Ellie Furuya Rii Swim

8Shades Of… Ellie Furuya Of Rii Swim

In our latest edition of ‘8Shades Of’, we’re talking to lifestyle influencer turned swimwear designer, Ellie Furuya. A former social media manager and regional programmer at National Geographic, you might recognise Ellie from Instagram (@furellie), where she shares beauty tips, travel snaps and delicious eats with her 50k followers.

Ellie has now taken the plunge into fashion design by founding her own eco-conscious swimwear line, Rii Swim; its entire range of sleek, sophisticated designs are made from Econyl, a revolutionary recycled fabric created from ocean waste.

We chat with Ellie about her eco habits, fave veggie dishes and what inspired her to create sustainable swimwear: 

Source: Rii Swim

1. In one sentence, tell us what you do?

I design swimwear that fuses timeless style with eco-innovation.

2. Why are you an 8Shader? 

I learned so much about climate change and plastic pollution during my time at National Geographic. The brand’s culture of sustainability permeated our daily working routine to the extent that it became engrained; I became much more conscious of my habits around waste and plastic consumption. It was also heart-breaking to see animals affected by our consumption habits daily, so I’m glad I found Econyl fabric – it takes discarded harmful fishing nets and regenerates them into recyclable eco-nylon.

3. What’s your best eco habit – and your guilty not-so green one?

My best eco habit is bringing my litre water bottle everywhere I go! It really cuts down on the beverages I purchase on-the-go in the long run. My not-so-green one is ordering takeaway food on delivery apps.

Source: Rii Swim

4. Fave eco product or brand?

The brand that inspired me to start my Econyl swimwear line was Mara Hoffman; I love her simple, minimalistic swimwear styles. Her range also uses Econyl, which I found to be just as high quality and luxurious feeling as swimwear that uses standard nylon, which requires crude oil for its production.

5. Fave veggie dish in Hong Kong?

I recently had a Japanese mountain yam with summer vegetables and spring onion dashi dish by Shane Osborn at his Tatler Dining Kitchen pop-up for The Arcane Collective that completely blew me away! Other veggie dishes I really like here are the beignets de fleurs de courgette with marinara sauce at LPM Restaurant & Bar, grilled peaches with labneh at Bedu, harissa-roasted cauliflower at Maison Libanaise and Impossible chilli fries at The Butcher’s Club Burger… Sorry, I couldn’t pick just one!

6. What was the most challenging aspect of developing an eco-conscious swimwear line?

Trying to stay consistently eco-friendly in all aspects of the brand, especially packaging. There are so many minuscule details that are easy to overlook when you’re starting a business with no prior knowledge in the area – things like finding recycled paper to print labels and tags on. 

Source: Rii Swim

7. What’s your ultimate goal for Rii Swim?

To normalise the use of eco-friendly fabric in swimwear, and for people to reduce wastage when buying swimwear. To be super honest, I used to be one of those people who would buy swimsuit after swimsuit online and end up with a pile of never-used swimwear stashed away in my closet. My hope is that these essential and timeless designs will stay with their owners forever, given the proper love and care.

8. What shade of green are you and why? 

Emerald green. I’ve always found it to be such a versatile colour that isn’t too loud or overbearing yet screams elegance – and it’s the best shade of green to wear as an accessory or statement shoe colour. 

Follow Ellie on Instagram @furellie and learn more about Rii Swim

See also: 8Shades Of… Peggy Chan of Grassroots Initiatives

world car-free day

The History of World Car-Free Day

Besides Mid-Autumn Festival, September 22 was also World Car-Free Day and, as its name suggests, an opportunity to highlight the benefits of going car-free and encourage motorists to give up their car for a day. Not only would ditching cars reduce air pollution and traffic, as well as encourage more pedestrian-friendly spaces, it would also boost our health thanks to the promotion of walking and cycling.

Never heard of World Car-Free Day? Get to know its history and importance, as well as how you can celebrate it not only on September 22 but well beyond.

world car free day graphic

History of World Car-Free Day

The history of World Car-Free Day goes back to the 1970s, when several events were organised during the oil crisis (when prices of oil surged, affecting economies of several countries). However, these events weren’t organised on a specific date until 1994, when environmental activist Eric Britton gave a speech about the importance of these projects and events. Over the next two years, local events were organised in the UK, Iceland and France and in 1999, an International Car-Free Day was organised in Europe. In 2000, it was agreed that World Car-Free Day would be celebrated on 22 September every year. 

