From different kinds of Chinese pastries, noodles, cereals, oils, to cleaning products such as soap, shampoo and detergent, you can find many daily necessities at Greeners Fusion, a “naked shopping” store in Lek Yuen Plaza.
“Naked shopping” encourages customers to bring their own containers to reduce unnecessary packaging materials. Although naked shopping has become more popular in Hong Kong in recent years, there are not many naked shopping stores located in local neighbourhoods. In this Channel 823 story, we take a look at how this naked shopping store meets the needs of the surrounding community.
Greeners Fusion is operated by Greeners Action, a charitable environmental group. The primary purpose of starting the store is to promote environmental education to the public.
"During the store’s opening, some customers were confused that the goods were not packaged, and they did not know how transactions should be done. However, after we explained the procedure to them, their behaviour immediately changed, and they realised they could bring their own boxes and bags to buy things like soy sauce and cakes,” recalled Matthew Yan, Senior Project Officer of Greeners Action.
Some shoppers say they are perplexed about how the store is able to sell goods at relatively cheap prices. The reason is because the lack of packaging reduces the cost of the goods, and these savings are passed onto customers. "The chicken cookies and mannose pastries we sell are very large and yummy, and each piece is only $3. Customers often question whether we can make money," Matthew said with a smile, adding that since the store exists mainly for educational purposes, part of the aim is to attract customers through low prices.
As shoppers from the local community begin to understand what naked shopping is, the more experienced among them will remind newcomers to bring their own clean containers for shopping so as to reduce plastic use. Matthew said they decided to locate the store in a community shopping centre not only to make it easier for more people to take part in naked shopping and promote a plastic-free lifestyle, but also to strengthen social inclusion.
"Some of our customers even bring extra containers to lend to others. There is also a group of people in the neighbourhood who make an appointment to get up early in the morning to buy sweet cakes, which they eat together immediately after buying them. Sometimes some of them do not have time to come themselves, so the others help them buy cakes to eat later.” Matthew pointed out that the spirit of mutual support in the community has impressed him deeply, and this is what makes the store different from others.
Greeners Fusion strongly supports the "Made in Hong Kong" label, and almost all the products it stocks are locally made. This commitment to local goods is also related to environmental protection. Matthew said that Hong Kong has limited resources and most goods on the market are imported from other places, with increased carbon emissions as a result. "Demand drives supply, so if everyone supports local manufacturing, locally made products can become more popular, which would also reduce the load on the environment caused by imported goods in the transportation process."
In addition, each of these local products has a unique story: some products sold in the store, such as washing powder and lipsticks, are made by local women, and then sent to a packaging facility that hires people with physical or intellectual disabilities. Not only does this provide job opportunities for the disadvantaged, but it also supports community interaction.
Most solid waste is delivered to landfills. In 2019, plastics were the third largest source of landfill waste in Hong Kong, with 2,320 tonnes per day disposed of in landfills. It is therefore especially important to promote awareness of a plastic-free lifestyle. That said, the amount of daily food waste is even higher, with a daily disposal quantity of 3,353 tonnes per day! As an environmental protection expert, Matthew offers the following tips for reducing food waste:
1. Soak orange peels in a sugar water solution for three months. After they have fermented, they can become a natural cleaning product.
2. Dried-out used coffee grounds can be used for deodorising and absorbing moisture.
3. People rarely eat boiled pork from soups, but boiled pork can be made into pork floss when it is fried dry.
Matthew hopes that by reminding each other in the neighbourhood, more people will be able to reduce plastic and food waste to strengthen waste reduction at source. If everyone can make a small contribution, it will help reduce the pressure on Hong Kong’s landfills and protect the global environment.
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