Forget Iron Man and Captain America… For this week’s ‘8Shades Of’, we’re talking to one of Hong Kong’s real sustainability superheroes – Bertha Shum, co-founder of Earthero Project.
In addition to sharing tips for leading an eco-lifestyle on Earthero Project’s Instagram, Bertha also advises businesses on how they can be more sustainable and has created a sister line of amazing upcycled fashion, Wear Earthero.
We chat with Bertha about how to tell if a company is greenwashing, the importance of a conscious mindset and why raiding your cupboards is a good start to living more sustainably.
See also: Asia’s First Sustainable Wearable Art Exhibition
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do?
I’m a passionate sustainability blogger, curator of creative eco-solutions and artist and designer focused on sustainable wearable art.
2. Why are you an 8Shader?
I’ve always been interested in sustainability since college, but never really acted on it. As I left university and started my full-time job, I noticed how many disposable items were always lying around the office. I decided I should start doing something about it – and that’s when I started Earthero Project.
I believe small strides lead to big changes. My blog continues to advocate and celebrate important first steps that everyone can take to make the essential shift towards sustainability.
3. Fave eco products and brands?
– My favourite eco coffee-to-go: Clean
– My favourite eco packaging partner: Invisible Company
– My favourite kombucha: Taboocha
– My favourite food waste rescue app: Chomp
4. Fave veggie dishes in Hong Kong?
I love veggie ramen, so I’m a regular at Soulmate Ramen in Central. If I’m looking for something a little more creative, I’ll go to Miss Lee.
5. What is something about sustainable living that you think more people in Hong Kong should be aware of?
“Consciousness” is something that I always talk about and wish people thought about more. I believe with our current societal setting, it’s difficult to change our lifestyles immediately. However, we can start with being more conscious, giving second thoughts to what consequences our actions bring. It’s those single small actions that can change many things!
6. What are some simple steps towards sustainability that more Hong Kong companies can implement? And what are signs of greenwashing in businesses?
I believe education about sustainability is the first step. For people to change their lifestyles, they should first learn why they should even make those changes. Companies can then pick specific topics, especially those that are relevant to their businesses.
Some companies that are looking to “tick the boxes” mostly just do “green workshops” once or twice a year. However, there are no real changes in the company. I would look for companies that are more transparent about the eco-policies they have – for example, companies that are actively reducing their carbon footprint by sourcing locally or redesigning their packaging to be plastic free.
7. What are some simple tips for those looking to live more sustainably in Hong Kong? And what are some common misconceptions about a sustainable lifestyle?
Don’t be shy to ask to use your own containers anywhere! Many friends told me that they thought it wasn’t allowed or that they’d be embarrassed to ask in Chinese fast-food chains or even McDonald’s, but places are usually happy to comply.
A common misconception is that a sustainable lifestyle is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! You don’t need to buy new things that are branded as eco-friendly, especially because sometimes it can be difficult to verify. In fact, look in your cabinets and see what items you have already, and use them! By doing that, you’re getting a head start.
8. What shade of green are you?
I would say all shades. Like everyone else, living in a city where the sustainability movement is still progressing, I’m not a “perfectly green” person – but I’m moving along the scale!
Find out more about Earthero Project on their website and Instagram
NEXT: See all ‘8Shades Of‘ interviews
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