Your cart
Close Alternative Icon
FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $750 HKD

Lifestyle

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!

Continue reading

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!
Continue reading

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

 

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

 

Continue reading

From Our E-Shelves: Top 5 Father's Day Gift Ideas

In our home, we try to live as minimally as possible.  And when we do buy things, we ask ourselves "Is it useful?"  and/or "Does it bring us pleasure/etc?".  We don't want things clogging our home that don't serve a purpose or bring us joy.

So when the holidays arrive and days of gift giving occur, sometimes it can be difficult to think of ideas because we feel like we have everything we need!  (and what a blessing that is!)  So we thought we'd put together a short list of possible ideas for your dad, husband, brother, son that could show your love, sustainably! 

1.  Teakwood S'well Bottle  $290

 

2.  Brass Wire BBQ Brush  $200

 

3.  Zero Waste Shaving Kit  $415

 

4.  Three-In-One Lunchbox  $275

 

5.  Reusable Coffee Cup  $100

 

Continue reading

Get to Know ZuBlue Ltd: Merging Scuba Diving with Sustainability

Get to Know ZuBlue Ltd: Merging Scuba Diving with Sustainability

We recently learnt about a new startup business - ZuBlu Ltd - who’s co-founder, Adam Broadbent, lives in Sai Kung, Hong Kong. The company launched a new dive travel platform that provides SCUBA divers with a simple yet intuitive way to discover exciting dive experiences across Asia. The website marries a powerful search tool with an exciting range of dive destinations and eco-friendly resorts, putting the power of discovery and choice into the hands of ZuBlu’s guests.

The company describes itself as “A new dive travel platform that puts the power of discovery and choice into the hands of its guests. With its unique species search tool, up-to-date and accurate information and a commitment to conserving the marine environment, ZuBlu aims to become the leading dive travel agency for destinations in Asia and create positive change in the destinations featured on the ZuBlu platform.”

ZuBlu ensures conservation and sustainability are at the heart of its business. Each resort listing displays an ‘at-a-glance’ summary of sustainable practices, as well as information about conservation activities. And as part of its commitment to the environment, ZuBlu donates a percentage of revenue to local conservation organisations. “By linking conservation and dive travel, we believe ZuBlu can make a significant positive impact in the destinations we feature. We place the emphasis on sustainability and conservation, helping our guests to make a more informed choice about where they should travel,” said Matthew Oldfield, ZuBlu co-founder.

ZuBlu’s platform is built around a unique search tool designed to match a guest’s preferences with an ideal destination. Adam Broadbent, ZuBlu co-founder, said “the concept of the ZuBlu platform arose from a desire to give guests the ability to easily discover new destinations and experiences. We take their choices - what species they would like to see and when they would like to travel - and match them with the most suitable destinations. If our guests want to dive with whale sharks, ZuBlu can help get them to the right place at the right time.”

Divers as a whole are very sensitive to changes and problem in the marine environment - particularly the extremely obvious issue of plastic waste in the water - and although there are many dive resorts and operators that are trying to do what they can to reduce their environmental footprint, and incorporate more sustainable practices into their business models, there is actually very little information out there about what is going on. ZuBlu aims to fill this gap by highlighting what different resorts are actually doing and thus giving guests the ability to vote with the wallets - if you want to help support a more sustainable dive travel industry, book your dive trip to a resort that is doing something for the environment by removing plastic straws or plastic water bottles from their resort for example. Every little bit helps and diving travellers can now do what they can to ensure their travels as sustainable as possible.

Currently the ZuBlu platform features dive destinations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and the Maldives, with new destinations being unveiled in the coming months. The company works with a carefully chosen selection of partner resorts and dive operators, all with high standards of customer service, established safety records and a commitment to the environment. ZuBlu has also partnered with the Manta Trust, the world’s leading manta ray conservation organisation and offers citizen science expeditions in the Maldives and Indonesia.

To discover and book your next underwater adventure in Asia, visit www.zubludiving.com 

Continue reading

Bans, Taxes, and Fees: The Politics of Plastic Bags

Bans, Taxes, and Fees: The Politics of Plastic Bags

It has become common practice around the world to use disposable plastic bags to assist us in our every day lives. Out of mere convenience and utility, the plastic bag has become a go-to resource for in-store purchases, big or small. However, in light of current of research pointing to the environmental impacts of plastic bags, many cities, states, and countries have sought to change this through regulation and legislation.

Impacts

According to the Earth Policy Institute, 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. For every 100 billion plastic bags being made, 12 million barrels of crude oil are being allocated to their production. Equivocally, a car could drive for one mile on the energy required to produce 12 plastic bags. 

