8shades guide to a sustainable beach day

8Shades’ Guide to a Sustainable Beach Day

There’s nothing quite like a trip to the beach: the waves gently lapping the shore, salty summer skin and sipping from a coconut while you treat yourself to a delicious beachside lunch – paradise! That is, until you see piles of trash and plastic waste littered everywhere. Don’t be a part of the waste crisis plaguing the environment – bring your eco-habits with you! Here’s how you can make your next day at the beach a sustainable one. 


1.

Opt For Public Transport

We know that sitting in a hot and crowded bus to get to the beach isn’t the most fun, but it’s the more sustainable (and cheaper!) option as opposed to getting a taxi or driving. Plus, less cars on the road means less traffic, meaning more time spent having fun!

2.

Bring Your Own Eco-Kit 

Always abide by the campfire rule when out in nature — always leave the campsite cleaner than how you found it! Before you go to the beach, put together a small kit with all your eco-essentials, including a reusable water bottle, reusable trash bags, bamboo or metal cutlery and straws. Also, try to bring loose foods without single-use plastic packaging, like loose fruits or foods in reusable containers. 

plastic bottle at the beach
Source: Shutterstock

3.

Be (Sustainably) Sun Smart 

We don’t want to sound like a stuck record, but put on your SPF! As the sky-high temperatures of Hong Kong summers lure us to the beach, take a look at the ingredients list of your sunscreen to make sure that not only is it protecting you from the sun, but also that its ingredients aren’t releasing harmful chemicals into the ocean. Some of these ingredients, like oxybenzone, octinoxate and butylparaben, can injure or kill marine life and bleach coral reefs! 

We like this reef-safe and biodegradable sunscreen from Reef Repair, but if you’re looking for more recommendations, check out our guide on the best natural, reef-safe sunscreens. 


4.

Wear Eco-Friendly Swimwear

Fast fashion is an incredibly wasteful industry, emitting greenhouse gases and using massive amounts of water and energy. Ghost fishing nets, plastic bottles and even carpets — these are just some of the materials that many brands are using to make swimwear. We’ve rounded some of our favourites in our guide of the best sustainable swimwear brands

sustainable swim wear
Source: Stay Wild

5.

Wear Recyclable Flip-flops

These Indosole flip flops are made of 100% recycled tires that would otherwise end up in a landfill. They come in a range of colours and styles — we love the coral ones!  

Source: Indosole

6.

Use a Recycled Plastic Towel

This emerald green beach towel from Rupert & Bird is made using 24 plastic bottles and comes packaged in an organic cotton mesh bag that can be reused as a produce bag! It’s also lightweight, quick-drying and sand-repelling, perfect for a day dipping in and out of the ocean. 

recyclable towel
Source: Rupert & Bird

7.

Wear a Straw Hat

Straw is a sustainable and lightweight material that is very durable when woven into fabric. This straw hat from Will & Bear is made from biodegradable raffia fibre, which is harvested from the raffia palm plant sustainably, allowing it to continue to grow and produce. Plus, the colour will complement your tan!

straw hat
Source: Will & Bear

8.

Stick to the Path

We must realise that beaches are a natural habitat for many plants and animals. Stepping through plants and over dunes to get to the beach may be adventurous, but you could unknowingly damage ecosystems and cause erosion over time. If you can, stick to the paths; you’ll still get to where you need to go, without damaging the plants and animals that live there! 

sustainable day at the beach

A beach trip is the perfect way to spend a summer day, so why not take your sustainable lifestyle with you while you enjoy the waves? You’ll have just as much fun and the planet will be grateful. There’s enough plastic in the ocean – we really don’t need to add more of it!

See also: 8-Week Challenge: 8 simple swaps for single-use plastics

is all plastic evil?

Is All Plastic Evil?

Plastic waste is undeniably one of the biggest issues of our time, and we’ve long been bombarded with scary statistics on how widespread the problem is.