Its Importance

Motor vehicles emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which are major contributors of global warming. In Hong Kong, transportation is the second-largest source of greenhouse gases, representing around 14% of total emissions! World Car-Free Day is celebrated to help the environment and bring awareness to the small actions that we can take, like walking or cycling to our destination, or even taking public transportation. 

How You Can Celebrate World Car-Free Day

Beyond the obvious suggestions of walking or cycling to your destination, you can bring awareness to this important day through social media or word-of-mouth. Make a habit of it with your family or friends – go on a picnic to a park (walking or cycling to the park, of course) or find a cycling trail to spend the day on; Hong Kong has no shortage of amazing cycling trails! 

cycling trail hong kong

You could even challenge your friends to see who can go the longest without using their car, or who can come up with the most creative way of getting around. Loser has to buy dinner!

By doing our part to reduce air pollution, congestion and traffic this World Car-Free Day and beyond, we’ll all be making the world a shade greener.

See also: How to Deal With Climate Anxiety

How To Have A Sustainable Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival is a multifold celebration of family cheer – feasting on mooncakes and marvelling at the full moon. However, there’s a darker side to the festival of lights. Discarded paper lanterns, neon glow sticks, mooncake packaging and all those uneaten treats are sadly going straight to landfill once all the festivities are over.

More than ever, we should be examining the traditions we hold and looking for methods to minimise the waste produced annually during this exciting time – an amount that can reportedly go up to 2.66 million mooncakes! Here are a few ways to have a more sustainable Mid-Autumn Festival:

Donate your extra mooncakes

Source: Rosewood Hong Kong

Like the change in your pocket, give your extra mooncakes away to avoid food wastage. It’s reported that Hong Kong households throw away an average of 1.67 mooncakes, mostly due to receiving too many as gifts or not being able to eat them all in time.

If you find yourself with mooncakes to spare, two organisations that will gladly accept your seconds is Food Angel and Food Grace. From now until 29 September 2021, you can bring your unopened mooncakes to one of their 21 collection points across town to be donated to the less fortunate. 

Reuse or recycle mooncake packaging

Source: Rosewood Hong Kong

From tin boxes to elaborate gift sets, let’s face it,  each year mooncake packaging gets a bit more elaborate with light-up boxes, boxes within boxes, and even boxes that are touted as ‘designer totes’. Look for mooncakes that are wrapped in sustainable packaging (like the ones from Rosewood Hong Kong in 100% recycled paper) or find a way t0 repurpose the mooncake boxes – storing jewellery is one idea.

If not, recycling them is your best bet (although the best option is to minimise the number of boxes you buy). Hong Kong organisations that offer collection points for your discarded mooncake packages include Sino Group and Greeners Action

Avoid neon glow sticks and choose reusable lanterns

Source: Nick Gavrilov/Unsplash

According to the “Mid-Autumn Survey” by Green Power, around 30% of all Hong Kong families purchase glow sticks for Mid-Autumn Festival, and each family uses and throws away around 50 sticks. As the glow sticks themselves cannot be reused or recycled, this amounts to a huge amount of waste. Plus, the sticks are filled with toxic chemicals that can harm the skin and eyes if leaked, not to mention pollute the soil and water.

As for lanterns, which are an essential part of Mid-Autumn Festival, opt for a paper lantern that can easily be recycled, or a plastic one that can be reused year after year. Why not make it a tradition instead of replacing it with something new each time?

See also: 8 Sustainable Red Carpet Moments From The Met Gala 2021

honey banner

The Truth About… Honey

Ask a vegan why they made the lifestyle shift and often they’ll tell you that it’s to minimise animal exploitation and cruelty. We know that vegans avoid eating animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, as well as foods made from these products. However, what about foods made from insects, like honey? Are bees harmed to satisfy our sweet tooth? 

Honey is a controversial food among vegans and is probably the product most frequently mistaken as being vegan-friendly. There is a common myth that honey bees make their honey especially for us, but this isn’t true. 

honey

To make the most money, many commercial bee farmers use unethical business practices, including clipping the wings of queen bees to prevent them from fleeing the hive and killing off entire colonies to prevent the spread of disease. 

