To celebrate Plastic Free July, we thought there was no better time to chat with our latest ‘8Shades Of’ interviewees – Devana Ng and Flavien Chaussegros, founders of Hong Kong’s very own revolutionary Invisible Company.
Invisible Company create amazing alternatives to traditional single-use plastic packaging, including their water-soluble, biodegradable #INVISIBLEBAG – and they’ve even made an #INVISIBLEPOOBAG especially for cleaning up after your furry friends too!
We talk to Devana and Flavien about their favourite eco-friendly products, why hiking inspired Invisible Company and how the government can tackle plastic waste in Hong Kong.
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do?
Flavien and I are partners-in-crime! We’re the co-founders of Invisible Company and our mission is to raise eco-awareness with responsible packaging while connecting a sustainable community together.
2. Why are you 8Shaders?
Back in 2018, we fell in love with hiking; however, among Hong Kong’s beautiful nature, we found so much food packaging, plastic bottles, tissue papers and other trash. Naturally, we started collecting the rubbish we found, but soon realised that we needed to do more and find an alternative to replace conventional plastic packaging – which is how Invisible Company began!
We launched in February 2020 with our water-soluble, biodegradable #INVISIBLEBAG and are currently working on R&D to develop other compostable, biodegradable materials to cover more applications in more industries – with the same DNA of becoming invisible over time.
3. What’s your best eco habit – and your guilty not-so green one?
I think there are no best or worst eco habits; rather, we should embrace every change and take small eco-actions that make us more conscious about reducing the negative impact on our environment. For instance, when it comes to clothes, we look for durable materials and shop second-hand; for food, we buy from wet markets to avoid packaging and process food waste with our home composting machine.
Doing these things consistently makes them into habits – and once they’ve become habits, being eco becomes the norm!
See also: 8 Simple Swaps For Single-Use Plastics
4. Fave eco products?
We look at products we use daily, then search for plastic-free, non-single use alternatives – and there are so many great conscious, ethical Hong Kong brands making a positive impact to our environment. I love Green Bitch’s toothpaste tablets, laundry pods and recycled tissues from Mil Mill and bulk-bought groceries from Toneedshed.
I also love local second-hand clothing shops like the social enterprise Retrovert, which empowers young mums and youngsters in Hong Kong. Hyginova, a certified-B Corp company that manufactures vegan cleaning products in Hong Kong, is another of my favourites.
5. Fave veggie dishes in Hong Kong?
Both Flavien and I are vegan; most of the time we cook at home and love exploring new vegan dishes. When we go out, we love Years as they are passionate about promoting vegan food to everyone. When it comes to traditional local food, dim sum is a must – we highly recommend Veggie Kingdom!
6. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced at Invisible Company?
Awareness is one of the biggest challenges – making people understand the product, see sustainability as an investment, support innovation and adopt new products and ways of doing things. It’s still a long journey and lots of time and effort is required to educate both brands and consumers but we believe that when the community joins together, we can inspire and make change!
Other challenges that many sustainable brands face are logistics-based costs and pandemic restrictions; like most people, we’ve suffered instability due to these issues over recent years. Often, being eco-friendly means doing good for the environment but at a premium – and it’s not always an easy path when we, our clients and our customers are challenged by these out-of-control factors.
7. What initiatives towards reducing plastic waste and consumption would you like to see in Hong Kong?
If we want to change the general public’s mindset towards reducing plastic consumption and waste, this should be pushed by government policy. This also has to come with a better understanding of the solutions available, with clear information so consumers can understand, make their own choices and avoid being misled into “greenwashing”.
If we want brands and manufacturers to reduce plastic packaging and switch to naked packaging or plastic-free alternatives, the government needs to help and support innovation. For instance, if they regulated or increased plastic prices, making it the same price as alternatives, then people would start considering more eco-friendly alternatives or looking for ways to reduce their consumption. Another way would be to ban plastic in some easily replaceable applications.
8. What shade of green are you?
Actually, one of our interns recently commented, “You must really like orange” – because for a green company, our website is so colourful!
We believe being green is about mindset and attitude – but we have to make it an everyday normal habit for everyone, and influence people to become green through colourful actions. Sustainability is only achieved when all communities join forces, rather than working alone!
NEXT: See all ‘8Shades Of‘ interviews
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