So, this week’s #8Shades8Weeks challenge is all about reducing your reliance on single-use plastics – simply BYOB (bring your own bottle) anywhere this week for your chance to win yourself a reusable and customised 8Shades water bottle from Casetify! 

Even though plastic has a bad rap, it’s not all evil. Here, we break down some of the reasons why plastic can (sometimes) be good. 

It keeps food affordable and fresh

Plastic keeps food affordable and fresh, and shipping food in plastic is cheaper and less resource-intensive than other materials, like glass. This is especially important in developing countries that often don’t have the infrastructure to store food safely for long and are less likely to eat enough fruit and vegetables, which causes almost 1.7 million deaths worldwide.

If plastic was not so widely used to preserve food, more communities would likely suffer from malnutrition. Plastic is also durable, meaning that it can handle long periods in transit, vital for countries that rely on food imports.

grocery store shelves with plastic bags of food

While many foods are wrapped in unnecessary amounts of plastic – there’s no denying that this needs to change – it’s unlikely that the food industry will completely ditch plastic when we need affordable food (and lots of it).

Plastic is also arguably the best option for developing countries since many don’t have the infrastructure or funds to develop eco-friendly packaging.

It supports employment in developing countries

Plastic waste has also become its own form of currency in many developing countries, who receive a lot of waste from richer nations. In 2018, the US sent 157,000 shipping containers of plastic waste to developing countries. Countries like the US absolutely need to improve their own recycling programmes, but the imports bring in money for developing countries and are a source of employment for thousands of people. 

a pile of plastic waste

It keeps things sterile

Finally, in the medical industry, plastics are used to keep things sterile. Syringes and surgical implements are all plastic and single-use that wouldn’t survive the temperatures needed to kill bacteria and viruses through heat sterilisation. However, sterilising metal syringes isn’t feasible and glass is too heavy. 

Essentially, the problem is not so much the fact that we’re using plastics but that we’re using the wrong kind of plastic. 

The real solution? Avoid Single-Use Plastic

While we can’t fully avoid plastic, we definitely need to reduce our dependence on most single-use plastics. Plastic bottles, straws, coffee cups and shopping bags are not only super harmful for the environment, they’re also completely unnecessary since there are so many reusable alternatives

reusable set of cutlery

The biggest problem with ending single-use plastics is their convenience. So, until consumers are willing to give this up and say “no” to single-use plastics, plastic providers will continue to produce it.

See also: 8-Week Challenge: 8 simple swaps for single-use plastics

We may think that we’re powerless in the battle against plastic waste, but when you consider that the most disposed-of items include straws, grocery bags and drink lids, we have a much bigger role in the solution than we think.

Banning all plastics is unlikely to happen (and shouldn’t!), but we can reduce our reliance on avoidable single-use plastics. All it takes is a few small changes – for example, buying your food at local farmers’ markets, bringing a reusable bottle instead of a plastic bottle of water every day and bringing your own produce bags to the grocery stores. This will reduce our carbon footprint and encourage those around us to do the same. 

See also: Plastic-Free July: 8 Ways To Take Part

sustainable olympics themed sportswear

8Shades’ Guide To Sustainable Sportswear: Olympics Edition

The wait is nearly over- the Olympics are starting today and we can’t wait to watch our favourite athletes. But while we’re admiring their athletic gifts from the comfort of our home, some of us are also admiring what they’re wearing. To get into the spirit of things, we’re imagining our Olympic-themed outfits, but through an eco-friendly lens. So, here’s our picks of the best sustainable, Olympics – themed sportswear. 

Boxing

boxing gloves
Source: Sanabul Sports

Sanabul Los Cactus Boxing Gloves

Whether you’re doing boxing or any other combat sport, you’ll need a pair of gloves to protect your hands. Jiu jitsu and boxing apparel company Sanabul recently launched the world’s first cactus leather boxing gloves, made entirely from the nopal (or prickly pear) cactus. Featuring gold trimming and Aztec-inspired designs, you’ll be sparring in style. They’re limited edition, so snap these stylish boxing gloves up before they’re gone!