Essentially, honey farming exploits bees and threatens their health. Honey is intended to provide bees with carbohydrates and other essential nutrients like antioxidants, amino acids and natural antibiotics. Bees store honey and consume it over the winter months, helping them to stay healthy and survive during cold weather. When it is sold, the honey is taken away from bees and is often replaced with sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup. However, this doesn’t provide bees with the nutrients found in honey and these artificial sweeteners could harm the bees’ immune systems. 

honey bee

The number of bees worldwide is declining rapidly; just in the US, honey bees declined from about 6 million hives in 1947 to 2.4 million in 2008, a 60% reduction! With the planet getting warmer, and human development damaging bees’ habitats, this number is likely much lower now. 

Bees are vitally important for us and our health; they pollinate plants when they collect nectar, allowing plants to produce fruits and seeds so that new plants can be made. When bees thrive, plants thrive, and that’s important for us to have a sustainable source of food!

Vegan Alternatives for Honey

Here are some of the most common plant-based options that can replace honey:

  • Maple syrup – made from the sap of the maple tree, maple syrup is a healthy option, containing several vitamins and minerals with more than 20 protective antioxidants.
  • Blackstrap molasses – this comes from boiling sugar cane and is a thick, dark-brown liquid. Another healthy option, blackstrap molasses is rich in iron and calcium.
  • Barley malt syrup – with a golden colour and a flavour similar to that of blackstrap molasses, barley malt syrup is a sweetener made from sprouted barley. 
  • Brown rice syrup – this is made by exposing brown rice to enzymes that break down the starch found in rice to produce a thick, dark-coloured syrup. It’s also known as rice or malt syrup.
  • Date syrup – as the name suggests, date syrup is made by extracting the liquid portion of cooked dates. You can make it at home by blending boiled dates with water.
date syrup

The next time you have a smoothie or cup of tea, consider drizzling it with one of these plant-based options instead – the future health of bees (and humans) could depend on it! This is arguably the easiest thing that we can do in our personal lives to protect the future of these vital insects. Many of these plant-based options are identical in taste and can be used in the same way, so there’s very little extra effort needed on your part! 

See also: 8 Plant-Based Milk Alternatives

Would You Eat Bugs to Save the Planet?

Does the sound of grasshopper burgers or cricket flour gross you out? What about fly ice cream? As global warming accelerates, entomophagy – or eating insects – may be an alternative to those who want to go even further in reducing their carbon footprint through diet.

Entomophagy is a novel solution to ensure sustainable food production for years to come. Insects are incredibly easy to raise because they reproduce quickly and they’re incredibly high in protein, as well – certain insects, such as caterpillars, have as much as 35 grams of protein per 100 grams of edible portion, as opposed to 21g and 20g for beef and chicken respectively. 

Raising insects to eat is also less environmentally damaging. Producing animal meat for human consumption is extremely resource-intensive; producing 1 gram of protein from chicken requires two to three times as much land and 50% more water than that of mealworms. However, producing beef requires up to 14 times as much land and five times as much water than mealworms! Also, livestock production represents 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions, which insect production would decrease! 

Another benefit of producing edible insects is that they can be raised on food waste, which is great because we waste so much food – a third of all food intended for us to eat is wasted or lost every year! A farm in Singapore is raising fly larvae on food waste, and a startup in Malaysia is also raising these larvae for use in burgers and ice cream

cricket flour

However, despite these benefits, convincing people who’ve never eaten insects before to eat them instead of beef or chicken is difficult. Even though insects are widely eaten in many countries in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, people in Western countries may not be so eager to try. However, those who find insects unappetising don’t have to eat the insect whole. As mentioned above, you can find burgers and ice cream made from fly larvae, cookies made with cricket flour and pasta from grasshopper flour. In Switzerland, mealworm burgers are sold in supermarkets and mealworm meatballs will soon be in Ikea cafes. Hiding insects in everyday foods makes encouraging entomophagy so much easier! 

caterpillar entomophagy

We also need to change the perception towards insects as a whole, which can be done with wider adoption and education; after all, sushi was considered “radical” in the 1970s and 1980s, and now it’s arguably one of the most widely-known foods in Western countries! 

sushi

If you’re still not convinced that eating bugs is the way to go, perhaps you could start by simply cutting your meat consumption by one day a week. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our picks of the best vegan restaurants in Hong Kong! 

