8 Weeks challenge – 8 reasons to go for a walk right now

8Shades invites you to join us… 
8 Weeks 
8 Challenges 
8 Giveaways 


Let us inspire you on how you can take small and intentional steps for a greener future. Join us every week for a new challenge, invite your friends and let’s have some fun! We have prizes from our generous
sponsors to reward the lucky winners.

Take a picture of yourself doing the challenge and post and tag us on
Instagram. If you complete all 8 challenges, you’re in for the chance to win the full hamper with all 8 prizes! Let’s play!


Our first week on 14th June kicks off on a lighter shade of green, inviting you all to go for a walk. Let me inspire you by sharing with you the 8 benefits of walking as a form of meditation.



WHY IS WALKING GOOD FOR YOU?

  1. Lower stress
    Us, city people are living in constant stress all the time, when you walk as a meditative practice. You can let your mind drift off a bit and take some deep breaths in to re-balance your thoughts.
  2. You get some exercise
    Walking is free, and costs you absolutely nothing. No matter where you are, you can just go for a walk and have some time to yourself to gather your thoughts.
  3. Improve your sleep
    The more active you are the more you will sleep better at night. A nice walk can help you reduce the stress and anxiety that modern life has put upon us on us.
  4. Increase focus
    Brisk walking has proven to help improve brain health and help keep your memory strong.
  5. Connect with nature
    The effect is real, it has been proven that spending time outside is good for you. If you can choose to take a walk where you can see some greenery, nature helps to heal.
  6. Boost your well-being and connect with nature Choose to walk somewhere where there are a lot of green, water or trees. You can try forest bathing – ( refer
    to our article here).
  7. Mindfulness and help you stay grounded
    Try focusing on your own breathing, pay attention on the movement of your body and You will learn to become
    more awareness and listen to your own thoughts and emotions.
  8. Lower carbon footprint
    When you are walking to your next destination, think of your personal carbon footprint. We can all make a difference. Do what we can and if possible, budget some surplus time and walk to your next destination.

Greenwashing? Take My Money… Not

It doesn’t take much to decode what the term ‘Greenwashing’ means, but just so we’re all clear, according to Cambridge Dictionary, Greenwashing is a strategy designed “to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.” 

Think of it like someone spray painting thousands of plastic spoons in green and stacking them one-by-one so that they resemble a lush tree. It looks nice from a distance, but if you dared to take a closer look, it’d make you feel like a fool (and the worst part is – you might start questioning every tree that you see.)

Source: China Water Risk

So no, Greenwashing is a no go. 

And here’s why. 

The minute a company decides to invest their money and resources into “branding” themselves as green, they are taking away funding and valuable time that could have been used to make a real difference. 

And when a Greenwashing strategy is implemented and seeded into the market, it does not only deceive well-intentioned consumers and mislead them into purchasing something that doesn’t support their belief, it also taints and contaminates the sustainability space, because the success of these marketing tactics often relies on stealing airtime and volume share from companies that are actually doing something about our planet. 


One way to not fall victim to Greenwashing is by being more skeptical of what’s being printed on the labels. Don’t blindly trust what the salesperson says. Do your research and educate yourself on what makes a product truly eco-friendly. Expand your green vocabularies. Know your facts, then tell your family and friends – because as consumers, we hold the power to shape our future. 

As the founder of Locofama, Larry Tang, says in our recent interview, “every dollar is a vote.” So let’s strive to live in a more mindful society and pay a bit more attention to what we’re voting for. At the end of the day, nobody wants to spend our hard-earned money on things that we don’t truly care for.

OmniFish is the new kid on the alt-protein block

8Shades was lucky enough to be invited to be part of the worldwide launch for OmniFood. After Green Monday successfully launched their OmniPork Series, they are making another huge wave of innovation and yet again, disrupting the plant-based industry.