And most of these are not being recycled. Instead, they are ending up in lakes and oceans, on beaches, in landfills, and even in our own food chain. This is because rather than breaking down over time, they are simply breaking into smaller and smaller pieces.

Legislation Around the World

Due to the mounting environmental concerns, legislation is being passed across the globe to mitigate the manufacture and use of disposable plastic bags. The first plastic bag law went into effect in Denmark in 1993, which implemented a tax on the use of plastic bags. Ireland introduced the Bag Tax in 2002, reducing plastic bag use by 90 percent. 

Bangladesh became the first country to outright ban thin plastic bags in 2002 after two major floods in 1989 and 1998, which were magnified due to plastic bag waste blocking drains and sewers. 

China began enforcing plastic bag bans and regulations in 2008, just before hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics. This eventually caused their largest plastic bag factory to shut down. 

Other countries that have enacted regulations on plastic bags include Kenya, the Phillippines, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and more. 

Legislation in the U.S.

As of 2016, legislation regarding plastic bag bans spanned 23 states and included 77 bills. Notable city-wide bans are now enforced in Austin, Chicago, Seattle, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

In 2014, California became the first U.S. state to ban disposable plastic bags statewide. Since then, a de facto statewide ban on plastic bags has been enforced in Hawaii, and the District of Columbia has passed a law banning the distribution of disposable, non-recyclable plastic bags. 

However, many states in the U.S. have passed legislation prohibiting regulations on disposable plastic bags. Preemptive legislation that prevents cities, towns, or counties from regulating the sale and distribution of plastic bags is enforced in nine different U.S. states, including Arizona, Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin. 

What you can do

The ban on disposable plastic bag use is gaining momentum and there are many ways you can contribute to this movement. 

The most effective way to impose change is by writing your state representative. It is the job of your legislators to pass laws based on the values of their constituents. Voice your opposition to disposable plastic bags directly to those who can enact change. 

In addition to directly contacting your representative, you can also make your voice heard through one of the many campaigns started to ban plastic bags, such as Greenpeace or Clean Up (The Project).

Sometimes the politics behind such a significant change can seem daunting. If you’re looking to promote change on a more local level, contact your local grocer to express your concern.

And finally, bring your own bag! By bringing your own bag to the store with you, you are easily able to say “No, thank you,” to plastic disposable bags when offered. Just because they are not legally banned in your city or state, doesn’t mean you have to use them.

 

About The Author

David Evans is the founder of prch, a resource for responsible consumers. He is a UCLA graduate with a degree in Environmental Studies and Geographic Information Systems and works in the crossover between tech and conservation. David’s mission is to help others improve their environmental and social impact.

Continue reading

On Eating Plastic...

What did you have for lunch today? Did you bring it from home? Did you get takeaway, or maybe go to a restaurant? Plastics are an incredible material for packaging but have hidden yet severe consequences for our health. Plastics are man-made material, chemically-made, and we don’t yet know what repercussions it may have for the youth of today. One major problem is that of microplastics (small particles of plastics) entering our food system through fish. In 2016, “a study of anchovies caught in Tokyo Bay found that 80% had microplastic particles in their guts”, and these statistics are observed of commonly-eaten fish species worldwide.

http://tryforgood.com/plastic-impact-on-human-health/                             (http://tryforgood.com/plastic-impact-on-human-health/) 

Hong Kong has it bad, and it doesn’t make a big difference if you’re a fish-eater or not. According to Lisa Christensen, co-founder of HK Clean Up initiative, “the equivalent weight of two A380 Airbus planes is discarded in domestic waste” every day. One of the biggest problems is that recycling in Hong Kong is not mandatory; a mere 5% gets recycled. This is hazardous to our health as well as that of the planet; as “an extremely consumption-based society”, we generate (on average) “1.36kg (3lbs) of domestic waste per person, per day. Tokyo… only generates 0.77kg.” What happens is that “plastic wrapping leaks harmful chemicals into our food and bodies” According to Christensen, “It’s not just plastic bottles and pieces of Styrofoam that are threatening our marine wildlife, tiny microplastics contained in our toiletries, cosmetics and washing detergents are having hugely detrimental effects and making their way into our food chain.” So, some short tips for you to reduce your plastic consumption:


Tips:


I hope Hong Kong follows other countries like the US, Canada, and more recently, the UK, and bans microbeads in personal care items, as these get into our bodily systems and threaten our health. Every one of us has a role to play in reducing the amount of plastic we use, dispose of, and consume, and continuing when there is seemingly little consequence; those are the most crucial times. At a bar with friends? Ask for no straw. Getting take away from a store? Bring your own container (BPA-free, of course!)


Additional reading:

5 ways every Hongkonger can help reduce plastic waste volumes

How Plastic In The Ocean Is Contaminating Your Seafood

Continue reading