Going zero waste is the next big effort in practising sustainable living – but where do we find package-free goods in Malaysia?
It is not impossible to go zero waste – but we will not lie, it’s not easy. Almost everything you find in Malaysian stores is pre-packaged in plastic or paper and even styrofoam. Even our daily-use items like toothbrushes and soap bottles are all made out of plastic, which will be thrown away to contribute to rising landfills in our country.
Malaysians produce an average of 30,000 tons of waste every day, with only 5% of it being recycled. -The Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI)-
No wonder land is getting more scarce and expensive by the day – they have all been used up to home our trash!
Zero-waste lifestyle advocate Lauren Singer has managed to fit all 4 years’ worth of trash into a single mason jar. She even started the Package Free Shop to sell sustainable living items that do not contribute to unnecessary waste.
But where can Malaysians shop for package-free items locally? Let us guide you.
TIP: We recommend bringing your own bags and bottles before visiting any of the following stores; all you have to do is weigh and pay!
1. NUDE The Zero Waste Store, Petaling Jaya
Like most eco-conscious stores, it all began with the intention of educating and reforming our lifestyles. The store welcomes everyone, zero-wasters or not, to explore and take back both learnings and inspiration to others.
They stock everything from edible goods to home and personal care products to stainless steel and copper items that are endlessly reusable. You can even get dried dates and spices that are used in local food. Everything is reasonably priced and would meet the expectations of even the most hardcore-wet-market aunty out there!
Your pet cat or dog can even benefit from the availability of bulk dry foods, treats and even cat litter made of 100% recycled paper too! Purchasing in bulk saves you a ton of cash in the long run.
2. The Hive Bulk Foods, Bangsar
This shop is stocked with all of the vital items your home needs. From dry goods to butter, coffee, tea and even cooking oils; they also have a range of bath, laundry and cleaning supplies – all which contribute no waste or are compost-friendly.
Shopping here would mean bringing your own reusable packaging or purchasing bottles and jars from the store to use at any of their six outlets – or shop online like all the millennials do.
We adore how bar-shampoos, bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste powder are now being made trendy and chic in its eco-minimalistic form. Nothing encourages a lifestyle more than well-designed goods that are Earth-friendly!
Read more: 11 zero-waste bathroom alternatives
3. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle), Petaling Jaya
You literally bring your own bottle here as BYOB is a concept detergent store that encourages people to refill their empty detergent bottles instead of purchasing a new one and throwing away more plastic. Here, they practice the 3R concept of Reuse, Reduce and Recycle.
They have several outlets in East and West Malaysia that serve up not just laundry detergent but car care products, floor, kitchen and natural bath soaps too.
Their main mission is to educate the society about the dangers of plastic pollution and to help you save some money too – because why pay extra for plastic?
Recycling doesn’t really work when it comes to plastic bottles, downcycling is the correct word to use because all those bottles you put up for recycling has been downcycled to lower grade plastic products rather than recycled into plastic bottles. -BYOB-
Even worse, the process involved in downcycling plastic actually involves additional carbon footprint!
There is no better time for you to jump onto the plastic-free bandwagon, BYOB will be at the Go Go-Green 2 Gardening Fest this weekend!
4. Frangipani Shop, Online Shopping
The shop operates mainly online (offline via selected retailers in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei) so it is perfect for lazy bums who do most of their shopping online.
Aside from selling organic products for personal care, they also have an array of items for the busy working crowd – from on-the-go cups to classy metal tiffin carriers, cotton bags and even reusable, foldable sporks. Time to make it a habit and bring your own healthy food to work.
Ladies, you should definitely check out their menstrual cups, it is a great alternative to disposable sanitary pads.
We adore how the founder, Malika, makes all of the organic toothpaste, deodorant and soap bars with her own secret recipe – they are all halal too – alongside vegan toothbrushes and dental floss. She even uses biodegradable cellophane tape and recycled paper to send out her goods.
Check out some of their happy customers’ reviews here.
5. Bliss Zero Waste Store, Kuala Lumpur
Imagine walking into a little cafe in the heritage section of Kuala Lumpur (Chinatown), only to find a little nook in a cafe, resembling a rustic apothecary store, with jars stacked neatly upon salvaged shelves and tables. Like most zero-waste places, you need to BYOB if you are looking to purchase soaps, shampoos and detergent powder in bulk.
The gorgeously bucolic setting makes it a good place to settle down with a cuppa after you have done some shopping. It is also one of the few places that stocks pet deodorizer and shampoos too, so Fluffy the dog can still look her best without harming the environment.
What’s more, Bliss is conducting workshops too, for those who are interested to take their Zero waste journey to the next level. Why don’t you check out their clothes repair workshop this coming weekend?
So there you have it! There are so many choices for us Malaysians to shop and strive for a zero-waste lifestyle – you can even start doing so at the wet market or night markets. Just bring your own bags and containers to carry all the fresh produce and dried items home with you.
Conscious living starts from taking the first step. You can then help spread the practice through example, to your friends, family and colleagues. If it is good for Earth, it is good enough for us!
Edited by Reena Kaur Bhatt