How To Zero Waste Your Way Into The Year Of The Dog: Top Tips To Reduce Plastic & More

4 Mins Read

Stop buying new clothes

The fashion industry, and fast fashion in particular, is wrecking havoc on the planet. Buy less and buy secondhand when you do: Green Queen has a complete guide of where to shop preloved plus we just covered Hong Kong’ first luxe preloved boutique. Be like Tanja Wessels, a Hong Kong social activist who hasn’t bought new clothes for over a year. Read her story for tips and inspiration here. Have unwanted clothes to donate? We have a complete guide on where to do so here

Marie Kondo your house

CNY is THE time for clearing out. Well technically you are already supposed to have done this but just in case you are a procrastinator like us, download Marie Kondo’s best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing onto your Kindle and embrace this Japanese efficiency maven’s uber-minimalist style. Give away what you don’t need/use. Bonus: doing this will improve your mental health and happiness. 

Quit magazines

People are all about living a plastic-free life these days. Well we’ve got news for you: paper ain’t so great either. Since China changed the rules about what they accept for recycling earlier this year, Hong Kong has been “drowning in waste,” more specifically paper waste. And many magazines have coatings and inks that make them difficult/impossible to recycle. Read and browse online instead. If you like the magazine design feel, then view your favorites on ISSUU. You don’t need magazines. Oh and visit second hand book stores if you must read paper books.

Food shop in bulk

And no more excuses about how Hong Kong isn’t bulk shopping friendly. We made you a complete guide of where to shop in bulk, the city also has plenty of farmers’ markets and with Edgar & Live Zero, Hong Kong’s first complete zero waste, reduced packaging and plastic-free one-stop grocery stores, it could not be more convenient. Wet markets are also great for packaging-free produce, we love A Tao’s stall (they are in Sai Ying Pun, Kowloon City Aberdeen) with local and imported certified organic produce. 

Avoid bottled water like the plague

Most of our faithful Green Queen readers probably do this already but JUST IN CASE, let’s repeat it: stop buying bottled water, get a water filter at home and download the free iOS/Android Water For Free App so you can refill your reusable bottle whilst on the go. Oh and not just water: stop buying other bottled drinks too! Most of us are walking around in a dehydrated state anyway, so we all need to drink more water, it’s the healthiest and cheapest choice. 

DIY your own cleaning products

To make your own house cleaning products you really only need our foolproof recipes and three ingredients: baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. Buy bulk baking soda in recyclable cartons and vinegar in glass bottles. You really don’t need 20 different products to clean your house: multi-purpose, kitchen cleaner, bathroom cleaner: that’s just marketing to get you to buy more stuff (and fill our landfills with more packaging). 

Ditch the plastic wrap

This is a really easy one: it’s actually kind of insane how much plastic we use to wrap up food and cover up leftovers. There are reusable alternatives like resealable silicone bags (we love the Stasher ones at Plastic Free HK)  and washable food wraps made from beeswax (NO!W No Waste has what you need) so ditch away.

Simplify your beauty regime

Do you really need so many different lotions and potions? You don’t. Buy packaging-free/plastic-free beauty products like shampoo bars (they last for ages so they are economical too) and use reusable cotton pads. Shop brands that allow you to get bulk refills. Support brands that are packaging conscious and use recyclable paper or glass or upcycled materials. We created a great guide for you about our favorite companies & products who adhere to these principles. If you like the DIY route, we love Paula Jones’ easy, simple recipes for lip scrubs, face mask, body balm and more!

Say goodbye to food delivery

Too busy/tired to cook dinner? Bring your own container and pick up instead. Plus, all the new ‘gig economy’ food delivery apps have tiny radiuses anyway so you are really just paying to have your food delivered from a couple of streets away. How lazy are you, anyway? 

Create a porta-plastic-free kit

All conscious, responsible humans should walk around with their very own portable plastic-free lifestyle kit, which includes 1) a reusable water bottle, 2) reusable metal utensils (fork, knives, chopsticks) and 3) a metal straw. Support Hong Kong anti-plastic NGO Plastic Free Seas by getting your kit on their website.


Image Credit: Diego PH on Unsplash


  • Sonalie Figueiras

    2021 Women of Power, 2019 GEN T Honoree, V Label Global Hero, 2 x TEDx Speaker: Serial social entrepreneur & trends forecaster Sonalie Figueiras is a sustainability expert, food futurist and eco-powerhouse who has been inspiring global audiences for over a decade with practical steps on how to fight climate change. Known as the Green Queen of Asia, she is the founder and Editor in Chief of the award-winning Green Queen - the region’s first impact media platform that educates millions of readers on the connection between health, sustainability and the environment and showcases future solutions. She is also the co-founder and CEO of organic sourcing platform Ekowarehouse and climate tech SaaS Source Green, which helps consumer brands quit plastic packaging thanks to proprietary plastic reduction software. In addition, Sonalie is a global keynote speaker and an advisor to multiple mission-driven startups and NGOs, and a venture partner to several VC funds.

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