See also: Meatless Monday: Impossible Japanese Potato Croquettes Recipe

climate anxiety

How to Deal With Climate Anxiety

Day after day, it feels like we’re bombarded with news of yet another climate change-caused disaster – scorching hot heatwaves, flooding, devastating storms or wildfires, just to name a few. It can definitely feel like an overwhelming, never-ending avalanche of bad news, causing stress and anxiety to our daily lives. As climate change worsens, we will likely hear more of this kind of news, so until we clean up our act and turn things around, we need to learn how to deal with what is called “climate anxiety” – which is anxiety related to the global climate crisis and the threat of environmental disaster. Here are a few ways:

Seek Community Support

Connect with groups, people and causes that you identify with. This could mean getting involved in community garden schemes, climate protests and organisations that lobby governments to make the large-scale changes needed to curb the climate crisis.

climate anxiety

As an 8Shades reader, you’ve already taken the first step in joining a community that cares about climate change, so good for you! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter so that you can stay updated on our latest news and upcoming events to meet up in-person.

Reduce Your Personal Carbon Footprint 

There are many aspects of global warming that normal people can’t control – did you know that since 1988, just 100 companies are responsible for producing 70% of the world’s carbon emissions? However, there are some things that we can do in our lives to reduce our personal carbon footprint:

Reduce your consumption of animal products – this doesn’t have to be the difficult sacrifice you may think. Nowadays, there are many great meat alternative options on the market, like OmniFoods, Impossible and Beyond. However, if giving up meat isn’t an option for you, opt for products that have the least negative environmental impact, like chicken, turkey and fish. Take part in Meatless Monday, experimenting with new delicious meat-free dishes, or commit to giving up meat for lunches. 

See also: 8 Real Benefits of Going Meatless

climate anxiety

Opt for public transport – Instead of taking taxis or cars everywhere, use public transport. Use the extra commuting time as an opportunity to catch up on podcasts or audio books, or even getting a head start on work emails. 

Take Time Out From the Bad News

climate anxiety

Spending your time doom-scrolling through news sites might keep you informed, but it can seriously affect your mental health. When you start to feel a bit overwhelmed, step away from the news for a few hours or days. It won’t change what’s happening in the world, and you’ll be able to keep your sanity intact. 

Instead, follow ‘good news’ accounts such as @somegoodnews for a bit of cheer in your day. The world isn’t as bad as you think!

Don’t let climate anxiety get the best of you – hopefully these tips will help you to be able to control the negative feelings or even motivate you to become more active in fighting against climate change. If we all commit to making small changes in our life, this will translate to bigger changes! 

Sign up for the 8Shades weekly newsletter to get all our top stories in your inbox!

See also: 8 Plant-Based Foodies to Follow on Instagram

redress design award 2021 jessica chang taiwan

Meet the Winners of the Redress Design Award 2021

Last Saturday (11 September 2021), Hong Kong-based NGO Redress, which is working to reduce waste in the fashion industry, held its Redress Design Award Grand Final fashion show. Here are the winners of the awards and everything else you missed.

Redress Design Award

As the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition, the Redress Design Award challenges designers to turn various waste materials into clothing in an effort to activate circular fashion. This year’s competition saw applications from designers in 58 countries and regions. From here, 10 finalists were chosen who were then tasked with sourcing local waste – including everything from end-of-roll, samples, secondhand clothing, school uniforms, boat covers and damaged camping equipment to place mats – to create their menswear and womenswear competition collections. In the run up to the Grand Final, the finalists took part in 10 days of digital immersive educational challenges and masterclasses. 

In a first for the Redress Design Award Grand Final, finalists produced four outfits physically with a fifth item projected using virtual models, creating a digital-hybrid experience using innovative technology. 

The 2021 winner

And the winner of the Redress Design Award 2021 is…Taiwanese designer Jessica Chang! Her winning collection wowed the judges due to its strong marketability while bringing waste back into designs that connect with and inspire consumers. Jessica will now join global outdoor lifestyle fashion brand, Timberland, to create a sustainable design project. During this time, Jessica will also work closely with VF Corporation’s (the parent company of Timberland) Sustainability and Responsibility team to gain valuable insights from across the supply chain, including responsible design and marketing. 

redress design awards 2021
Jessica Chang’s winning designs.

On winning, Jessica says, “Winning this chance to work with Timberland is a life-changer for me. Entering this complex industry as an emerging designer is daunting because, so often, everywhere we look we see bad news and complexity. We know we can bring change. Yet it is hard to magnify our big ideas as start-up designers. The Redress Design Award has given me confidence – we are all in this together to make a positive change!”

