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Lifestyle

What's In My Shower?

What's In My Shower?

Looking for ways to create a more sustainable bathroom?  Let's take a step into my shower to give you some ideas, and check out the items I love to use the most in my bathing routine!

1. Plain Products Organic Liquid Shampoo & Conditioner: I have used shampoo bars before, but after some trial and error, this product has become my top choice for washing my locks.  Organic, vegan and safe for the waterways, it's also packaged in a recyclable or reusable aluminum bottle with an aluminum cap. How awesome!

2. Bareaya Safety Razor: I've used a handful of razors along my safety razor journey, and this one is hands down the best. So easy to use without nicking yourself, great for both men and women alike, super beautiful and designed right here in Hong Kong.  Big crush!

3. Olive Oil Soap Bar with Pearwood Soap Dish: I'm in love with this soap by Marius Fabre because of it's purity and moisturizing qualities. It may seem expensive, but it lasts much longer than other soaps, especially if you allow it to dry out in between uses. Handmade in France and cooked in a cauldron to traditional Marseille soap-making methods, it also requires very little packaging!  And the soap dish?  Well it's just plain gorgeous and looks great on my white tub:)

4. Natural Sea Sponge: Responsibly harvested by hand from the Mediterranean, these sponges are a perfect sustainable alternative to synthetic sponges, are super absorbent, lather very easily and gentle on all skin types. Care for it properly by squeezing it dry and air drying between uses, and it was also last a very long time.  And the cherry on top? It makes a great natural bath toy for the kids!

5. Wooden Foot File: This ones all about the self-care!  Extend the length of your pedicures and keep that dry skin at bay. For me one of these is a necessity if I want to keep my feet looking presentable, and what's better than a wooden option!

 

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How to Effectively Use Our Zero-Waste Planner

How to Effectively Use Our Zero-Waste Planner

 

We think our 100% recyclable planner by Wisdom Supply Co is the best, and we're here to show you why. Check out our favorite features and how we like to use it to keep ourselves extra-organized.

 

FAVORITE FEATURES

  • 2 pages for every week, so there is lots of room to include everything you need to remember
  • Lay-flat binding design, so when you have it opened to the necessary week, it lays flat on its own without needing any help
  • The cover and interior pages are made from 100% recycled material
  • At the end of the year, it is 100% recyclable, just separate the pages from the binding and add to your paper recycling
  • Printed with vegetable based inks
  • Absolutely 100% plastic-free!

 

TIPS & TRICKS

In my household, there are three of us managing things: myself, my husband and our nanny, so using one of these makes communicating and keeping things running smoothly super easy.

On the lefthand page are three columns.  I like to use the first one for actual appointments that are happening at a specific time.  I don't usually have more than 2-3 appointments in one day, so this is enough space for me.  But these could trickle into the 2nd column as well if needed.  Then in the 2nd and 3rd columns, I like to put to-dos that can happen at any time during that day, for example booking future appointments, getting gifts for an upcoming birthday or getting admin done around the house.

 

On the righthand page, I like to write down weekly goals/to-dos or things that are happening on an ongoing basis, like my children's supplement schedules.  This is also a great place to jot down meal ideas or your growing grocery list for the week.

 

And where you store your planner is also equally important, because if it isn't in a handy place, you're not going to use it.  We keep ours nestled in between the cookbooks, so it's protected from kitchen messes but easy to grab when needed.

I also have one for my personal use to keep track of my work life, and carry it around with me in my backpack for easy use. You can see it here below!

 

I hope this helps you see how awesome this product is!  We are huge fans and believe staying organized is crucial for a successful life.  And if we can do it sustainably, even better! 

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40 Things to Stash in Your Pocket Size Stasher

40 Things to Stash in Your Pocket Size Stasher

Our new Stasher bag to join the party is small but mighty! You'll find the pocket size super useful for all the little things in your life and it looks so pretty too.  For your daily on-the-go activities, the office, the home or on your next traveling adventure, you'll find they always come in handy. Here are 40 ways to use them, and we're sure there are much more!

