These days, practically everything you buy from the grocery store comes packaged in some way, shape or form – be it cardboard, paper, plastic or the dreaded styrofoam. And with scary studies coming out about all the ways plastic can damage the body, we’ve really got to rethink the way we shop for our groceries. It is time to skip the packaging! Lucky for us, we have amazing shops in Hong Kong dedicated to waste- and package-free shopping to help us navigate around all that plastic. Changing consumer norms one bulk bin at a time, we’ve rounded up the best places in the city for sustainable shopping!*
*Editor’s Note: This guide is focused on in-person packaging-free grocery shopping. Online shopping does require packaging so it is not a focus for us here thought we do want to call out Eat Fresh, one of Hong Kong’s best certified organic local produce delivery services who have managed to achieve as close to packaging free delivery as possible. Magic Season Organics, offering certified organic produce delivery, has also embarked on a packaging & plastic-free mission since early 2018. You can also find lots of bulk dried food items (nuts, fruits, seeds, seafood and more) at the dried food shops lining Des Voeux Road West & Queen’s Road West in Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun so feel free to check them out.
Audrey Vintage Shop
A gorgeous antique and tea shop on Gough Street, Audrey (named after iconic actress and humanitarian, Audrey Hepburn) is the place to stock up bulk tea. Featuring an extensive array of floral, traditional, and herbal teas, the new girl on the (Gough) block carefully sources their teas far and wide from France, the UK, Malaysia, South Africa, Argentina, Japan, and more! From rose to peony, earl grey to oolong, chamomile to lemongrass and a section of organic leaves, bring your own jar to stock up on all your faves or gift someone a tea book with four different varietals for a truly unique and exquisite gift!
G/F, 4 – 6 Gough Street, Chung Shan House, Central, +852 2526 8036.
As one of the first businesses to embrace bulk grocery shopping in Hong Kong, Edgar sets the bar for green grocers in the 852. Stocking bins filled with an assortment of natural freeze-dried fruit and veggies (their mushrooms and okras are legit!), organic and fair trade chocolates, French biscuits, nuts, cereals, pasta, rice, honey sticks, superfoods like chia seeds, quinoa, and hemp seeds in bulk, most, if not all, of their items are organic. For those living in the New Territories, they’ve just opened up a Breakfast Corner at City’Super in Shatin featuring organic cereals, a selection of natural freeze-dried fruits and organic and fair biscuits. Read our full review of Edgar here!
2/F, 18 Hanoi Road, Shop 201 inside K11 Natural Zone, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 3101 3035
Shops 204 – 214, New Town Plaza 1, Shatin, +852 2603 3488 – June 2018 Update- this outlet has now closed as it was a temporary pop-up.
Coming soon: Edgar Wan Chai
Farmers Markets & Wet Markets
For the ultimate bulk and package-free shopping experience, look no further than your neighborhood Farmers Markets and wet markets. With a range of locally grown, fresh and seasonal fruits and veggies available all season round, shopping at farmers markets is not only healthier for you (remember when we shared with you that pesticides can cause brain damage?!), but also environmentally-friendly. For the more budget conscious, wet markets offer a range of produce from local to imported to organic. Bring your cloth produce bags, tote bags, some jars or even a little trolley to load your hauls and you’re good to go!
We have a complete guide to the best Farmers Markets in the city for organic produce so make sure to check it out!
Billed as Hong Kong’s first 100% zero waste, packaging-free bulk grocery store Live Zero is set to open on High Street in Sai Ying Pun THIS week (Thursday Feb 1st 2018 at 11AM to be precise). Around 80 mostly organic products will be stocked when their doors open: including Oils & Vinegar, Baking Products, Flours, Grains, Rice, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds & Dried Fruits, Oats, Muesli, Granolas, Seasoning, Herbs, Spices, Superfoods, Powders, Tea, Coffee and Pasta. They also showcase bulk soaps, shampoo, conditioner and cleaning products. They also feature the full range of plastic-free lifestyle products like reusables cups, lunch boxes, utensils, straws, pads, paper towels and more. You can bring your own containers or purchase glass containers at the shop. By March they will have over 120 different products including confectionary/sweets, toothpaste in bulk and more! Please read our full review which lists everything they sell here.
