The idea of leading a sustainable life in Hong Kong may seem close to impossible and almost like a joke – considering it is the gateway to China, a country that many recognise as an industrial hub with poor environmental standards and high levels of waste. It is partly true, though you would be surprised to know that change is happening – especially in Hong Kong, a powerful city which is considered a ‘sustainable fashion hub for the future’ by Business of Fashion. So if you were ever to visit this beautiful metropolis, you’ll find there’s a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to vegan dining or sustainable shopping! As a resident of this city and someone who’s journeying towards zero-waste herself, here’s a round-up of the best places you should visit…
Renowned as Hong Kong’s first zero-waste grocery store, Live Zero is the ultimate place to start if you’re looking to establish an eco-friendly lifestyle in Hong Kong. It’s a multi-brand retailer that stocks products from various local & international eco-conscious brands ranging from bulk food, kitchenware, body-care and many other plastic-free reusables including the popular S’well water bottles. If you want to refresh your skincare cabinet with a much greener beauty ritual, Live Zero has got you covered from head to toe with its shampoo bars, razors, menstrual cups, sunscreen sticks and the list could go on forever!
If you’re one who’s trying to maintain an environmentally friendly lifestyle, Edgar grocery store is not to be missed out on. Known for stocking a variety of healthy foods in its glass jars, head over to shop from an extensive range of sustainable goods for your kitchen & bathroom – the best place to start, since they’re the two main areas that probably have the highest carbon footprint in your house. Edgar not only offers freeze-dried vegetables and organic food options, but even things like a portable Espresso coffee machine and bamboo gift boxes.
No!w No Waste
Similar to Live Zero and Edgar, No!w No Waste is a relatively smaller and newer one-stop shop to acquire all the basics, the only main difference is that it’s online. Browse their user-friendly website for reusable goods – everything is compostable and/or recyclable, such as the beeswax food wraps, coffee filters, washable cloths. They even have a starter kit for beginners that aren’t sure where to start from with the overwhelming variety of sustainable options to choose from.
Located far from the city in a stunning district surrounded by nature called Sai Kung, residents living there are lucky they have a zero-waste store around their neighbourhood. It’s a regular place to shop handy things like coffee capsules, detergents and of course, seeds! They also offer all-natural food alternatives like dairy-free noodles and vegan cookies… yum. The best part is, everything comes package-free, so if you’re stuck without a tote bag, you can opt to purchase an eco-friendly cotton bag too.
Another new store in the hip district of Kennedy Town, Slowood boasts an incredible 3,000 sq ft of space loaded with zero-waste goodies. Like a kid entering a massive chocolate shop, this store carries more than 100 local and overseas brands for an assortment of eco-friendly grocery and kitchenware to meet all your needs. What’s more, they even have a refill station where you can bring small jars to restock your daily staples like rice at low prices, and a small vegetarian eatery if you get hungry while shopping and need a bite!
If you’re looking for a mean vegan meal while visiting Hong Kong, Grassroots Pantry should probably be your first stop. Bringing healthy dishes to the heart of the city in a relaxed, fresh environment, the restaurant is a reliable spot for sustainable dining with its vegan-friendly choices. All their ingredients are unprocessed, organic and totally green – lemon chia seed pancakes, anyone?
For a casual hangout spot, head to Mana Cafe and enjoy a selection of vegan-friendly dishes and beverages. It has a strong focus on sustainability and responsible sourcing, using only plant-based ingredients and aiming for zero-waste within its three locations. It’s named ‘fast slow food’ due to its easy ambience and efficiency like any other fast-food chain, yet with a deliciously ‘slow’ focus on its meals.
A popular spot for fitness enthusiasts, Nood Food is a first-choice for those looking for a healthy post-workout bite. If you need something on the go, opt for its over-the-counter wraps and smoothies. Not only does everything come in recyclable packing, but their new BYOC policy also encourages foodies to bring their own cups and get $3 off their drink – aiming to stick to its brand philosophy of reducing waste.
Kind Kitchen by Green Common
Though Green Common was initially a popular healthy grocery store, it’s recently opened up Kind Kitchen, a side restaurant serving a healthy & vegan menu. Don’t forget to try the plant-based meats in its Impossible Burger, meat-free Omnipork or Just Scramble – an alternative to egg used in popular local dishes like dan dan noodles! Lowering the consumption of meat reduces methane (not to mention, the animal cruelty involved) and the overall carbon footprint in our environment.
