerator.

The ethos behind zero waste is to consider how much waste is involved in consumption and to extend the lifespan of materials for as long as possible by reusing products as many times as possible.

This way of life goes a lot deeper than simply re-using single-use plastic items or taking glass bottles to a recycling center. Instead, with a zero-waste lifestyle, recycling is considered as a last resort rather than the goal.

Instead of focusing on recycling, people who follow a zero-waste lifestyle prefer items that have less packaging or have packaging that has been reused.

 

Where can I buy eco-friendly water bottles for my family in Hong Kong?

To lead a plastic-free life, one of the first steps you need to take is to ditch plastic water bottles.

Water bottles are one of the worst offenders when it comes to plastic pollution. Generally, the tap water in Hong Kong is drinkable, so you don’t have to buy bottled water. You can consider getting a water filter fitted if you live in an old building and are worried about the old plumbing.

If you’re looking for a recommendation for installing a water filter in your home, you could consider Life Solutions.

We’ve been using the Life Solutions water filter system for more than 6 years and are very satisfied with their product and service. They are also super helpful in figuring out what size filter is best suited to your home. 

Once you’ve got drinkable water from the tap, you need to take it everywhere with you. There are loads of stylish ways to do this now.

Some that we like are:

  • This stainless steel bottle from Klean Kanteen. The flash of bamboo on the screw top is a cool design feature. It’s plastic and paint free and will look cool sitting on your desk or being pulled from your bag whilst out shopping. 
  • Hydro Flask’s insulated bottle. Your cool drinks will stay chilled, and your hot drinks will be toasty hot with this bottle. You get a choice of cool colors to boot. 
  • The Infant Starter Set from Pura. Start as you mean to continue. This plastic-free feeding set includes a plastic-free feeding bottle and different teats and lids that grow with your child. 

More of a coffee-fan than a water-guzzler? Reduce the amount of plastic and even cardboard cups you use every day, and start taking your own coffee mug with you.

Ecoffee has a whole range of funky colored coffee mugs, marking you out as the office’s trendsetter. 

Still attached to drinking out of a straw? If, for whatever reason, you’d rather not drink directly from the glass, you can pack your own straw with you. Black stainless steel ones look really stylish. 

When you need plastic-free straws for kids, like at a birthday party you’re organizing, check out HomeStraw for paper, wheat, and silicone alternatives. 

 

How can I make my teeth cleaning plastic-free?

You’ve got a few different options to help eliminate plastic from your oral hygiene routine. It’s estimated that one billion toothbrushes get thrown away each year, so how can you work to reduce your contribution to that number?

  • Bamboo toothbrushes are a biodegradable alternative to traditional plastic brushes. Remember to check if you need to trash the bristles before recycling your handle – they may still have to be plastic. This Kraft Box one has charcoal-infused bristles for even better cleaning.
  • Silk dental floss is another alternative for your tooth routine. Ekologic’s silk floss comes in a glass bottle with a metal lid, and they sell refills so you can use the bottle and lid over and over. 

Plastic-free, high-quality toothpaste is a challenge. Having fluoridated toothpaste is vital for healthy teeth, but most of what you’ll find in terms of plastic-free toothpaste doesn’t have fluoride, so that we wouldn’t recommend it.

 

What other changes can I make to my beauty routine to be plastic-free? 

Look around your bathroom; how many plastic containers are there? You can reduce the plastic in your bathroom easily – this time by going back to basics rather than looking for innovations.

Shampoo bars for your hair are a great way to avoid throwing away plastic bottles of the stuff. It is becoming more and more popular, and we love this pomegranate and mint one from Nut and Noggin

Go down the same route for your general washing needs. Ditch the body wash and go plastic-free by buying soap instead.

Check out Soap Bar HK for a great range of handmade soaps, including free delivery for orders over $300.  

Next, look at your brushes and sponges. It can be tempting to buy cheap makeup brush sets, sponges, and applicators, but it all ends in landfills. Invest in good quality brush kits, and they’ll last much longer.

MyKitCo has a great set designed by makeup artists that should last you a long time. 

 

Moving onto food, how can I rid my kitchen of single-use plastic?

So much waste can be produced in your kitchen, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can practically eliminate plastic packaging if you’re prepared to plan a little and put in some effort. 

A little later, we’ll tell you more about Ekologic. For now, know that they have a bulk food store that stocks all kinds of dried food and nuts, with bulk stocks of:

  • Olive oil
  • Vietnamese coffee
  • Dried apricots
  • Cumin seeds
  • Flour

And much more, at great prices when you take in your own containers. 

Rather than storing leftovers in plastic or covered in cling film, check out Back-up Boxes made from bamboo and plant fiber. They even look lovely enough to take your lunch to work in!

For anything that does need to go in the trash, you can get biodegradable trash bags, so the plastic doesn’t sit in landfills for generations. 

 

How else can I make my Hong Kong life plastic-free?

It’s such a common lifestyle choice to be plastic-free that pretty much anything you can think of has sustainable options.

Here are some items you might not have considered:

A bamboo incense holder will catch the ash from your incense so you can dispose of it properly whilst adding a sleek touch to your living space. The bamboo is sustainably sourced, too. 

Rosemary and thyme Essential Oil Candles are made from plant wax, so they are vegan and sustainably sourced to make your home smell great.