Keep your on-the-go essentials organized

1. Snacks - take a handful of almonds to-go or save a half-eaten health bar

2. Supplements - stash them in pill or powder form

3. Medicine - ibuprofen, cough drops, homeopathic remedies

4. Menstrual cup - both sides of the pocket stasher are frosted for discretion

5. Hair clips & hair ties - finally so much easier to find

6. Jewelry - transform from day to night with extra sparkles in your stasher

7. Make-up - stash midday touch up essentials like our lip tints or deodorants 

8. Cards & Cash

9. Coins for laundry

10. Earbuds / phone charger

11. Essential oils

12. Crystals - take your aura with you wherever you go

Choose Your Adventure

13. Shampoo bar

14. Mini first-aid - stash bandages, alcohol wipes, ointment and aloe

15. Keep matches dry when you’re camping

16. Bring parmesan to a picnic

17. Pack salt for margaritas on a beach retreat

18. Stash a festival survival kit - lip balm, bandaids, bug spray, mints / chewable toothpaste, sunscreen

19. Small allen/hex keys for long-distance cycling

20. Tiny climbing gear like nuts, anchors and slings

21. Golf tees

Stash Around The House

22. Small leftover fruits and veggies - save the other half of your jalapeno, or that handful of berries your toddler demanded and then refused.

23. Loose leaf tea - stash a special blend

24. Keys for doors around the house

25. Herbs - save your sage, thyme, rosemary and more

26. Garlic cloves

27. Homemade Pesto

28. Seeds for gardening

29. Pet treats

30. Craft notions - buttons, bobbins, tape measures, etc.

31. Bolts and washers - no screws or nails!

32. Spare shoelaces and bra straps

33. Mini ice pack

34. Exercise bands

35. Batteries

For the Office

36. Business cards

37. Rubber bands

38. Paper clips

39. Flash drives

40. Sticky tack

SEE ALL STASHER BAGS HERE

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How to Dispose of Safety Razor Blades in Hong Kong

How to Dispose of Safety Razor Blades in Hong Kong

We often get asked how to properly dispose of safety razor blades here in Hong Kong, so we figured it was time to share some info on this topic! We recently asked Majorie, the founder of our favorite safety razor brand Bareaya, to help us with these details and this is what she had to share with us...

"Recycling in Hong Kong is always a challenge, because it's difficult to know where to go, and you can't always be sure of what will become of the waste.⁠

First things first: razor blades cannot and should not be thrown loose in the metal recycling bin. It would be a hazard for people handling them as they can cut through the trash bags.⁠

In HK, you also have to know that the general municipality waste management system doesn't take back used blades for recycling.⁠ That being said, we do have a multitude of small collection shops and a website to search for them. For razor blades, like for anything out of the ordinary, my go-to website is this one:⁠

www.wastereduction.gov.hk/en/quickaccess/vicinity 

If you enter "collector", then "Ferrous Metals" (shaving blades are usually stainless steel), and your district, you'll have a list of those small shops.⁠

Because shaving blades are so tiny, it can take years to fill up a small container. Personally, I brought a tin of blades for recycling only once in HK. I went to 58 Second Street in SYP and a nice lady told me that yes they would be happy to take them as it's easy to recycle."⁠

Awesome information, thanks Marjorie!

🌟 Bonus tip: change the blade as soon as you feel the shave is not as close as it used to be. It is usually around 5 to 10 shaves but will vary from one person to another. Always rinse and let the blade and razor dry after use to get the best of their lifespan potential.⁠

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Our Top Tips for Traveling Sustainably

Our Top Tips for Traveling Sustainably

We just got back from a short visit to Thailand with our 5 year old son and 19 month old daughter and I can tell you traveling with kids is a potential landmine of waste!  If you even want to have a chance at preventing a good portion of it, you need to be proactive with your planning and intentional with your packing, as well as staying consistently insistent with the hotel and restaurant staff to follow your requests.