Below is a complete list of the Redress Design Award 2021 winners:

redress design awards 2021
Runner-Up Jin Pei-Wen

All 2021 finalists and semi-finalists will now join the Redress Design Award Alumni Network, which now includes over 200 designers from around the world. 

redress design awards 2021
A design from the Alumni Network show.

Did you know?

Every second, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is landfilled or incinerated globally, and textile waste is estimated to increase by 60% by 2030. Designers are said to influence around 80% of a product’s environmental impact, which is why education is core to each Redress Design Award cycle and why the competition as a whole is so important in fighting fashion waste. 

Christina Dean, Redress founder, says, “Fashion’s waste rates are unacceptable and change is not happening fast enough. Whilst recycling technology engineers search in labs for breakthrough recycling solutions and the finance community dither about financing much-needed recycling start-ups, Redress is increasingly promoting hyper-local waste sourcing solutions, spearheaded by fashion designers. Every textile deserves a second life.”

Since the competition started 11 years ago, the Redress Design Awards is now the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition, aiming to encourage a shift to circular economies and reduce fashion’s negative environmental impacts. 

Click play to watch the Grand Final Fashion Show of the Redress Design Award 2021 below:

Like this story? Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram @8shadesofficial for regular updates!

See also: The least and most sustainable fabrics

met gala 2021 sustainable fashion red carpet billie eilish ella emhoff nia dennis

8 Sustainable Red Carpet Moments From The Met Gala 2021

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably been seeing all our favourite celebrities looking their best on the Met Gala 2021 red carpet. With the theme being “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”, we saw everything from sheer, barely-there, bejewelled gowns to the now-infamous blackout look by the social media queen herself, Kim Kardashian.

With this year’s Met Gala being the first to offer a fully plant-based menu, we were happy to see plenty of sustainability on the red carpet as well. Here are some highlights:

Billie Eilish

Stunning the crowds with her Marilyn Monroe-inspired look, Billie wore an Oscar de la Renta tulle gown in a pretty peach colour. As an artist who has firmly made a stance for not working with brands that use fur, this was a breakout moment for Billie as she announced on Instagram that “going forward Oscar De La Renta will be completely fur-free!!!! I’m honored to have been a catalyst and to have been heard on this matter. I urge all designers to do the same.”

Adam Mosseri and Monica Mosseri

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri wore a geometric suit repurposed from vintage fabrics by Bode, while his wife wore a Kamperett gown made from dead-stock materials.

Nia Dennis

American gymnast Nia Dennis tumbled her way up the Met Gala 2021 red carpet in a bright blue bodysuit topped with an all-vegan Adidas by Stella McCartney netted throw and Earthlight sneakers under the same brand. The shoes use Parley Ocean Plastic which upcycles marine plastic waste.

Addison Rae

TikTok star Addison Rae proved that you don’t have to show up in something new to impress. Inspired by Britney Spears’ red gown from the Grammy’s in 2002, she rocked the red carpet in a vintage red corseted gown by Tom Ford for Gucci from 2003.

Ella Emhoff

Stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris and rising fashion icon Ella Emhoff wore a stunning red diamond bodysuit and Earthlight trainers from Adidas by Stella McCartney.

Jennifer Lopez

J.Lo channeled her inner cowgirl with her Met Gala 2021 look and said no to fur wearing Ralph Lauren’s faux fur bolero jacket.

Tessa Thompson

Actress and producer Tessa Thompson wore a pair of vegan cowboy boots to the red carpet by Rombaut, which uses various vegan and upcycled materials such as cactus leather, apple leather and felt made of recyled polyester PET.

Natalia Bryant

Kobe Bryant’s daughter and American model Natalia Bryant showed up in a dress by Conner Ives, which uses mostly dead-stock or vintage garments in an effort to “make smarter, more responsible clothes.”

What were your favourite sustainable red carpet looks from the Met Gala 2021? Head on over to our Instagram @8shadesofficial to leave a comment and let us know!

bubbleware header image

8 Reusable Bubble Tea Bottles For Your Boba Addiction

So you’ve already got yourself a reusable water bottle and coffee cup – but when it comes to your bbtea (aka. bubble tea) addiction, not just any bottle will do. To avoid wasting another one of those tall, single-use plastic cups sealed in plastic, not to mention the extra wide straw and plastic wrap it comes in, we’ve rounded up eight super cute reusable bubble tea bottles to accommodate your favourite boba drink (plus all its fixings)!