We’ve all been anticipating what their next new innovation would be and the wait is finally over. OmniFood will be making a huge splash this summer by launching a full range of plant-based ‘fish’ which will include:

  • OmniClassic Fillet
  • OmniGolden fillet
  • OmniOcean burger
  • OmniTuna
  • OmniSalmon

The timing could not have been better with the recent talk of the town – that Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy. No worries if you haven’t seen it yet, check out our “Green Tomatoes” movie review by Rotten Tomatoes’ co-founder, Patrick Lee.

A steep trajectory of global population growth comes with a growing demand for food. With seafood currently making up around 17% of protein consumed globally and 73% being from Asia, we now know the price we will pay for maintaining this habit if we don’t do something about it.

Plant-based food, especially like the newly launched OmniSeafood line, will not only help alleviate the pressure from our oceans. It also gives our underwater ecosystem time to restore and recuperate from the burden of overfishing we inflict on it.


I believe that the OmniSeafood line will give us fish eaters an easily accessible and tasty (yes, I tried it and it’s YUMMY) alternative that doesn’t harm our oceans.

So where exactly can you try this plant-based protein from non-GMO soy, pea and rice?

Starting from 23 June, Green Common will roll out new menus with an ocean theme, introducing a series of exclusive dishes made with the OmniSeafood range.

Their tempting appetiser OmniTuna tartare and two piquant mains, spicy storm OmniFillet (OmniFish fried with crispy garlic and chili – OmniClassic Fillet) and lemon light OmniFillet (OmniGolden Fish in Lemon Sauce) will be exclusively available in Green Common Sheung Wan Nan Fung Place Branch.


Starting in July you can also try it at:

  • Cordis Hong Kong
  • Ming Court Wanchai

Some of these innovative delicacies include “Sautéed OmniClassic Fillet, Kung Po style”, “Fried OmniClassic Fillet with dry chilli, Sichuan style”, “Braised OmniClassic Fillet with spicy wine sauce” and “Sautéed OmniClassic Fillet with pumpkin in black truffle paste” which are made from OmniClassic Fillet, while “Steamed OmniGolden Fillet with preserved vegetables in preserved bean curd sauce” is an OmniGolden Fillet creation.

David Yeung, Founder and CEO of Green Monday Group and OmniFoods said, “We cannot tackle climate change without taking care of the ocean. We can wow our taste buds. But also to awaken our consciousness towards the ocean and the planet.”


Well, we love David’s quote at 8Shades, because who says eating food that is sustainable and good for the earth can’t be accessible with five-star quality. So, what’s a better way to make the world a shade greener than by skipping meat for a meal and experiencing this culinary deliciousness. Maybe I will see you there!

Second-hand shopping is second to none

Dear Shoppers,

Please make second-hand your first choice.

With gratitude,

The Planet (and Your Wallet.)

Hongkongers’ shopping habits are among the unhealthiest in the world: our reliance on buying more and buying new takes a huge toll on the environment. Each day, 293 tonnes of textiles end up in our landfills. Insert second-hand shopping: a fantastic way to satiate our shopaholic urges without inflicting more environmental harm.

Although Hong Kong is famed as a shopping paradise, did you know that our city also provides unparalleled opportunities to shop second-hand without sacrificing style or quality? 


Source: Hula

I LOVE IT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE PAYS FULL PRICE FIRST

The first store we want to spotlight is Hula, a female-founded marketplace that sells pre-loved designer womenswear and luxury goods. Hula revolutionizes the idea of a dusty and unstylish second-hand market. At Hula, you will find snazzy brand-name pieces (think Valentino, Chanel, Celine, Dior, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton) at bargain prices of up to 95% off retail. You can shop Hula’s curated collection online, or visit their boutique store in Central to see their unbelievable finds in person. We also love Hula because it has pledged 5% of their profits to local charities.


Source: Retykle

I’M NOT A REGULAR MUM. I’M A COOL MUM

RETYKLE is an online marketplace for parents to buy designer children’s clothing at greatly reduced prices. Retykle was founded by a #momtrepeneur who realized that she had amassed a ton of unworn or barely worn babywear, childrenswear, and even maternity-wear. Given that babies speed through a whopping seven sizes of clothing in the first two years of their lives, Retykle is on a mission to keep these outgrown clothes out of landfills. 