Athletics

running shorts
Source: Sweaty Betty

Sweaty Betty On Your Marks 4” Running Shorts

Sweaty Betty is working to make their entire product line more sustainable through the use of recycled materials and sustainable fabrics, including organic cotton, bamboo and recycled plastic bottles. These running shorts are made from recycled polyester and are sweat-wicking, too. Perfect for those sweaty morning runs!

running shoes
Source: Icebug

Icebug OutRun Shoes

If you’re a trail runner looking for a shoe that will carry you through every kind of weather and terrain, you need a pair of Icebugs! The brand calls itself the first climate-positive footwear brand, offsetting 200% of the carbon emissions their production processes cause. These OutRun shoes are made with several sustainable materials, like 100% recycled PET polyester and algae foam.

Swimming

olympics themed sportswear
Source: Oliv the Label

Oliv the Label One Piece

Born from yogic values, Oliv the Label wants to redefine how we see women’s swimwear. All of their pieces (and the packaging it comes in!) are made from eco-friendly materials, like Econyl, an Italian fabric made from regenerated ocean plastic waste. Econyl is also known for its body-sculpting properties, as well as its resistance to oil, sunscreen, chlorine and UV radiation. Available in a range of Earth-toned colours, we recommend this gorgeous one-piece

Tennis

tennis dress
Source: NordicDots

NordicDots Tennis Dress

NordicDots is a Swedish tennis apparel company that aims to use recycled and organic fabrics in their products and minimise production waste. The company also uses 100% recycled plastic bags to pack their garments. We’re loving this navy blue tennis dress.

Cycling

olympics related sportswear cycling jersey
Source: Isadore

Isadore Debut Cycling Jersey

Created by former cycling pros, Isadore’s line features jerseys, bib shorts, jackets and baselayers that are all made from recyclable materials but don’t compromise on quality. The packaging is also kept to a minimum to avoid unnecessary waste. This jersey is mostly made from 100% recycled Italian polyester. The lightweight fabric is also sweat-wicking, so you can comfortably enjoy the beautiful Hong Kong cycling trails in style.


We love how invested people get in the Olympics; similarly, we hope that this guide inspires you to go to the grocery store in your finest tennis shoes and leggings, but we should also take the time to be more critical of the materials used to make our activewear; as the waste crisis continues to worsen, there’s really no reason to buy workout gear made from unsustainable materials. If everyone could prevent even one pair of leggings or a t-shirt from ending up in landfills, that would make a massive difference!

See also: How Eco-friendly Are The Olympic Games, Really?

how to join plastic-free july

Plastic-Free July: 8 Ways To Take Part

Each year, Plastic-Free July empowers people to be a part of the solution to plastic pollution by eliminating single-use plastic from their daily lives. 

Why July, though? During the summer months when we’re typically enjoying our days outdoors, relaxing at the beach or taking a dip in the ocean, our appreciation of nature is at its peak. What better time to highlight the ever-increasing build-up of plastic waste? Here are 8 ways that you can participate in Plastic-Free July right here in Hong Kong: 


1.

JOIN THE 8SHADES 8 WEEK CHALLENGE

The 8Shades 8 week challenge is our very own way of getting people to take small, actionable steps towards a greener and more sustainable future. With weekly challenges and prizes from now till mid-August 2021, there are still loads of brilliant prizes to be won so be sure to sign up now – and challenge your friends to enter too!

Sign up here


2.

DITCH PLASTIC PACKAGING

Did you know that nearly 50% of all plastic waste generated is from plastic packaging – most of it unnecessary? Hong Kong grocery stores are notorious for excessive plastic packaging. The solution? Instead of buying bags of prepackaged apples, for example, buy them loose at your local market.


