Call it whatever you want — holistic wellness, green living, eco-consciousness — but it’s undeniable that the appetite for making choices that won’t harm the environment is growing. So far, 2017 has been very focused on these issues, with an increased attention on well-being and the environment everywhere you turn, from more brands touting sustainability to Greenery being this year’s official Pantone colour.
What better way to lock in your commitment to a healthier routine than to strive for a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle? As this weekend marks the 47th annual Earth Day on the 22nd of April — the yearly celebration of the birth of the modern environmental movement — it’s time to kick those habits into high gear with a few green home essentials. Add these eco-friendly items to your home and you’ll already have made some meaningful changes.
Abeego Beeswax Food Wraps
The overuse of disposable plastics these days is an epidemic, spelling bad news not just for our oceans, but also for us. Toxins such as BPA and phthalates, and even lead, often get leaked into the food and drinks that are encased in such plastics, as well as into the soil in landfills and eventually our seas. To stray away from plastics, try these reusable, washable food wraps by Abeego, which are made using beeswax, tree resin, and jojoba oil. Just warm it with your hands for the shape to hold, and your sandwiches, cheeses, cut fruits, and any leftover dishes for that matter will be kept fresh just as normal.
HK$140 for a three-pack of small, medium, and large sized wraps from Plastic Free HK
Dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush every three months, which can definitely add up during a lifetime of using regular plastic toothbrushes. As you build up better recycling habits — as difficult as it can be in Hong Kong, we know — you may want to opt for a bamboo toothbrush, which has a handle made out of pure, biodegradable bamboo. Once the bristles begin to fray, you can can compost or recycle the handle, and the bristles will need to be plucked out with a tweezer to be recycled separately. It’s an extra step, but definitely worth it to #gogreen.
HK$38 from Plastic Free HK
Ecostore Coconut Soap
Organic beauty products and soaps are a no-brainer if you’re looking to rid your beauty routine of toxic chemicals. While soaps traditionally use animal tallow, New Zealand brand Ecostore makes gentle cleansing soaps using vegetable oils and plant- and mineral-based ingredients that don’t strip away your natural protective oils. Their cruelty-free Coconut Soap has everything you need to simplify your shower routine: a creamy, coconut oil-based soap that folds in exfoliating coconut strands so you can finally stop using commercial brands that contain plastic microbeads, which are terrible for the environment.
HK$43 (80g) from Aware Store
Ecostore Lemon Dish Liquid
While we like to keep our homes clean, our detergent cupboards tend to be the place with the most amount of toxic chemicals in the home, all of which end up in the drain, on your skin, or worse, inhaled. To clean this up, choose eco-minded cleaning agents such as Ecostore’s plant-based dishwashing liquid, which uses sustainably sourced ingredients and is SLS-free and pH-balanced, and therefore better for your skin. Available online from Aware Store, you can also browse their wide selection of laundry detergents and household cleaners, all of which are better for you and the planet.
As you’re splashing out anyway for these better-for-you cleaning products, take a look at Wong Chuk Hang boutique get.give Studio, which curates a selection of cruelty-free laundry care products, household cleaners and even pet cleaning sprays, all made from natural ingredients and packaged in recyclable bottles.
Dishwash Liquid (HK$98) from Aware Store
Stainless Steel Straws
If you want to cut down considerably on the amount of single-use plastic you consume on a regular basis, saying no to straws at coffee and juice stands is a good first step. If you can’t bid goodbye to straws just yet, you can opt to bring this stainless steel straw around with you to make the transition a little easier. You can choose from bent and straight straws made of food-grade stainless steel in varying lengths and sizes, which are suited to different beverages such as smoothies and juices. Don’t like the cold feeling of stainless steel? These bamboo straws are also great alternatives — they last forever and they’re biodegradable.
Stainless steel straws start at HK$25 from Plastic Free HK; straw cleaner (HK$15) from here; bamboo straws (HK$50) from Bamboa Home, Shop S304, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2291 0285
Splash Box Food Container Set
If you’re a frequent picnic-goer, take lunch to work, or know you often take doggy bags home, you might want to invest in a good set of eco-friendly food containers. This set of handy stainless-steel containers can hold a healthy-sized entrée and a side, and they considerably remove the oestrogen-mimicking toxins normally found in plastics. They’re designed to be stackable with boxes of the same size, and are a lot lighter than glass containers. The only caveat is that the boxes aren’t microwaveable, but hey, maybe this will encourage you to eat more raw greens.
HK$255 for a large box and pod set from Plastic Free HK
S’Well Water Bottle
Buying bottled water at a convenience store can be just that — convenient — but the aftermath of your used bottle is not so convenient for our earth. Save money and the environment in the long run by opting to carry around your own bottle. One of the more stylish bottles du jour is the S’Well bottle, which comes in gorgeous designs and in sizes of 9oz, 17oz and 25oz — of which the largest size can fit the contents of an entire bottle of wine. It can keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for 12. The company has also teamed up with the US Fund for UNICEF to help provide clean drinking water for children around the world.
17oz bottle (HK$275) from Plastic Free HK
TREE Terracotta Pots
While the eco-conscious may already own furniture from TREE, which uses sustainable ‘eco-wood’ to build their statement pieces, you can never own too much green décor, especially if you’re looking to keep more living greenery in your home. These mini terracotta pots are handcrafted in the Philippines and are given a distressed, worn-in finish for a unique look.
By supporting TREE, you’re also supporting the company’s tree-planting operations in Indonesia, which have been ongoing for over 10 years. As of its anniversary this year, the company has planted over 70,000 trees.
Starting at HK$195 from Tree, 28/F, Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong, +852 2870 1582
Bamboa Home Duvet Cover and Sheets
Given we spend a third of our lifetimes in bed, it follows that if you want to clean up your day-to-day routine, you’ll have to give your bed a detox too. These bamboo fibre sheets from Bamboa are fully made of bamboo rayon, a surprisingly, luxuriously smooth material that’s comparable to silk. Even better, the fabric is naturally hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, and odour-resistant, and is three times more durable, absorbent, and breathable than cotton. As for why bamboo-fibre materials are greener than regular cotton, bamboo doesn’t require any pesticides or water to grow. And eventually if you ever want to rid yourself of old bamboo sheets, they are biodegradable and will safely return back into nature.
Starting at HK$1,980 for single bed set of pillowcase, fitted sheet, and duvet cover from Bamboa Home, Shop S304, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2291 0285
eicó Eco-friendly Paint
Planning to redecorate? The official paint sponsor of annual street-art festival HKWalls, Eicó’s paints are well-suited for indoor and outdoor usage, and are possibly the greenest wall paints you can get — in every colour fathomable, too. Made of 100% high-quality acrylic, the paints are manufactured in Sweden and Iceland using geothermal and hydropower energy. The formula itself is made to be versatile, with great coverage and quick drying time, so you waste less paint and time applying — saving you money in the long run.
Order from eico.hk
You probably have baking soda at home already, but this pantry must-have is a godsend for any cleaning debacle, or as a body care secret ingredient, without relying on products that use harmful chemicals that poison your body and the earth. You can use baking soda for anything from deodorising shoes to unclogging drains to even concocting your own shampoo and toothpaste, if you’re so inclined. This Earth Day, why not give it a try? Stock up, or buy online from Aware Store.