Source: Luxford

SHOPAHOLICS: CONSIGN YOUR FATE HERE

Second-hand shopping is not just a one-way street. Even the best shoppers make mistakes: many of us own designer pieces that lie idly in our closet, many with price tags still attached. Missed the deadline to return your items? Luxford (aka affordable luxury) is a virtual marketplace that sells and consigns authenticated luxury menswear and womenswear garments and accessories. At Luxford, you can sell and extend the life cycle for your own luxury goods. Talk about a win-win. 

Additionally, check out Green Ladies, a consignment store in Wan Chai where you can both spice up or clean out your wardrobe. The company is committed to empowering middle-aged women to re-enter the workforce with confidence and style. 

Green Tomatoes by Patrick Lee: Kiss the Ground Review

In this second review of my Green Tomatoes series, we move from the sea with Seaspiracy, to land – with the documentary Kiss the Ground. 

Source: Kiss The Ground

Let’s start by analyzing the Rotten Tomatoes score for this film:

Kiss the Ground has a Tomatometer score of 88% (8 reviews) and an audience score of 99% (500+ ratings). The Tomatometer and audience scores are very high, even higher than Seaspiracy, but there aren’t a lot of reviews yet. Like Seaspiracy, the score could fluctuate quite a bit as more reviews are added. However, it’s likely that more reviews will not be added for this film.

Kiss the Ground is a documentary that espouses the virtues of ‘Regenerative Agriculture’. Prior to watching this documentary, I had never come across this term before. 

Source: Kiss The Ground

So what is ‘Regenerative Agriculture’?

From Wikipedia:

“Regenerative agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting biosequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil.”

For more on Regenerative Agriculture, check out our article on 8Shades:

IS REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE THE ONLY WAY FORWARD?

On its face, the “Regenerative Agriculture” approach makes sense. Conventional methods of farming lead to short term gains, but degrades the soil and reduces long term productivity. The documentary drives this point home quite well with before and after shots of deserts and dust bowls that are transformed into lush fields of green.

The film is narrated by Woody Harrelson and features plenty of cameos from climate-conscious celebrities including Jason Mraz, Giselle, Patricia Arquette, and more. The message is hopeful and positive; and I especially like that it lays out concrete solutions. If we can fix the ground, we can fix the planet. While it’s likely not the whole solution, the film makes a compelling argument that this is a step in the right direction.

Patrick’s recommendation: Enjoyable, informative, and easy to watch. Definitely recommend!

Is your cocktail eco-unfriendly?

Alcohol is generally an unsustainable industry; a 750ml bottle of liquor produces, on average, nearly 3kgs of CO2. So which alcoholic drink is the greenest? It’s tough to say, since production methods, distillation techniques and ingredients vary from bottle to bottle of even the same kinds of spirits. Instead, let’s look at each drink individually and determine how sustainable they really are.


DRINK LESS OF THESE (THEY’RE LESS SUSTAINABLE)

Source: Flor De Cana

RUM

Rum is derived from sugarcane, a notoriously unsustainable crop, associated with biodiversity loss, water and soil pollution, erosion and harmful slash-and-burn harvesting methods. Thankfully, organic rum at least takes chemical pesticides and fertilisers out of the production process but it can be tricky to find.

We like: Flor de Caña rum. It’s fair-trade-certified, running on 100% renewable energy, also with a carbon-neutral certification. 

Source: Mijenta

TEQUILA

With tequila, firstly, you’re unlikely to find a local distiller living in Hong Kong; it must trace the origins of its agave (tequila’s base ingredient) to the Tequila region in Mexico to bear the name, making transportation emissions inevitable. Secondly, agave is slow-growing and vulnerable to pests, leading to increased pesticide use. Production also releases acidic waste called vinaza; for every litre of tequila produced, about 10 litres of vinaza is released, which seeps into waterways. 

We like: Mijenta Tequila Blanco which makes its labels out of agave waste and uses eco-certified packaging.