3.

GO REUSABLE

Replacing plastic utensils with wooden ones that you carry around with you and using reusable coffee cups and metal or silicone containers for lunches, storage and shopping are just some swaps you can make to up your reusable game. 

plastic-free july

4.

REMEMBER THE TOP 4

Avoid the “Top 4” single-use plastics: plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws. Replace them with reusables: shopping bags made of natural fibres, metal or glass water bottles and a ceramic mug or metal thermos. And never, never take a plastic straw.


5.

EAT OUT LESS

Instead of ordering in for lunch, bring food from home. Plastic takeaway containers often aren’t recycled and end up in landfills, where they take hundreds of years to decompose. Cooking your food cuts down on this waste, and you’ll also save money and improve your cooking skills. You don’t need to cook for hours every day to eat well; just stick with simple, healthy food done well.

plastic-free july

6.

MAKE HOME SWAPS

Go through your home, room by room, seeing if there are any eco-friendly swaps you can make. For example, buy cleaning products in boxes, not bottles; and buy your pantry essentials in bulk.

See also: You don’t need to wash your clothes everyday


7.

DO A WARDROBE AUDIT

About 60% of material made into clothing is plastic, which includes polyester, acrylic and nylon. These fabrics are durable and affordable, but every time they’re washed, they shed microplastics.

We could all be more mindful of the clothing we wear, by considering the materials our clothes are made from, buying from second hand shops, repairing your clothes when they break instead of replacing them or simply buying less. You could also use a guppy bag for those fabrics that are synthetic.


8.

DO YOUR BEST

Don’t beat yourself up if you fall short – it’s called a challenge for a reason! Try out different things and stick to what works for you. 

Join us this Plastic Free July by making small but important changes in your everyday life. The more you practice these behaviours, the easier it will become to implement them into your life beyond July.


See also: Join The 8Shades 8-Week Challenge!

How do they make bags out of recycled plastic anyway?

For our 4th week giveaway we are partnering with Everybody & Everyone to giveaway their pretty epic All Good Things bag. This aptly named bag is very literally made of “all good things”, E&E partner with a textile company called EcoAlf who produce the recycled fabric to make the bag from ocean recovered plastic bottles and fishing nets using an innovative process.

HOW ON EARTH DO THEY MAKE PLASTIC INTO FABRIC WE HEAR YOU SAY?

Let’s take a quick deep dive into the benefits and process. The All Good Things bag is made using recycled plastic bottles and recovered ocean fishing nets, which are tied to EcoAlf’s ocean clean-up foundation. EcoAlf work with with fisherman across the world to recover ocean fishing nets and other plastic debris to be repurposed into textile. It’s a revolutionary technique and is soon to be replicated all over the world.

“The ECOALF FOUNDATION is a non-profit organisation whose main objective is to promote the selective recovery of waste in order to recycle, valorise and avoid its harmful effects on the environment by developing and applying new scientific and technological knowledge.”

EcoAlf

Recycled polyester and recycled nylon are the two main textiles used to make the bag. By using recycled PET (plastic bottles) to produce polyester, they are reducing water consumption by 20%, energy by 50% & CO2 by 60%. Not only are they cleaning up the world’s plastic problem, the production process is actually more economical than if they were to use virgin materials. Polyester can be recycled again and again which means it’s great for a circular economy.

Nylon is another fabric that can be recycled many times and has an extended life-span. Fishing nets can sometimes be scarce because they are hard to recover for repurposing into nylon fabric so they’re often combined with nylon leftovers from the production process. EcoAlf’s nylon is made from 25% fishing nets, 25% scrapped carpeting and 50% pre-consumer nylon waste.

EcoAlf has helped to recycle more than 80 tons of discarded fishing nets so far but there are still 650,000 tonnes of fishing nets on the bottom of the ocean. By recovering and recycling these nets into fabric rather than using virgin materials, it means less consumption of natural resources, less production of green-house emissions & it prevents marine pollution.