So were we 100% waste-free after four days in Thailand? Absolutely not! But we did make some successful packing choices and hopefully next time we figure out additional ways to make our journey even more sustainable. So here’s what I can recommend:

Bring your own reusable cutlery, especially for the airplane. It felt so good to hand the disposable cutlery back to the flight attendant when they gave us our food.

✨ To avoid needing any bottled water on the airplane, bring along a reusable bottle with some Kuro-Bo coins, and after the security check, fill it up with tap water and pop in your coins to clean it.  Amazing!

Bring along food containers to use at your destination. They work great for takeaway, leftovers or bringing snacks out and about with you. I had some ECOlunchbox Seal Cups and Stasher Bags and we used them every day.

✨Never need to buy chemical-filled sunscreen in a plastic bottle again!  Choose from four different sunscreen options from our new product line from Raw Elements, that are all sold in sustainable packaging, made from organic ingredients and 100% reef-safe.  I've tested it on my own skin as well as my kids, and I can speak from experience that it works!  Hooray!  I can't tell you how happy this makes me.

We got super ambitious this time and brought along our Berkey water filter to use in our hotel room. And it was so easy! The two chambers pack into each other so it doesn’t take up too much space while enroute and we were able to have clean water whenever we needed it for the entirety of our trip. (You can purchase these locally at Seed in Sai Kung or online with the local Hong Kong distributor, just google!)

Reusable water bottles are a must! We filled up with our Berkey filtered water before leaving the hotel room and never needed to buy water while out. Winning!


So what were the biggest challenges???

I didn’t have anywhere to wash Ava’s reusable nappies so I had to use disposables for these few days. This pretty much broke my heart, because it's otherwise easily avoidable, but I didn’t really see another way in these circumstances.

Those pesky plastic straws were hard to avoid. Even if you tell them no straw it always seems to show up anyways!

✨Package-free kids snack to bring along from home are pretty much non-existent.  I live in the real world just like anyone else, and I need to be well armed with spoil-free food to stave off any potential hangry melt-downs from the littles.

All in all, I'd say sustainable traveling has a long way to go, but hopefully people start to care more about this issue and try and make the effort. I can also tell you without hesitation, you’ll feel amazing when you're able to refuse those disposables and save the world from one more piece of plastic waste!

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Ice Lolly Recipe: Orange Creamsicle

Ice Lolly Recipe: Orange Creamsicle

We are huge fans of homemade ice pops in our home, and this one is our go-to recipe at the moment.  Easy, affordable and most importantly ... healthy!  And the cherry on top?  A potentially completely plastic free snack.  Just buy your ingredients in glass and metal and you're good to go.

Tell us what you think of this recipe and share your favorites with us too!  We love new ideas!

WHAT YOU NEED:

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Juice about 5-6 oranges
  • Mix all ingredients together well to ensure no separation occurs while freezing in the mold
  • Pour into our stainless steel ice pop molds
  • Freeze for 4-6 hours
  • When ready to feast, just hold the mold in your hand for a few seconds or run under warm water and pull out
  • Enjoy!
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Compostable vs Biodegradable: What's the Difference?

Compostable vs Biodegradable: What's the Difference?

Feeling a little bit confused about the difference between compostable and biodegadable? Don't worry, you're not the only one!  Both words get used quite frequently in the sustainability world, but they are quite different!  Let's set the record straight...

COMPOSTABLE

  • Composting is a human-driven process in which biodegradation occurs under a specific set of circumstances
  • Composting is an accelerated biodegradation process due to optimized circumstances
  • The material needs a certain environment in order to properly compost in regards to temperature, moisture and oxygen
  • Leaves no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue
  • Most of the material breaks down completely within 180 days
  • This compost not only returns to it's original state but is also beneficial and can be used to enrich soil

BIODEGRADABLE

  • Biodegradation is the naturally-occurring breakdown of materials by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi or other biological activity
  • Products that will biodegrade in nature or in home compost heaps may not biodegrade in landfills, where there's not enough bacteria, light, and water to move the process along
  • Is meant to occur naturally without human intervention and without causing harm
  • Can decompose back into natural elements
  • Capable of biodegrading without any oxygen source
  • The timeline for biodegradation is not well defined, and can be quite varied