VODKA & GIN

Most vodkas are made from a mix of grains, such as corn, rice, rye and sorghum (and sometimes potatoes, too). The same goes for gin (with added juniper berries and other botanicals). During the distillation process, which usually accounts for the largest percentage of an alcoholic beverage’s effect on the environment, vodka is distilled to nearly pure ethanol before bottling, using more energy and water than other booze. Gins are often made the same way.

We like: Reyka vodka, whose distillation process is powered by geothermal energy. Cooper King herb gin is made by a distillery that runs on 100% green energy, and produces its gin using “vacuum distillation,” the process of distilling alcohol under reduced pressure compared to typical methods in order to save energy.


DRINK MORE OF THESE (THEY’RE MORE SUSTAINABLE)

WINE

While most vineyards are monocultures that typically rely on herbicides and pesticides, industry bodies and even governments are intervening to make wine production more eco-friendly.

In France, vineyards cover about 3% of agricultural land but represent about 20% of pesticide use. The government has subsequently introduced new environmental standards that require a 50% reduction in chemical spraying by 2025. Around the world, sustainability is becoming the new normal, with many regions requiring its wine producers to be certified sustainable. 

The wine industry produces less waste than other alcohols, but a general rule when it comes to wine is… location. The distance the booze has to travel significantly impacts its carbon footprint. 

We like: Cork Culture, an online wine store devoted to low-intervention and sustainable wines in Hong Kong. 

Source: HK Beer Co

BEER

Brewing beer is a water and energy intensive process that generates a significant amount of solid waste, but brewers are increasingly investing in environmentally sustainable equipment. Shipping cans rather than bottles results in 30% fewer emissions and cans are recycled at significantly higher rates than bottles. 

We like: Hong Kong Beer Co is continuously investing in sustainable initiatives, recycling its glass bottles to reduce CO2 usage. 


At the end of the day, whatever your tipple might be, there are some things you can do to reduce the carbon footprint; look for locally made drinks, buy in bulk and be mindful of the packaging. Now don’t worry, we’re not telling you to ditch booze completely, we know how rewarding an (8Shades cocktail from Penicillin) is after a long week, but small tweaks will give you peace of mind that you’re not placing unnecessary strain on the planet’s resources.

Cheers to that!

Let’s celebrate coral reefs on World Reef Day

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH REEFS

1st of June is World Reef Day, and if you think that has zero relevance to us who live in Hong Kong, then maybe it’s time to dig deeper.

According to ABC news, a quarter of the world’s coral has disappeared in the last 30 years and all coral reefs could be wiped out completely by the end of the century if nothing is changed. The impact of that is far beyond just losing a tourist attraction when we are allowed to travel again. 

Source: Raw Elements

MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE

Coral reefs are home to thousands of organisms under the sea, and these colourful underwater umbrellas provide the perfect shelter for fish and other marine animals and protect them during spawning season. Not to mention they can effortlessly feed a wide range of sea creatures, including the seafood we consume. Speaking of feeding, over 25% of the ocean’s fish are dependant to healthy coral, and nearly half a billion people depend on reefs as sources of food and income. Net net, the healthier the reefs, the healthier the ocean, the richer our community. 

Source: The Correspondent

BUT HERE COMES THE PLOT TWIST: THEY ARE DYING

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders but unfortunately, it is not living up to the hype in recent years because of a drastic 40 percent drop in its reefs count. The numbers are even more shocking in other parts of the world, for example along the Florida Keys and Caribbean, they both saw an 85 to 95 percent of reef decline.

We don’t need a Marine Science degree to understand how human activities are contributing to the dying of these helpless reefs. Global warming is a huge factor because it increases the sea temperature and coral reefs are very sensitive to their local environment. Industrial pollution is also another big threat, so are chemicals from our sunscreens, the plastic we use, irresponsible tourism… you get the point. 