24 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, email@example.com.
Ed. Note: Live Zero has a PMQ shop too but that location stocks homewares, accessories and plastic-free lifestyle products- no groceries.
A small retail shop that offers a variety of organic and fair trade pantry, kitchen and beauty items, shop at Lively Life for their bulk vinegar, multiple types of rice and noodles, sugar, salt, and flour at either their Hong Kong island and Kowloon location. If you’re passing through, come refill your water bottle at their “Free Water” station.
UG, Shop 6, 302 – 308 Hennessy Road, CC Wu Building, Wan Chai, +852 6730 0643, firstname.lastname@example.org.
1/F, 30 Pak Tin Street, Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, She Kip Mei, +852 5542 3204, email@example.com.
A thoughtful, organic shop smack dab in the middle of the manic Mong Kok hustle, Organic We sits in a quiet haven up above the Good Hope Building. Stocking bulk home care products like shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hand soap from local cleansing product fave, Bathe to Basics, the charming Organic We also keeps a healthy supply of organic Taiwanese-cultivated loofahs for all your kitchen cleaning and shower needs.
16/F, Room 1601, 5 Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Good Hope Building, Mong Kok, +852 3791 2666, firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the leading herbs and spice retailers in Hong Kong, Regency Spices is a one-stop shop for all your bulk spice, spice blends (they will create bespoke blends for you), seasonings and dried herbs needs! From Chinese to Indian spices like ginger root, Sichuan peppercorns, cumin seeds, turmeric, cardamom, curry leaves and essential herbs (basil, bay leaves, tarragon, thyme – you get the drift), you’ll even find spices from South America, Thailand, Africa, Italy, France and the Middle East. They also carry a fairly wide range of dried fruits, nuts and seeds including staples like quinoa, amaranth and 10-grain mix. While you can buy online, we suggest opting to go the package-free route and visit one of their two locations with your own jar to fill. Be sure to call ahead or make an appointment! If you do buy online, you can request to have 100% plastic-free packaging in cartons and paper bags.
Regency Spices Showroom (limited items available, call ahead to check availability): 5/F, 122 Connaught Road West, Qualipak Tower, Sai Ying Pun, +852 2517 6577, email@example.com.
Tseun Wan Food Factory (by appointment only): 18/F, 30 – 38 Tai Chung Road, Superluck Industrial Centre Phase 2, Tseun Wan, +852 2517 6577, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stocking a wide range of award-winning oils, vinegars, spirits AND wine in traditional casks, vomFASS has four locations across the city to try and taste their wares. Meaning “from the cask” or “on tap” in German, the store aims to reduce waste by encouraging patrons to bring in their vomFASS bottles for refills (though liqueurs can only be refilled below 30% vol).
G/F, 59B Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 2366 6768
Eslite 1/F, CityPlaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Taikoo, +852 3419 1152
Level 2, East Point City inside YATA Supermarket, 8 Chung Wa Road, Tseung Kwan O, +852 2468 2599
Level 1, YOHO Mall 1 inside YATA Supermarket, Long Yat Road, Yuen Long, +852 3997 3864
Shiu Shing Hong Limited
If you like to experiment with your own beauty & cleaning products, this is the place for you! Shiu Shing stocks all manners of cosmetic raw materials like skincare carrier oils, plant butters, aromatherapy grade essential oils, floral waters, fragrances, speciality chemical ingredients like borax and all sorts of other goodies. They have bulk options for most products (they stock wholesale clients) so you can definitely pop in with your own containers and fill ’em up!
G/F, 130A Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, +852 2544 5964/2544 1007
Images courtesy of Green Queen, Pexels, Freepik/Dragana_Gordic, Organic We, Shiu Shing Hong (Green Queen’s own) and vomFASS.