DEGRADABLE

  • Any product can be labelled "degradable" because everything will eventually break down
  • The product will naturally break down into smaller pieces, eventually, but this could take thousands of years
  • Depending on the material, it could leave behind toxicity to the soil and the environment around it

KEY POINTS

While all compostable material is also biodegradable, not all biodegradable material is compostable

Compostable materials are broken down with human intervention, while biodegradable materials break down naturally

Compostable materials break down quickly and within a specified timeframe, while biodegradable materials are not held to a specific timeframe and could take years (like steel products which will eventually rust)

Both processes should not cause any harm to the environment, while composting is known to also be beneficial to soil

Many companies may use these terms to "greenwash" their products and make them appear more eco-friendly than they actually are

 

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DIY Bathtub Scrub: Simple & Effective

DIY Bathtub Scrub: Simple & Effective

I've been looking for a good DIY tub scrub for awhile now, and finally found one that looked good enough to try.  I'm telling you, this is a breeze to make and will literally have your tub gleaming in under 20 minutes.

Here's what you NEED:

  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of liquid Castile soap

Here's what you DO:

  • Mix together 3 ingredients
  • Rub all over your tub with a washcloth or old rag/towel
  • Let sit for 10 minutes
  • Scrub grime away with our Bathtub Scrub Brush or something similar
  • Stand back and be amazed at how gorgeous your tub looks!

I use this mixture for the entire tub and then make a new batch each time, as I don't think it will keep that well.  So if this is too much for the size of your tub, definitely change it to your needs.

I forgot to take before and after pictures (ugh!), but am currently letting my tub get nice and dirty so I can do this for you soon!  Will post an update when I have one, but until then, give it a try!

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Meet Andrew LaCenere, Owner of Albatross Razors!

Meet Andrew LaCenere, Owner of Albatross Razors!

Andrew LaCenere is the CEO of Albatross Designs and the man behind one of our best sellers, our stainless steel safety razor.

We were curious to find out more about Andrew so asked him some questions about his company, mission and products.

What was your inspiration to start Albatross Designs and start up your Shave Shop?

Inspiration came in many forms, but the most important bit may have come from a sailing trip from Cabo back to LA.  It was 10 days long and we had very calm weather which provided me the opportunity to think deeply about Albatross.  It was here that I realized how a focused goal on, say, eliminating plastic from shaving becomes very meaningful when it succeeds.  Many people tend to dwell on the seemingly overwhelming nature of the whole (environmental) problem.  We want to break it all down into bite sized, easy steps and actions people can take that will also improve their life.

Can you tell our readers what the impact of disposable razors is on the environment?

Well, for example, 2 billion razors are thrown away each year in the US alone.  That's enough to wrap razors end-to-end around the world 6 times!  6 times, from only 1 country for only 1 year. To us that is a bit chilling really; how was this amount of waste ever ok?    

What's it like shaving with a double edged safety razor?

Amazing!  Truthfully part of the reason the razor was our first product is because it shaves so well. The shave is definitely an upgrade compared to plastic and cartridge razors, and the experience of shaving itself gets enhanced quite a lot by holding a real tool instead of what's about to become a piece of garbage.  

Can women use them too or are they mainly for men?

Women can, and definitely should, use them!  From Day 1 we've wanted to make the point that a good shaving razor is a good shaving razor very clear.  A lot of the plastic razor companies charge women more for basically the same thing, sometimes painted pink. About half of our sales are to women which is surprising to many people, but our razors work great for every shaving need so we weren't very shocked.

We also noticed that you have a Blade Take Back Program, what happens to the recycled blades? 

NB: Hong Kong does not currently recycle razor blades but Plastic-Free HK would be happy to return them back to Albatross Designs on your behalf. Please click here to find out more details.

We'd love if you could collect them in HK! Right now we still don't have the scale to reuse the steel regularly in our own products so instead we mainly work with an ethical recycler in California to reuse it.  What I really like about the Take Back Program is that  we accept any double edged shaving blades not just Albatross ones.  Our hope is to reuse all of this incredibly useful material at the highest level possible. 