WORLD REEF DAY

World Reef Day is an initiative launched in 2019 by Raw Elements natural sunscreen along with the support of Hawaiian Airlines and Aqua-Aston Hospitality. The objective is not only to educate the public on the poor state of our coral reefs, but to also spark conversations and actions to support sustainability.

At 8Shades, we believe every action counts, and a small, simple lifestyle change can go a long way. So next time when you’re debating whether it’s worth taking the extra steps to recycle your plastics, think about the reefs.

Or this summer when you head down to the beach, try using a reef-safe sunscreen instead (click here for our top 5 eco-sunscreens recommendations), because the choices we make today will eventually sink in, hit the bottom of the ocean, then float back up and smack us in the face.      

Is Regenerative agriculture the only way forward?

Regenerative agriculture is a rehabilitation approach to farming. This might sound very foreign and distant, but modern agriculture is in deep shtook and it’s affecting all of us. 

The root of the problem lies in the soil (yes, another pun). About one-third of the world’s topsoil is acutely degraded. According to the United Nations, if current practices continue, a complete degradation will hit us within the next 60 years. How did it get so bad you ask? Well, we only have ourselves to blame. 

Source: Local Futures

GREED IS NOT SUSTAINABLE 

Synthetic fertilizer, pesticide and fungicide… these are things our ancestors invented to yield more crops. Think of them as steroids and antibiotics, and the soil as our body. When your body is greeted with drugs everyday and becomes reliant on them, it loses its ability to adapt and fight off any illnesses. In this case, these chemicals constrain the nutrient level and resilience of our soil, impacting the quality and quantity of crops. 

IT’S SO(IL) SIMPLE

Soil births our crops and it’s home to microorganisms like bacteria, fungi and nematodes that are crucial to protecting the plants from insects and diseases. A humble 1% increase in organic matters not only improves the health of the crops, but also boosts the soil’s water holding capacity by 20,000 gallons per acre. A bigger capacity means stronger resilience in plants and therefore a better chance of them surviving droughts and floods. Net net, healthier soil means more and better crops to feed the world.

Source: Kiss the Ground

BUT WAIT, ISN’T SOIL BASICALLY DIRT?

Remember learning about photosynthesis in primary school? That’s when plants breathe in carbon dioxide and let out oxygen. Have you ever wondered what sends nutrients to grow these hero leaves and stems? Soil. And what takes the carbon and turns it into fuel for microbes? Also soil.

Let’s not forget about the most effortless contribution of soil – reducing greenhouse gases. By simply existing and with a cost of zero, soil can sequester and store carbon for up to one thousand years. Until, of course, some farmer ploughs through it with a heartless machine and releases it right back into the atmosphere. 

Source: Cool Farm Tool

THE FUTURE IS HOPEFUL

Regenerative agriculture introduces techniques such as drilling seeds into the soil instead of ploughing); moving cattle around to avoid overgrazing; rotating crops with livestock grazing; and here’s our favourite from our documentary of the month “Kiss the Ground” – keeping poop in the loop (maximising compost). All these practices are designed to inject life back into the soil and reverse the damage we’ve done. 

While no one is expecting us to put on our farmer boots and work the soil, acknowledging the issue, spreading the word and making small donations are solid ways to show our support. 

Donation Recommendations:

THE 101 on HAVING A PLASTIC FREE PERIOD

To end May on a high, we are celebrating International Menstruation Day today on the 28th May! We are wrapping up our period series this month with our top picks for a plastic period.

IF IT’S NOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL HIT, MAKE THE SWITCH

When using tampons, look for those with cardboard applicators, which unlike their plastic counterparts, are totally biodegradable. Did you know that there is no scientific evidence that plastic applicators are better for women’s bodies than cardboard or applicator-free tampons? Check out TOTM, LOLA, and Natracare for plastic-free tampons (and even pads) that don’t sacrifice any of the comfort and security we need each month.


