Live Zero‘s doors opened barely four days ago and already Hong Kong’s first 100% plastic packaging free, full range bulk grocery store has made a big splash. The teaser video we shared on Facebook has gone viral with hundreds of thousands of people having seen the post! Hong Kong is ready for change: we have to stop using single-use plastic and shops like Live Zero are emblematic of what conscious consumers are looking for!
Live Zero’s young founder Tamsin Soolin looks like she could still be in uni but the native Hong Konger already has multiple businesses under her belt, she started with Thorn & Burrow, the eclectic homewares & lifestyle accessories boutique/online store that feels like your cool traveller cousin’s boudoir. There is also a Live Zero outpost in PMQ (the store is focused on plastic-free lifestyle products). Soolin insists that she does not have a grand plan. Her explanation for her many ventures is a nonchalant shrug followed by an unassuming “I get bored easily.” And how did her zero waste journey begin? “It all started with me sourcing items I couldn’t find in Hong Kong.” When Soolin began stocking eco non-toxic paint range Annie Sloan at Thorn & Burrow, she started hosting workshops to teach people how to upcycle used furniture with a fresh coat of paint and that’s how she caught the “Reuse-Reduce-Recycle” bug. She started selling metal straws and plastic-free food wrap. The rest is history. Live Zero is the culmination of her journey. Why Sai Ying Pun? Simple: “this is my neighbourhood,” she explains. And where does she find all these pioneer zero waste brands? “I source everything on Instagram!” #MillennialBoss
Below, Green Queen gives you the COMPLETE lowdown on the Live Zero shopping experience cuz WE know you’re dying to know EVERYTHING!
Packaging Free Grocery Shopping: How It Works
- Ideally, you bring your own container: glass jars, metal canisters, Tupperware, whatever you have!
- If you didn’t bring your own containers, don’t worry, you have options! You can use the free donated glass & metal containers or the free paper bags. Alternatively Live Zero stocks a selection of premium Weck glass jars and a budget-friendly glass jar selection all in various sizes as well as the awesome Flour Bread Bags (locally made upcycled flour sacks with organic cotton inserts).
- All of Live Zero’s dried food products are stocked in BPA-free plastic bulk bins or large glass containers with bamboo scoops. Bulk oils come in metal canisters to prevent spoilage and oxidation. Liquid beauty and cleaning products are showcased in bulk glass jars.
- Step by step guide: 1) weigh your container; 2) fill up your container; 3) weigh it again 4) label 5) start again 6) pay
- Live Zero takes cash or credit but does not print paper receipts- they email it to you instead!
- Remember to bring your old (washed) glass containers to donate for others to use!
A Detailed Overview Of Bulk Foods Available
Other than some of the dried fruit, nuts and olive/argan oils, all of Live Zero’s food products are certified EU or USDA Organic. If you want more information about what these certifications means, check out our organic label primer here.
- Liquids: extra virgin and virgin olive oil, sesame oil, argan oil, coconut nectar
- Grains: bulgur, wholegrain oats, quick cooking oats, gluten-free oats, white rice, short grain brown rice
- Pseudo Grains: buckwheat groats, white quinoa, red quinoa, tricolor quinoa
- Seeds: white sesame, black sesame, chia, hemp, sunflower, alfalfa
- Dried Beans & Pulses: soybeans, red kidney beans, chickpeas, mung beans, black turtle beans, adzuki beans, red lentils, mixed beans, green lentils
- Dried Pasta: spaghetti, fusilli, penne
- Raw Dried Spices: chillies, black pepper, raw cinnamon bark, cloves, fennel seed, parsley seeds, coriander, nutmeg, non-smoked paprika, ginger
- Superfood Powders: carob, wheatgrass, lucuma, spirulina, matcha, bee pollen
- Dried Fruits: figs, mulberries, apple slices, Medjool dates, dates, prunes, cranberries, sun-dried tomatoes, wild blueberries, raisins, Tibetan goji berries, apricots
- Raw Dried Herbs: Bay leaves, lavender, rosemary, basil, savory blend
- Raw Nuts: walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, pistachios in shells, hazelnuts, cashew pieces
- Seasonings: Himalayan Crystal salt finely ground, coconut flower sugar, cane sugar
- Other: desiccated coconut, coconut chips/flakes, raw cacao nibs, cacao powder, cacao paste, trail mix, banana chips, locally roasted coffee beans in 4 varieties
Pricing-wise, Live Zero is definitely more budget-friendly than many other options out there (remember most items are organic and sustainably-sourced). Here are a few staples to give you an idea:
- Organic quinoa tricolor @ HKD 9/100g
- Organic penne pasta @ HKD 5/100g
- Organic quick oats @ HKD 8/100g
- Organic brown rice @ HKD 6/100g
- Extra virgin olive oil @ HKD 200/litre
- Bergamot liquid shampoo @ HKS 36/100ml
- Himalayan salt @ HKD 7/100g
Beauty & Household: The Full List
Live Zero has a wide variety of bulk & plastic-packaging free beauty, body care and cosmetic items, including:
- Bulk liquid shampoos, hand soap & body wash by local social enterprise So…Soap!
- Bulk liquid laundry detergent liquid & powder, multi-purpose cleaner and dishwashing liquid from Soapnut Republic
- Lamazuna shampoo bars, deodorant bars & solid toothpaste: sulfate-free and made with organic ingredients
- Printed Peanut sulfate-free soap bar range: bath, hair, facial, shaving & home
- Meow Meow Tweet deodorant sticks & lip balm
- Live Zero bamboo toothbrushes
- Dental Lace refillable silk dental floss
- Einnoc locally made essential oil shampoo bar, multi-purpose balm, aromatherapy roller blends
Plastic-Free & Paper-Free Lifestyle Corner
Live Zero is also a haven for anyone trying to live a more #zerowaste life and showcases a wide range of eco-friendly brands who make single-use plastic alternatives:
- Abeego beeswax food wrap in various sizes
- Albatross reusable razors and razor blades
- Re-Play baby & toddler plateware/utensils made out of upcycled milk jugs
- Stainless steel Ecolunchbox and Planetbox
- Reusable Swell & Pura water bottles
- Reusable coffee cups: Keepcup and eCoffee Cup
- Stasher reusable silicone food storage bags/ sandwich pouches
- A selection of metal straws in various sizes
- Marleys Monsters unpaper towels, facial rounds & cloth wipes
Coming Soon: What To Look Forward To
- Bulk tea in traditional Chinese canisters
- More liquids: coconut oil, white vinegar, balsamic vinegar
- Freshly churned nut butter: Live Zero will soon have their own nut butter machine and you will be able to get nut butter made to order right in front of you! They will rotate the nut butter type every few days.
- Plastic-free Happy Cow: everyone’s favourite locally made dairy-free ice cream will be stocked in metal canisters.
- Live Zero’s online shop will soon be live: everything in the store will be available for delivery across Hong Kong (all territories)- they will offer paper packaging or you can request your goods to come in the glass jars they stock.
- Stay tuned for their Drop Off/Pick Up service: you drop off your list and jars in the morning and Live Zero’s friendly staff will sort your order out.
Live Zero is open daily from 11AM to 8PM (except Sundays when they close at 6PM) at 24 High Street, Sai Ying Pun. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or follow them on Facebook.
All photos Green Queen’s own.