Live Zero in Sai Ying Pun is the city’s first packaging-free, zero-waste store
On the 1st of February 2018, a bright little shop on the quieter side of High Street opened its doors to the public. Little did passers-by know that it was a brave pioneer in the 852 scene, as the territory’s first, zero-waste, bulk-buy shop.
The goal? To begin a movement that changes the way people purchase their necessities, returning us to how we humans were prior to plastic.
It’s not easy to go plastic-free in Hong Kong. Scant legislation on product packaging and waste management has prevented the development of a ‘mature waste market’ like that of nearby Japan. However, what with the emergence of Edgar in Tsim Sha Tsui, and now Live Zero in Sai Ying Pun, things are looking up. Maybe Hong Kong’s landfills won’t explode in 2020 after all, as experts have predicted. Or it can even be as simple as having clean waters to swim in and trash-free beaches to enjoy.
Millennial 25-year-old interior designer Tamsin Thornburrow is behind the small business, which stocks a range of products from foodstuffs to personal care items. The entrepreneur has spent the last year researching brands and suppliers to feature on Live Zero’s shelves. Customers can come in with their own empty containers and fill them up with what they need, purchase pretty recyclable ones, or use whatever others have donated and left free-for-the-taking on the table by the door.
Thornburrow studied landscape architecture and previously worked for a furniture company and a homeware retailer. At 22, she launched Thorn and Burrow, a home decor shop specialising in textiles. It was there she noticed a significant appetite for reusable packaging, when sales for her stocked S’well stainless steel water bottles picked up.
The young activist-entrepreneur then opened the first iteration of Live Zero in PMQ, Central. Then, after gleaning advice from similar setup Unpackaged in London, she decided to dive headfirst and lease the space on High Street for a full-on eco-friendly venture.
“[Zero waste] is about limiting yourself to what you need,” says Thornburrow, whose latest project has gotten a lot of attention and support from the community and media alike. “We’re made to feel we need [so much] stuff,” she says. But do we, really?
Live Zero Bulk Foods, 24 High Street Sai Ying Pun. firstname.lastname@example.org www.livezero.hk
Written by: Julienne C. Raboca