UNCOMMON THINKERS REUSE WHAT COMMON THINKERS REFUSE

Source: DAME

Some women are hesitant to make the switch to cardboard applicators because they offer less glide than a plastic applicator. Cue DAME, creator of the world’s first reusable tampon applicator, made of antibacterial medical-grade material that offers the comfort of a plastic applicator. While DAME’s reusable applicator can be used with any standard tampon, whatever the brand, DAME also sells its own line of biodegradable tampons that are made from organic cotton and free from the bleach, rayon, fragrances, pesticides that are found in traditional tampons. 


I SEE LONDON, I SEE FRANCE, I SEE PERIOD UNDERPANTS

Source: ModiBodi

Period-proof underwear provides another environmentally friendly alternative to disposable menstrual products. The underwear is made of absorbent material that can hold one to two tampons’ worth of menstrual flow, and can be popped into the wash at the end of the day. Check out Sustain, Aisle and Modibodi for period-proof underwear that’s made of sustainable fabrics and comes in a wide-variety of styles, ranging from full briefs to skimpy thongs, that match seamlessly with any outfit. 


THE BEST CUP YOU NEVER HAD

Source: Luuna

The menstrual cup has become the fan favorite in terms of zero-waste period products. The reusable bell-shaped device is made of medical-grade silicone, which reduces the risk of toxic shock syndrome that accompanies tampons. Worn internally, the cup sits low in the vaginal canal and collects, rather than absorbs, menstrual flow. The menstrual cup is also hugely cost-effective, especially when considering the cumulative costs of buying hundreds of tampons and pads each year.

Unlike tampons that need to be changed several times throughout the day, menstrual cups are virtually leak-free and hold three times the volume of a pad or tampon. When full, the cup can be simply removed, emptied, washed and reinserted. At 8Shades, our menstrual cup of choice is from Hong Kong-based social impact period care company, Luüna Naturals.

3 Perfectly sustainable dish cloths for around the house

It’s well-known that Hong Kong is not as good as they could be at being sustainable. If the world lived like Hong Kong, we would need nearly four Earths to sustain us all! 

In 2019, 5.67 million tonnes of waste was generated, of which 29% was recycled and the rest went to landfills. Households can do more to reduce the amount of waste they produce by simply looking at their cleaning products. Dish cloths may seem an innocuous culprit, but they add to the textile waste filling up the city’s landfills. Let’s play our part and start small. Here are our top 3 eco-friendly dish cloths and where to get them. 


ORGANIC WAFFLE KITCHEN TOWEL

Source: Coyuchi

These kitchen towels have a super unique composition- they are waffle-weaved, which means that the surface area of the towel can expand to soak up more liquid (it also helps it dry faster). Yarn-dyed, they have a soft colour that will endure through hard work and frequent washing. These towels are made with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)- certified 100% organic cotton.

Further, the factory they’re made in in India recycles 98% of its waste-water, so the product is sustainable at its source! 

We found this set of 6 at Coyuchi.com for USD$48 (HKD$370). 


COTTON CLEANING CLOTH

Made of cotton, this cloth is soft, yet durable. Cotton as a material is very sustainable and is able to biodegrade in environments with oxygen (like a compost heap) or without, albeit more slowly (like landfills). While the speed of its biodegradability depends on certain environmental conditions, like the amount of oxygen and water present, temperature, etc., cotton is generally able to biodegrade in about five months

Find it on slowood.hk. They’re slightly pricier than non-sustainable cloths (around HDK80 for one) but they will last longer! 


CELLULOSE DISH CLOTH

This one that we found is made with 100% compostable German cellulose wood pulp. In general, cellulose fibres like modal, viscose and lyocell are extracted from plant-based materials and are recyclable, biodegradable and dye well, resulting in less chemical pollution. This cloth is made with 30% cotton and 70% cellulose wood pulp.

As for the cloth itself, it is super absorbent, with one able to replace up to 15 rolls of paper. It’s also machine washable and dries quickly without a smell, so it is perfect for humid Hong Kong weather.

We found this on hktvmall.com for HKD$52 for a pack of 5. 


Our cleaning products are a small part of our lives, but that’s what makes them so easy to change! Being less wasteful starts in our own lives and if we can encourage others to follow our lead, we could save a lot of waste from being produced!