THE PROCESS…

The PET and fishing nets get collected, cleaned and condensed down into little plastic chips which are then formed into pellets. The pellets then get turned into yarn and then yarn into fabric! Simple really, it begs the question, why aren’t we doing this on a larger scale?

Now go and be a changemaker and get your bag by entering the week 4 challenge here!

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.

Menstruation stigma must stop. Period.

Most women menstruate for an average of forty years, approximately 2,400 days over the course of a lifetime! 

In honor of menstrual hygiene day this May 28th, we are shining a light on the social and cultural beliefs surrounding menstruation, alongside some of the issues around mainstream period products.

Source: Menstrual hygiene day

Even though menstruation is a natural and healthy part of life, period taboos and cultural stigmas surrounding it have persisted across history. Most societies teach girls that periods are unclean, embarrassing and that they just shouldn’t be discussed. 

Just think about all the euphemisms that society has concocted in order to avoid saying the word “period”: Auntie Flow, time of the month, girl flu, Bloody Mary, strawberry week

Source: The Lilac Blog

Unfortunately, the silence, shame, and secrecy that shrouds periods has prevented girls and women from managing their periods with dignity, which has also created adverse health implications. 

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem once wrote that if men had periods, periods would hardly be embarrassing and probably something men would boast in length about. Similarly, many social scientists have argued that if men menstruated, there would be an abundant supply of cheaper, smarter, more convenient and less environmentally toxic alternatives to tampons and pads. In reality, innovation surrounding menstrual hygiene products has been slow and uninspiring. 

To make matters worse, in many countries, feminine hygiene products are still subject to senseless taxation because they are considered “non-essential luxury products.” For decades, one or two companies have dominated the period industry. Rather than committing to true innovation and developing sustainable product lines, these dominant companies have focused on revamping existing product lines, insisting that women would never shift from disposable products to reusable ones. 


A HEALTHY CYCLE BEGINS WITH CLIMATE-HEALTHY PRODUCTS.

Even though we have become all too familiar with the environmental harms of single-use plastic, we do not usually think of tampons and sanitary pads as part of the single-use plastic problem. 

Did you know that most pads are made up of 90% plastic? 

Source: Natracare

BY ONE ESTIMATE, ONE PACK OF PADS IS EQUIVALENT TO FOUR PLASTIC BAGS!”

Similarly, tampons are filled with plastic, and plastic can be found even in the tampon string. Did you know that plastic applicators are just as bad for the environment as plastic straws are? The average woman uses more than 10,000 tampons in her lifetime, each of which takes longer to biodegrade than the life of the woman who used it! 

More than 200 billion menstrual products end up in a landfill each year. Because pads and tampons have revolutionized how women manage their periods, there is fear that drawing attention to the period plastic problem may create unnecessary backlash against products that many women currently need. 


Nevertheless, at 8Shades, we believe that knowledge is power. Fighting for period equity, aka greater access for women across the globe to safe and affordable period products, and fighting for our planet are not mutually exclusive campaigns. In fact, we believe that the more sustainable period products there are on the market, the more choice a woman will have in managing her period with dignity. As history has demonstrated time and again, for women, more choice corresponds with more empowerment. 

Stay tuned for some of our favourite more sustainable and less toxic, period products!

What happens to all that plastic that we try so hard to recycle

If you’re anything like us, you always make sure to carefully separate your trash and dispose of it in the correct recycling bin. You feel like you’ve done your part, but what really happens to it after it’s supposedly sent to be magically repurposed into something else? 

There were rumours that waste destined for recycling is simply sent to landfills because it’s less trouble.

This was confirmed when an investigation last year discovered that nearly two-thirds of housing estates in Hong Kong surveyed were sending plastic bottles collected in recycling bins, to landfill! 