Boba Pearl Tumbler

boba pearl tumbler
Source: Boba Pearl

Developed in Hong Kong by two young girls, Charlie and Lovis, Boba Pearl is for all the eco-minded boba lovers out there. These stylish, sleek tumblers are made from food-grade stainless steel with a double-walled, vacuum insulated body to ensure your drink remains hot or cold for hours, with a wide straw opening to accommodate all your precious pearls.

The Boba Pearl Tumbler also conveniently fits most cup holders and has a durable matte finish to withstand travel and any mode of transportation. Best of all, for each cup purchased, one tree will be planted in a mangrove forest to reduce and remove carbon from the air, through the ecological non-profit, SeaTrees.

Available at Boba Pearl and Slowood

Elephant Cuppa Eco Tumbler

Source: @elephantcuppa/Instagram

Of course a boba tumbler from the Land of Boba (Taiwan) would have all your boba-drinking needs covered. Elephant Cuppa, a Taipei-based company, is on a mission to reduce single-use products with its ingenious reusable, portable and boba-friendly tumbler. At only five ounces, the Cuppa weighs less than a smartphone and is smartly leak-proof and dust-proof so you can use it to transport snacks, water and other non-boba liquids too: think of it as a Tupperware, water bottle and boba carrier in one.

The patented lid can accommodate wide and standard width straws with a screw on top that can also cover your straw if you want to enjoy your drink on the go. Made with BPA-free and heat-resistant Ecozen plastic, the cup and lid are easy to clean and each set comes with two straws as well as a brush for keeping your straws clean. 

Available at Elephant Cuppa and Green Common

Reusable BBT Cup

reusable bubble tea cup
Source: Reusable BBT/Facebook

Upgrade your BB tea game with Reusable BBT. Born in British Columbia, the Reusable BBT is a reusable glass cup, available with a BPA-free plastic lid, with a boba-friendly straw hole, or a bamboo lid with a rubber ring for insulation that accommodates boba straws. The beauty of these cups are in their customisability – you can choose your lid type and colour, and accessorise your tea cup with stickers and even your straw colour.

Each cup, which comes with a stainless steel BBT Straw and a straw brush so you’re never without your reusable boba gear. We love that Reusable BBT doesn’t use any plastic in their shipping too. Pro-tip: their entire store is 20% off this month!

Available at Reusable BBT and on Etsy

Cuppé Bubble Tea Tumbler

cuppe bubble tea cup
Source:Cuppé/Facebook

Too many reusable bottles, too little time? Try the Cuppé Bubble Tea Tumbler, created by a trio of girls inspired by a love for the ocean and the environment in their native Borneo, the rise of bubble tea shops in their home city of Melbourne led them to dream up a bubble tea cup that was equal parts responsible and stylish. The Cuppé is a handcrafted glass tumbler made from premium borosilicate glass that’s designed to be used throughout the day.

The BPA-free dual-use lid has a handy flippable cover so you can sip with or without a straw, and it makes the tumbler leak-proof too. A food-grade silicone band provides extra grip and protection for hot and cold drinks so you can enjoy icy cold infused water or a piping hot cuppa. 

Available at Cuppé

BobaMate Boba Bottle

bobamate bottle
Source: BobaMate/Facebook

To minimise the pain of carrying around a reusable straw, bottle and straw brush, BobaMate Boba Bottle’s 3-in-1 design integrates a movable, reusable straw into the bottle for added convenience. A pop-top lid keeps the straw and opening concealed from germs and bacteria, and comes with a fold-away handle so you can carry your bottle with ease.

If you love fresh fruit or special toppings, the bottle’s curved base is cleverly designed so your toppings gravitate toward the centre while the straw can be moved 360° so no topping goes to waste. Each bottle is made with a glass-like plastic called Tritan, meaning its shatter-resistant and durable, and has a steel-based with wood paint for a little extra flourish. Added bonus? BobaMate now offers carbon neutral shipping!

