Hong Kong Startups Changing The World: These Local Entrepreneur Activists Turn Waste into Gold

5 Mins Read

From plastic packaging to last season’s fabrics, we’re becoming acutely aware of materials being sent to the landfills. As our environmental resources become scarce, conserving and recovering what we already have is so important. We need to think differently about waste – is it actually garbage? Here in Hong Kong, we have some amazing companies reviving seemingly old “garbage” into fashionable, functional goods. Home to a rising startup scene aimed at rethinking our waste in terms of value and resources, these small businesses are devising and creating crafty and ingenious ways of re-using or recycling. Without further ado, here are our favorite local companies using fashion or packaging waste to change the world. Support Hong Kong. Support homegrown entrepreneurs. #VoteWithYourDollar

Ed. Note: Thank you to Live Zero founder Tamsin Thornburrow for introducing us to some of the incredible entrepreneurs below. 

Beeswax Cloth

The natural alternative to conventional plastic or shrink wrap, 蜜蠟布 Beeswax Cloth is a local company providing sustainable and eco-friendly wrap sets in fun, colorful prints. Use it to cover a bowl of leftovers, pack a sandwich or just about anything you’d normally use clingfilm for. Pack it, wash it, reuse it, to reduce the plastic in your household.

Shop here or email beeswaxcloth@gmail.com for more information. 

The Chief Project

Made in Hong Kong to target the second largest waste in the city – tissue paper – The Chief Project is on a mission to lessen our ecological footprint. Manufacturing quality handkerchiefs from reclaimed, luxury fabrics destined to the landfills, they employ skilled seamstresses to support the local economy. Use them to dry your hands in lieu of paper towels, wipe the sweat from your brows, or blow your nose.

Shop online here or email thechiefproject.hk@gmail.com for more information. 

The Flour Bread Bag by ooh Design Studio

Horrified by all the plastic pollution upon returning to live in her native Hong Kong, founder Mimi noticed the sheer volume of single-use plastic bakery bags infiltrating the city. Putting her design skills to work, she created the Flour Bread Bag, upcycling flour sacks that bakeries would toss out (ironic, isn’t it?) into functional bread bags to carry your morning buns. Industrial and chic, shop from a variety of shapes and sizes – they even have bags for baguettes!

Shop online here or send a message on Facebook for more information.

Kevin Cheung

A Hong Kong based upcycling product designer, Kevin Cheung creates thoughtful, social conscious goods made entirely from waste materials found all around the city. From portable speakers made from plastic containers, wallets made from wallpaper, to his Coffee Totes made from reclaimed coffee bean bags and patches of denim (our fave), Cheung is a true eco creative dynamo. Collaborating with different NGOs to provide opportunities for the local economy, we love Kevin’s eco-friendly approach on giving old things a new lease on life.

2/F, 4 Hing Wan Street, Wanchai, +852 6033 2102, mail@kevin-cheung.com

Saupei

We are huge fans of 收皮 Saupei, a local upcycled brand turning used drink cartons into functional coin bags. One of the early trendsetters for zero waste in Hong Kong, we love their ‘You Trash, We – Cycle’ mentality. Find their creative coin purses online or in store at Delightfully Green, Kwun Tong’s eco-friendly & #zerowaste shopping mecca.

6/F, Unit A, 29 Tai Yip Street, Ocean Industrial Building, Kwun Tong; greendelightfully@gmail.com

Urban Camper

In an effort to promote environmental protection and sustainable camping, local camp gear rental company, Urban Camper, hand makes Cross Body Pouches constructed from old flour bags- no two are the same as every piece is handmade with different cuts of the reused bags. Perfect for storing your phone and the random bits and bobbles, each unique pouch comes with an adjustable shoulder strap. Urban Camper can also be found at Delightfully Green.

6/F, Unit A, 29 Tai Yip Street, Ocean Industrial Building, Kwun Tong; greendelightfully@gmail.com

Stitch Up

Frustrated by the disconnect between her academic research and actionable insight, Hong Kong University PhD student Kathryn Davies started Stitch Up, a social enterprise that upcycles unwanted scrap fabrics from hotels and textile companies and turns them into high quality, reusable bags for everyday use. Available at bulk #zerowaste rocery shop, Edgar, in Tsim Sha Tsui, vegetable or snack bags and straw pockets come in a variety of colors and sizes.

Email stitchupx@gmail.com or send a message on Facebook for more information.

Ekoshiki

Wrapping paper creates more than a million tons of trash each year. Through the art of furoshiki, a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth used to transport clothes, gifts or other goods, local startup Ekoshiki has embraced the philosophy to make an affordable and zero waste alternative to gift wrapping. Getting ready to launch on Kickstarter this summer, be on the lookout for their reusable, easy-to-use, biodegradable cotton clothes to make sustainability more affordable, approachable, and easily accessible.

Sign up for their Kickstarter here or send a message on Facebook for more information.


Images courtesy of Beeswax Cloth, The Chief Project, ooh Design Studio (lead), Kevin Cheung, Saupei, Delightfully Green, Stitch Up and Ekoshiki. 

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