In its 2013 waste reduction plan, the Hong Kong government set a target that, by 2022, each person would throw away no more than 0.8kg of waste per day, but this target is unlikely to be reached because… 

“In 2018, Hong Kongers sent an average of 1.53kgs per person of solid waste to landfills every day; just 30% of this was recycled.”

How has this happened? 

Some say that it’s because of the low value of plastics in Hong Kong. 1kg of collected, separated and processed plastic waste may give recyclers just HKD$0.30- $0.50, lower than a few years ago. Also, most plastics are not recyclable in Hong Kong, of the seven types of plastic materials, only three are able to be recycled by local plants through the government scheme. 


How can we fix this?

Hong Kong plans to build adequate waste-to-energy facilities so that it no longer needs to rely on landfills by 2035. Aside from this sizeable goal, the government needs to provide monetary subsidies to recyclers to encourage proper collection and recycling. 

Basically, we (as in you and me) need to start getting smart about how we manage our own waste and look beyond our rubbish bins. We know it’s hard to figure it all out, but thankfully Hong Kong is working hard to develop an effective recycling system that is easy to use.

Not only do we have the likes of independently operated Love Recycling Plus and other smaller scale recycling entities, the Environmental Protection Department are finally stepping up. The GREEN @ COMMUNITY initiative launched in late 2020, a community recycling network that is available on a broad scale across the city with 133 recycling points in total for you to access.

Click here to find your local recycling point.


What can we recycle?

  • Glass bottles
  • Beverage cartons
  • Fluorescent lamps and tubes
  • Metals (tin and aluminium cans)
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Small electrical appliances (even your mobile phones)
  • Plastic bottles & bags
  • Paper 

If you want to learn more about using the GREEN @ COMMUNITY check out our bestie’s page to find out more.

As it turns out, there are some great initiatives tackling Hong Kong’s waste problem; after all, if the rest of the world produced waste like Hong Kong, we would need more than four planets to live… Yikes!

8 Steps to… making your wardrobe PVC plastic-free

Do you love those new wet look leggings you just bought? Or can’t get enough of your shiny, waterproof trench? I’m sorry to break it to ya but it’s probably made of PVC. 

Polyvinyl chloride, aka “PVC”, akathe poison plastic”, is the world’s third most common type of plastic. Unfortunately of all the plastics, PVC poses the most harm to animal and human health. 

Where will I find it? 

PVC is used in millions of products, including pipes, medical equipment, kitchen material, blistered packaging (think pill packs), shampoo bottles, and even clothing

Many countries have already banned the use of PVC in babies’ clothing, and consumer groups and environmental advocates have banded forces, pushing for PVC textiles to be banned outright. 

Source: Vinyl.org.au

Here’s 8 steps to making sure your wardrobe is PVC free.


1.

Source: Pinterest.com

Always check labels before making a purchase

Look out for labels with “vinyl”, “vinyon”, “phthalate”, “V” or “PVC” which means that the garment contains a form of PVC. Don’t assume that because something is designer, it’s PVC free. In recent years some fashion houses have made PVC the star of their collections.


2.

Source: Alibaba.com

The slippery slope of the “waterproof”.

Heralded for its water-resistant properties, PVC is a popular material in rainwear. So next time you’re buying a new raincoat or rain boots, check to make sure these don’t contain PVC. 


3.

Source: Toprisesafety.com

Ring the alarm when something is “fire-resistant”.

PVC fabrics are known for their toughness and often incorporated in “fire-resistant” clothing. Because it’s so durable PVC is also popular in boots and shoes. 


4.

Source: Pinterest.com

Steer clear of anything see-through! 

Do you have a see-through toiletries bag? A clear clutch? A transparent tote? A pair of sandals with a translucent strap? Unfortunately, these kitschy items that reveal what lies within are almost always made from PVC. 


5.

Source: Tsatsas.com

Don’t be fooled by the promise of vegan leather. 