African Tea & Coffee (ACT)
When the founder of this restaurant started her exploration into Africa, she immediately fell in love with the culture and decided to bring it to her city, Hong Kong, where there’s a lack of acknowledgement for the hard-working farmers and families living in this third-world continent. It then became ACT’s vision to empower communities of Africa through sustainable and fair-trade goods. The restaurant has a strong African influence throughout its interiors, high-quality coffee and deliciously healthy meals – making it a bold and unique place to be at.
Nosh by Secret Ingredient
Too lazy to head out or prep your own meals for the week ahead? Not to worry – Nosh has got your back. As a delivery service that brings healthy and nutritious meals to your doorstep, it not only places great importance over sustainable ingredients, but it even eliminates the greatest worry associated with takeaways – the wasteful & harmful packaging! Order and eat guilt-free with Nosh knowing that the boxes are made of sugarcane and PLA plastics – which means they’ll decompose after 51 days in a landfill, if they do end up there. Good for the body & good for the environment? Yes please.
A Boy Named Sue
Shopping for sustainable clothing may seem difficult in this city, especially when you’re on the hunt for various styles and aesthetics in one place. If this is the case, check out A Boy Named Sue – a one-stop online shop that sources its clothing from a range of designers and brands that ensure fair labour conditions are met and all materials are sustainable. As a local eco-boutique providing high-quality & chic garments from independent designers, you’ll know it’s worth the price-tag!
As a conscious fashion & lifestyle brand founded in Hong Kong, Cosmos Studios manufactures its clothing with sustainability as the ultimate priority. It started off on KickStarter with a project on creating “the most sustainable shirt in the world”, which is their Signature Poplin shirt, and now offers a range of timeless pieces with eco-friendly practices. They even innovated two extremely significant technologies that make sustainable manufacturing possible.
Hong-Kong based online brand A.C.F Clothing is a label for you to add into your wardrobes if you go after garments that offer style & comfort. With bold silhouettes and minimalistic styles, each garment is carefully-crafted with ethical consciousness in mind, while being functional & gender-neutral. Not only do they use vegan suede, wool, recycled denim & more, but A.C.F also promotes sustainable practices by mainly using deadstock fabrics in their collections that would have otherwise been discarded, placing a huge emphasis on the circular economy.
Though the brand doesn’t call itself “sustainable”, it does pride itself on its values of quality and transparency, providing modern essentials for men & women in classic silhouettes and minimalistic styles with “slow fashion” in mind. The company uses responsibly sourced fabrics such as Chinese silk (a personal favourite), Pima cotton, Mongolian cashmere and many more to design clothes that are meant to last.
You’ll know how easy it is to look fantastic during a workout once you wear activewear from Rumi. Known for its funky yoga and athletic leggings made of recycled water bottles and coffee grounds, it is an excellent option for those seeking sustainable garments for the gym. Their online range of sports bras, leggings, tanks & more come in various colors, prints and styles while being super soft, breathable & sweat-resistant. You can now feel good about yourself knowing that what you’re wearing isn’t going to leave a massive carbon footprint.
With a primary focus on empowering the local artisans in India that produce the collections, Aanya is based upon the foundations of quality craftsmanship while maintaining social responsibility. It offers ethical clothing options in bold, bohemian designs for the modern nomad and free-spirited – their playsuits are definitely a must-have for an ‘endless summer’ look!
Prefer shopping high-end luxury fashion but don’t want to buy something entirely new? Opt to shop at The Hula, an online marketplace offering pre-loved designer womenswear and accessories up to 90% off at retail price – with 5% of profits going to charities! The locally-based team goes through a process to ensure that everything is 100% authentic and meets quality standards – wearing second-hand never looked this good!
If you prefer using all natural body-care items, Coconut Matter is the place to be. The locally-based store is well-known for its prebiotic deodorant range that’s completely free of toxins & cruelty and packaged in a biodegradable stick. It also offers plastic-free lipsticks, body butter and oils that are great for the skin and easily limit the waste in your life.
Womb features hand-picked and carefully-curated brands with transparency and conscious manufacturing. The company supports brands with creative design solutions that are cruelty free and ensure fair wages. Womb offers everything between chic apparel and accessories to home decor including yoga mats that have been quite popular with the locals. Everything is responsibly sourced using eco-friendly materials and textiles – bringing forward a selection of brands that are making a significant impact when it comes to sustainability.
As the name suggests, Bamboa Home sells all things needed for a green home – whether it be towels, beddings, lifestyle goods or accessories like handbags & sunglasses. Everything in this store is built from locally harvested bamboo, guaranteed to be pesticide-free and biodegradable – so it isn’t just good for the environment but also looks cute at home. If you’re prone to allergies, opt for the hypoallergenic bamboo bedding which is great for sensitive skin.