Eco-conscious entrepreneurs in Hong Kong share with us simple, sustainable steps we can take to help save the planet. Even the small wins count!
We give you monthly Honey Hacks for you to live your sweetest, affordable life in the 852 – but living sustainably is no less important! While green living may sound overwhelming if you don’t know where to start, every single choice and small swap for better habits can affect the Earth positively. Start treading lightly with eco-friendly hacks from sustainability experts and entrepreneurs in Hong Kong.
Easy eco-friendly hacks for sustainable living in HK
1. Make your own kitchen towels
When everyone was looting tissue paper during the pandemic, I decided to make my own kitchen towels. They’re known as “unpaper towels”, but instead of using snaps, I chose the cotton flannelette, so that they stick together more easily when they’re wrapped in a tissue holder. Not only is this type of fabric highly absorbent, it’s actually fast and easy to sew using an overlocker machine. So, get DIY-ing!
2. Invest in long-lasting products
There are many eco-friendly hacks we can all do to help make an impact. It can be as simple as reducing plastic by bringing your own bag and coffee mug; it’s also about using more durable products that don’t need to be replaced regularly. I try to increase the lifetime of the things I use as much as possible, so that I can pass them down or reuse them in different ways. Personally, I have a checklist in mind when I make a new purchase, with questions such as: how many times can I use this? Is this just an impulse buy? How long will I be happy with it for?
With kids growing out quickly from clothes and toys, it’s vital for us parents to be more conscious as consumers and opt for goods made with organic and eco-friendly materials that last longer, stain or break less, and can be passed down to other kids. At MiliMilu, we make ethical clothing from organic fabrics that are gentle to children’s skin. I hope that we can all be more aware about the impact of our products and purchases on our next generations.
3. Decant foods and pay more attention to food date labels
Food waste is a common problem in households everywhere around the world. To lessen the impact of our excess, I’ve begun making more mindful choices with regards to food consumption at home. An eco-friendly hack and kitchen organisation trend I’ve adopted (and taught my clients to do) is decanting. Not only does this add aesthetic value, it also has practical benefits. By transferring foods like grains, cereal, and snacks from their original packaging into clear, airtight containers, we can keep them fresher for longer periods. We can then refill these containers at bulk food stores, reducing single-use packaging waste. Buying in bulk also provides access to a wider variety of organic, non-GMO, and specialty items.
I also now pay more attention to food date labels, as they aren’t always indicative of food safety. Using the Phenix by OnTheList App (my recent fave!), I get access to surplus food from various sources such as restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries, and cake shops at discounted prices. These foods are often still fresh and perfectly good to eat, but would’ve otherwise been thrown away. By taking in these items, we can support local businesses and save money while reducing our environmental impact – it’s a win-win!
– Marianne Obena, UCPO-certified Professional Organiser and Founder of Home Makeover HK
4. Replace single-use tea bags with greener alternatives
A warm cup of tea is one of life’s simple pleasures. While there are many ways to enjoy tea, single-use tea bags are, by far, the most common. But they can also be detrimental to both the environment and your health, due to the microplastics they contain. So, here are some alternative tools for you to enjoy tea without tea bags, whilst allowing more space for the tea to bloom and giving a more flavourful brew:
- Gaiwan: one of the most traditional yet versatile teaware, suitable for any type of tea. It takes a bit of practice to get used to gaiwan, but it’s one of the best tools for loose-leaf tea as it avoids over-steeping.
- Teapot: whether it’s clay or porcelain, a teapot is handy and retains heat well – perfect for a hearty brew of pu’er and oolong.
- Tea mug: coming with a strainer, mugs are ideal for a good cuppa when you’re powering away and focusing on other tasks.
- Tall glass: simply place the leaves in a glass and voila! This is a great way to enjoy tea, as you can watch the tea leaves dance and bloom.
- Tea infuser: a fuss-free tool, without having to care about the loose leaves floating around.
– Mary Wong, Founder of Bloom & Brew and Tea Instructor at the Tea Science Society of Hong Kong
5. Keep track of what we already own
As a professional home organiser, I believe that one of the easiest eco-friendly hacks is to keep track of what we already own, so we don’t rebuy stuff. You can do this by simply labelling as much as you can. Take time to add a label (even a handwritten one) on your containers, so that you don’t have to guess or remember what’s inside. Next, create a “map” of your home, where you note down what is stored where. For example, most of us in Hong Kong have under-bed storage, but who can actually remember what’s under there? Take a picture of that collection and create a folder on your phone. Alternatively, create a document where you list items that are stored in the different parts of your home.