You can reduce your plastic when it comes to cleaning with bulk products, like these five-liter bottles of laundry detergent, dish soap, and more.

You can also consider buying a Savon de Marseille bar of soap from Mordicus. This soap has so many uses. You can use it to clean dishes, clean surfaces, as a shower gel, shampoo, a liquid detergent for your dishes, or even to clean your makeup brushes. 

Love eating out? Eschew disposable cutlery and have a beautiful bamboo set of cutlery in your bag to take home and wash up. Bakbamboo has teamed up with Liz Fry, and they sell some adorable Hong Kong-themed bamboo cutlery sets. 

Reusable sanitary towels are another lifestyle change you can make to become more sustainable. Thinx is one of the biggest brands, and they use diverse models, or you can change to a moon cup. 

 

Where can I shop for eco-friendly products in Hong Kong? 

There are plenty of ways to go plastic-free in Hong Kong, we tell you how.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Plenty of businesses have realized the potential profits of sustainable products. To keep your purchases local, we’ve gathered a list of our four favorite eco-shops in Hong Kong

 

Plastic-free HK

Plastic-free HK is an online shop with a broad range of products curated to help Hong Kongers live as sustainably as possible. They offer everything from baby and child items to cleaning supplies to bath and beauty products.

They also have a fantastic blog with tips and tricks to use their products most effectively. Free shipping for local orders over $750!

 

Shawganic

Shawganic is all about organic, eco-friendly, and bulk shopping. Whether you need products for a baby’s sensitive skin or want to overhaul your cleaning products to be kinder to the environment, this is the shop to come to. 

The online retailer brings in its products from New Zealand to be assured of production standards. The business has been running in Hong Kong since 2007, one of the trendsetters for the eco vibe.

 

Live Zero

If you want to go plastic free in Hong Kong, check out Live Zero.

Photo courtesy of Live Zero Facebook.

With a cornucopia of environmentally friendly delights on offer, Live Zero is a website to check your eco needs. 

From water bottles and kitchen utensils to bulk selling of nuts and seeds, you can probably find it here if it’s good for the planet. Check out their bulk stores in Sai Ying Pun and Sai Kung districts or order from the website with free delivery on orders over $2,000.

Locations:

33 High Street, Sai Ying Pung, +852 9433 3394
22 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, +852 9842 7858

 

Slowood

Slowood sells beautiful and practical items, from polished wood chopping boards to eco-friendly cleaning products. Everything looks lovely, and what you buy on the site will help you create a whole aesthetic for your home. 

You can browse two stores and pick up bulk products, one in Kennedy town and another in Discovery Bay. Online orders over $500 get free shipping, too.   This is a particularly good store for buying gifts.

Locations:
The Hudson, 11 Davis Street, Sai Wan (Kennedy Town Station, Exit C)
Shop Unit No.151, 1/F, DB Plaza (Block C) Discovery Bay

 

Ekologic

If you want to go plastic free or a following a zero waste lifestyle in Hong Kong, Ekologic offers you plenty of good options to achieve this goal.

Photo courtesy of Ekologic.

For locally sourced, organic, natural, and ethical products for your body and home, check out Ekologic. The company has recently relocated to Hong Kong, and there’s already a bulk store down in Happy Valley for your cacao, spaghetti, cashew nuts, and plenty more.

Shipping by regular post takes up to a week, or you can have your order sent to the store to collect within a week. 

Location: G/F, 16 Tsun Yuen Street, Happy Valley

 

Where can I buy second-hand goods in Hong Kong?

Fortunately, Hong Kong is a great place to find high-quality second-hand goods for sale.

The reason you can expect to find so many good second-hand items for sale is that people come and go from Hong Kong rather frequently, and living space is generally pretty small.

Once you know where to look, you can expect to find a huge array of high-quality second-hand items in Hong Kong at really reasonable prices. You really will be spoilt for choice.

Not only will you be spending less, but you will be helping to ensure the products are reused and that product lifespans are extended.

Our article is dedicated to buying second-hand goods in Hong Kong; we tell you our favorite places to buy second-hand kids clothing, designer wear, furniture, cars, and other items.

 

FAQs

Is zero waste possible?

Living a true zero waste lifestyle where no waste is created is difficult. However, adopting a zero-waste mentality has clear environmental, social, and economic benefits.

 

Does zero waste make a difference?

Yes, it helps to shift people’s mindsets about the wasteful production and consumption of goods. When a zero-waste mentality is adopted, the focus is on high-quality items that have been ethically produced.

 

Why is plastic usage such a problem?

Plastic usage is a huge problem; according to a recent report, “Breaking the plastic wave,” more than 1.3 billion tons of plastic waste is expected to find its way into the world’s oceans and land over the next 20 years unless significant changes are made.

 

Finally

We’re focused on trying to find ways of being eco-friendly in Hong Kong. Not only do we like reducing plastic usage, but we also love to reuse second-hand goods whenever possible, donate items to those in need, as well as find the best deals on second-hand goods in Hong Kong

We’d love to hear from you; if we have missed out on any good ideas about zero waste in Hong Kong, please let us know in the comments section below.

If you’re living in Hong Kong; and looking for more tips on life in Hong Kong, including the best club memberships in Hong Kong, where to buy the best Hong Kong souvenirs, and where to find the best quality, crisp white linen, check out: Ultimate Guide to Living in Hong Kong.

 

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7 Comments

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