We noticed that you have created the 'Trillion Pieces of Plastic' campaign. Can you tell us about this?

Sure.  Basically last summer I was doing some research in Grenada and was walking on what would have been my favorite beach on the island, but it was unfortunately covered in small plastic pieces. I had the thought that there are almost 8 billion people in the world and if only a small percentage of these people -- 1/8th -- committed to picking up 1,000 pieces of plastic in their lifetime, we'd have effectively prevented a trillion pieces of plastic from entering the ocean!  It's at once an insanely big goal, but also very attainable.  We don't really care about tracking the exact numbers:  the journey is the reward.  When you actively start picking up someone else's garbage, you quickly develop a deeper perspective regarding your own waste and consumption.

How can our community in Hong Kong get involved?

Well, we'd firstly love you to help spread the idea to all your friends: 1 Billion people X 1,000 pieces of plastic litter in their lifetime = 1 trillion pieces of plastic effectively kept out of the ocean.  There are also many organizations that have, say, organized beach and park cleanups that are great for helping people get started.  The first piece of trash picked up as you walk down a city street is the hardest.  It only keeps getting easier from there!

What's next for you and your team?

We hope lots!  We are certainly continuing our push to eliminate plastic from shaving, and there is still a great deal to do on that front.  We are also helping to start a San Francisco based natural sailing apparel company, OCEAN SF, which is primarily focused on eliminating polyester fleece from the outdoor industry.  Every time a polyester fleece jacket is washed it can pollute up to 250,000 plastic microfibers into the water system-- a huge problem already that isn't even totally quantified yet.  

We also have a few energy and water saving projects in the pipeline focused on homes and other buildings.  As a design company we want to design lots of cool products, but always try to remain focused and not get spread too thin.  

Visit Albatross Designs’ website HERE

Purchase the Double-Edged Safety Razor (2 styles to choose from) and Replacement Blades HERE

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5 Easy Changes For Plastic Free July

 

Plastic Free July has grown from a handful of participants in Western Australia in 2011, to millions of participants across more than 150 countries worldwide today.
 
This incredible transformation has led them to become an independent, not-for-profit charitable foundation and their vision is a world without plastic waste. 

By encouraging people to be more aware of their plastic use, and supporting behaviour change during the month of July every year, hopefully this dream will become more of a reality.

It might seem overwhelming to think of living 100% plastic free, but any small change you can make matters.  Read below to see 5 easy changes everyone can make without any stress!

1. CLEANING: Make your own household cleaners in a glass spray bottle.  These highly durable, refillable 16 oz glass spray bottles make it easy to replace wasteful store-bought chemical cleaners with all-natural, non-toxic homemade cleaners you make at home.

Simply choose a recipe, add ingredients to the fill lines on the bottle, shake, and you're ready to clean!

 

 

2. KITCHEN: Replace your disposable plastic zip lock bags with silicone storage bags.  Long-lasting, useful and so versatile, you'll never need to visit the zip-lock aisle in the grocery store again.  And think about all of that plastic saved from the landfill!

 

3.  EATING:  Bring along a reusable bamboo cutlery set for food on the go. How about a bamboo utensil set to round out the perfect toolkit for life on the go? A handy carabiner on the back lets you clip and carry a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks wherever you may roam. Perfect for a busy lifestyle and our precious planet. 

 

4.  BAGS:  Always carry a reusable bag with you while you're out and about.  This tote is my new favorite PFHK product!  It is so versatile and can carry lots of weight, and of course eliminates the need for disposable plastic bags.  From the grocery to the beach, I always find I'm reaching for it while I'm out and about.

 

5.  BATHROOM: Stainless steel safety razor instead of plastic, disposable one. Over 2 billion disposable plastic razors are thrown out each year in the U.S. alone.  That's enough to wrap around the Earth end-to-end 6 times!  Let's return to the good old days of safety razors and eliminate the need for this type of plastic waste.

 

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