Available for pre-order at BobaMate

FLOAT Boba Cup

float bubble tea cup
Source: FLOAT Boba Cup

With FLOAT Boba Cup, get your boba as Bond would: shaken, not stirred. Made in Taiwan, this unique cup truly elevates the boba experience with a special ellipse-shaped cap that enables boba and tea to flow in equal proportion: the cap has an inner cup which holds the boba or solid toppings, so they don’t float to the bottom and stuck beneath the ice.

The inner cap also acts as a filter to let tea through as well, so you get a more balanced sip with equal liquid and topping at just the right temperature! The outside of the cup is also curved for greater grip and the body of the cup is made with Tritan plastic for optimal durability and insulation.

Available at Pinkoi

Bobbleware Tea Tumbler 

Source: Bobbleware/Facebook

BYOBoba with this stylish and functional bubble tea tumbler! Along with its very pleasing range of pastel colours, the compact shape and leak-proof top of the Bobbleware Tea Tumbler is perfect for those who tend to keep their bottle in a backpack, gym bag or tote.

This tumbler comes in two sizes depending on how much you love your boba and a snazzy velvet travel bag and cleaning brush are included for maintaining your Tritan plastic straw. The BPA-free lid is available with or without a straw-hole, if you want to convert your bottle to be strictly straw-free. 

Available at Bobbleware

CARA Boba (Bubble Tea) Tumbler

cara bubble tea tumbler
Source: CARA Boba Tea Tumbler/Facebook

If you’re going to invest in a reusable boba cup, why not go all the way with a little personalisation? Proudly designed in Singapore, CARA’s Boba Tea Tumbler comes in either stainless steel, with a mug-like design for cup holders, or a resin-based version, with a standard tapered shape. Both versions utilise double walled insulation to keep your drink hot for up to 12 hours, or cold for up to 24 hours.

You can order customised wording for the outside of your tumbler, which is printed with permanent waterproof vinyl that is also UV-resistant.

Available at The Cara Company

See also: Save Your Plastics at Starstreet Precinct

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palmaia house of aia mexico

Palmaïa – The House of AïA: Sustainable Luxury on the Mayan Coast

Traveling inevitably has a negative impact on the planet; between flying to your destination, driving to your hotel and getting around while you’re there, it’s very difficult to have a completely zero-carbon travel experience. But, you can make sure that the place you’re staying at has a minimal, or even beneficial, effect on the environment.

Enter the Palmaïa – The House of AïA. If, like us, you’ve been dreaming of a (sustainable) beach holiday for months, this might just be the place for you. With plant-based cuisine, renewable energy and sustainable design, this wellness resort on the coast of Mexico’s Mayan Riviera has everything you need to relax sustainably. 

Palmaïa – The House of AïAview of beach
Source:Palmaïa

Since opening in 2000, the resort, in Playa del Carmen in Mexico, has prioritised having a minimal impact on the amazing environment that surrounds it. For example, instead of being built on top of the mangrove jungle, the resort was built around it, allowing the nature and animals to live naturally without intervention. In fact, guests often report seeing spider monkeys, iguanas, anteaters and armadillos on the property.

For its cuisine, the Palmaïa – The House of AïA follows a “plant-based first” ethos, focusing on vegan dishes that will leave guests feeling full and satisfied, but still offering non-vegan dishes for those that ask. The resort adopted this stance in recognition of the significant environmental impact of industrial agriculture, including animal consumption.  

Palmaïa vegan food
Source:Palmaïa

Overall, every room in the resort is cruelty-free, ensuring that animal-tested or derived products make their way into the property, and all bathroom amenities are refillable and made with 100% biodegradable ingredients. Guests also won’t see a single-use plastic item anywhere at the resort; instead, they’ll be provided with a refillable bottle.

Palmaïa – The House of AïA room interior
Source:Palmaïa

Excitingly, the resort recently announced that it is now entirely powered by 100% renewable energy, making it the largest property in Playa del Carmen to switch completely to renewable energy. According to Palmaïa, this initiative will see the resort reduce its output of carbon emissions by 56,000 tons over 10 years. 

Palmaïa outside terrace
Source:Palmaïa

They’re not stopping here, though – the resort plans to install 2,000 solar panels over the next year to generate more green energy. A special heat pump is also being installed to supply hot water to each of the oceanfront suites, which is estimated to save an additional 22 tons of carbon per year. In its mission to become carbon neutral, these initiatives put Palmaïa well ahead of its competitors. 

Learn more about the Palmaïa – The House of AïA at thehouseofaia.com

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