Smiley shop assistants in white linen uniforms. Cheery folk ambient music in the background. White and airy interior with minimalistic light wood accents. Lifestyle supermarket Slowood, the most talked-about new opening in Hong Kong, reminds visitors of a Muji with an eco-friendly mission.
Located in the hip university neighborhood of Kennedy Town (or K-Town), Slowood promotes a more eco-conscious way of living. (Wood also sounds like “living” in Cantonese).
The beautifully designed shop—no surprise there as the owners Dora Lam and Chen Kai-ping also run an art gallery—is a one-stop shop for getting greener supplies.
Great products sans plastic
A large part of the shop is dedicated to zero-waste grocery shopping. Visitors can bring their own containers to get a wide array of perishables such as grains, flours, snacks and oil. Things like hand soap and laundry liquid can be refilled, too.
The shop also stocks other sustainable household, personal care and lifestyle products with minimal and relatively green packaging, handpicked from around the world—from a wooden version of “Lego” blocks to shampoo soap to biodegradable medicated adhesive patches (with adorable panda patterns).
The atmosphere is easy-going. As said in multiple interviews, the owners aren’t condemning people who are using plastic, the duo founded Slowood to offer an alternative to the city.
How to do it
First, bring your own container.
If you have left your mason jar at home, you can get one of the free containers the community donated or get a paper bag from a shopkeeper.
Then, weigh the container with the help of a shop assistant. After you’ve filled the jar with the grocery you need, weigh it again and pay for the amount you get.
Other green shops around town
Slowood, despite being the biggest and the most comprehensive so far, is not the only plastic-free shops in town.
Live Zero, situated in Sai Ying Pun, is one of the pioneer zero-waste stores in town.
Despite having a relatively small space, Live Zero, with three outlets now, stocks a decent range of bulk grocery goods as well as household and personal items.
Whatever grains, pasta or herbs you need to make dinner, Live Zero probably has it.
It sells a lot of cleaning and personal hygiene options like silk dental floss, sulfate-free toothpaste and bulk lemongrass-flavored laundry liquid. It also stocks a thorough range of reusable menstrual care options for women.
Edgar is another natural goods and bulk food kiosk in Hong Kong.
With two locations – one inside K11 art mall in Tsim Sha Tsui and another on Moon Street in Wanchai, Edgar focuses mostly on food and drinks and a handpicked selection of lifestyle products (best place to get eco straws big enough to slurp up bubble tea).
Tip: Don’t miss their house-made sugar-coated gummies.
Founded in 2013, Organic We sells more environmentally friendly options and promotes local products.
It has an impressive selection of organic skincare and makeup products for sensitive skins. For those who are new and unsure about switching to these green options, Organic We hosts free workshops for participants to learn and try these products.
It also carries organic pet foods for your four-legged friends.
If you need Chinese vinegar, vegan ice cream and fresh organic veggies from local farmers, Lively Life maybe your go-to green store.
Dubbed a community economic interactive platform, Lively Life focuses on fair trade brands and organic products.
While the focus is less on zero-plastic packaging, the shop offers some bulk products purchase for customers bringing their own container.
It is also a second-hand book trading platform and holds workshops on beeswax food wraps regularly.
Organic farmers’ markets
There are quite a number of farmers markets around town.
Some of the biggest ones are Sai Kung Farmers’ Market (every Sunday 11:00-19:00), Organic Farmers’ Market at Central Star Ferry Pier (every Sunday 11:00.-17:00), and Tai Po Farmers’ Market on Tai Wo Road, Tai Po (every Sunday 09:00-17:00).
Although there are plastic-free options available in supermarkets, it’s easier to go plastic-free if you grocery shop in local wet markets (fresh food markets).
Just bring your own bags and containers, and say “Ng sai gaau doi, ng goi” (No plastic bags, thanks).
Find the nearest public food markets near you on the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department website.