The booming vegan leather industry is perched to revolutionize fashion, replacing animal skin with “sustainable” leather alternatives. Sadly, some faux leathers don’t always rely on bio-materials. Instead, they incorporate PVC to make synthetic leather that’s just as if not more harmful than its animal counterparts. 


6.

Source: Stylecaster.com

Even the sun doesn’t shine forever. 

PVC fabrics are often shiny and glossy. Combined with PVC’s wetlook, and figure-hugging fit, the poison plastic has been increasingly used in the production of miniskirts, minidresses, coats, corsets, and stage wear. 


7.

Source: Net-a-porter.com

Latex lingerie isn’t as sexy as it sounds. 

PVC’s leathery look makes it common in erotic lingerie. The next time you are picking out lingerie and accessories for a sensual night of bedroom fun, make sure your catsuit, corset, or thong are PVC free. 


8.

Source: vstyleblog.com

Warning: some graphic tees contain graphic content.  

While we all love graphic tees that pay homage to our favourite rock bands, many screen-printing companies actually use PVC in their prints. As a general guide, prints that feature a shiny ink are telltale sign of  PVC.


Simple plastic alternatives that you can get in Hong Kong

Adopting plastic-free alternatives that are practical and sustainable doesn’t have to be difficult. Changing a few key items in your life will go a long way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Here are eight plastic-free products that look, and do good. 


1.

Bamboo Toothbrushes

Globally, about 23 billion plastic toothbrushes are trashed each year, each one taking up to 500 years to fully decompose. Bamboo is a natural material, is fast-growing and 100% biodegradable, decomposing in landfill within 6 months.


2.

Steel Containers and Drinking Straws

Consider switching out your plastic lunch container and straws for steel ones; steel can be infinitely recycled and is 100% recyclable without losing its quality, ensuring sturdy and durable containers for years to come.


3.

Menstrual Cups

Did you know that in 2018, over 17 billion tampons were sold globally

A less wasteful alternative is a menstrual cup, that can be safely used again and again and can hold up to three times as much liquid as a tampon! Additionally, they don’t shed microplastics, as conventional period care does. We like LUÜNA Period Cups which are made of 100% medical grade silicone, are super soft and can last for up to eight years. 


4.

Glass

While not biodegradable, glass is relatively inexpensive and infinitely recyclable. Jars can be added to your no-waste toolkit for shopping from bulk stores, or they can be repurposed to store leftovers, use as sprouting jars or serve as decorations around the house. 


5.

Natural Fibres

Natural fibres are just that – natural and won’t shed microplastics when washed or used unlike synthetic fibres like polyester or acrylic that are more problematic for the environment and often used for cleaning & in the kitchen. Natural fibres include organic cotton, hemp and bamboo.


6.

Organic Cotton Bags

As less than 5% of the 1 trillion single-use plastic bags discarded each year gets recycled, consider switching to organic cotton bags, which are free of chemical residues and decompose in landfill within 5 months. Check out Slowood’s reusable organic cotton bags. It may be helpful to put a reusable bag in your handbag or backpack and car to make sure that you don’t need to buy a new reusable bag everytime you go out!


7.

Shampoo & Soap Bars

Shampoo & soap bars cut out the need for plastic bottles. Even better, many of them are free of palm oil, an ingredient linked to deforestation, like those of Ethique and Meow Meow Tweet. Additionally, shampoo bars are more effective than most conventional shampoos; on average, a one bar will outlast two to three bottles of liquid shampoo. 


8.

Compostable Garbage Bags

Plastic bin liners leave an awful lot of additional waste in their wake because they eventually breakdown into microplastics in landfill. Thankfully Live Zero stock these fab 100% biodegradable and compostable bin liners.


As you eliminate plastic from your life, you’re not only cutting your own contribution to the waste stream, you’re modeling more sustainable living for those around you. As demand for more sustainable business practices grows, companies will respond and use of harmful plastics can be stemmed.

Here’s to consumer power.