If Tamsin Thornburrow's name sounds familiar to you, it could be because of her gorgeous homeware and lifestyle store Thorn and Burrow. Or, it could be because she's leading Hong Kong’s sustainability movement with her latest concept: Live Zero. The city’s first zero-waste store opened earlier this year, allowing customers to stock up on kitchen essentials and pantry staples with absolutely no plastic packaging. It was an instant hit - you can read more about it here - proving that Hong Kong is ready to adopt a more environmentally aware lifestyle.
As part of this week’s eco-initiative, we asked Thornburrow to give us her top five tips to living sustainably, and she delivered. Read on to see how you can reduce your carbon footprint, and find out some of Thornburrow's favourite eco-friendly products available at Live Zero.
The concepts of sustainability and eco-friendly living can be daunting, especially when we are inundated by reports on the supposedly irreversible damage we have created. But all the small changes DO make a difference, and they add up to create significant change. One of my favourite quotes is, “What difference does one bottle make? Said seven billion people.” Start by buying a high-quality reusable water bottle (we love our S'well or Pura bottles!), bring your own shopping bag everywhere, don't accept plastic freebies, use a bamboo toothbrush, buy less plastic wrapped products, use reusable produce bags, recycle whenever you can - the list could go on forever! It's all about committing to a few small changes and making them a habit. Once they become part of your lifestyle, it will be effortless and you'll soon realise how easy it is to make more eco-friendly choices.
Single-use plastics ARE THE ABSOLUTE WORST. If you want to live sustainably the first thing you can do is refuse single-use plastics and replace the big four (straws, bags, water bottles and coffee cups) with reusables. Refusing single-use plastics is one of the easiest ways you can help the environment. Starting your zero waste/sustainable journey may seem expensive, but it's an investment. The initial expense isn't a lot when you consider that you are buying products that should last you a lifetime. You're also investing in your own health (no nasty chemicals leaching into your body) and the health of our planet. Without the health of the planet, we can't be healthy ourselves - everything is interconnected. So when you invest in helping the earth you're benefiting everyone. We have a range of beautiful reusable items at Live Zero which can help you replace the big four, from straws to paperless towels. Try it just for a week, and really commit to it. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to live without single use plastics, and just how difficult it will be to go back to accepting them!
Planning ahead is one of the best ways to live sustainably. That means meal prepping or bringing your reusables with you (including cutlery) in case you may want to pick up a takeaway. If you plan your meals ahead of time you save money, and also reduce the chances of you buying package wrapped food! #doublewin! I always meal prep using Stasher bags (which you can purchase at Live Zero!) they're lightweight, don't take up much room and are super multifunctional.
I'm a big believer in buying what you believe in. If you truly want to be more sustainable you need to buy from companies and shops that support this. It's all about voting with your dollar. If you stop buying things wrapped in a million layers of plastic, or from companies that don't support sustainable practices, they will take note. I try to buy second hand as much as possible - including clothes and furniture. Some of my favourite places to shop are Green Ladies and Salvation Army, I've found some absolute gems over the years and I always find much more affordable and unique items. One of my top tips is utilising groups on Facebook to hunt down second hand furniture or items. People in Hong Kong are constantly moving so there are always loads of amazing options! Buying new is usually unnecessary, we live in a consumerist driven society where we always feel like we need the "latest" and "best" things, when often there's nothing wrong with the used things! Make reducing and reusing your mantra.
In my view there's no such thing as waste, it's simply an unused resource. If you think creatively enough theres always a way to repurpose and reuse something. And if you're buying items that last, you probably won't need to repurpose them anyway! Just this week I saw a video on Facebook of this man making art out of flip flops! Creating a circular system is the most sustainable option we have.
Live Zero, 24 High Street, Sai Ying Pun