Eco-friendly shopping in Kuala Lumpur


eco-friendly shopping cover pic
Featured image adapted from: @meko.my, @thehivebulkfoods, and @forthebumi

Many of us have jumped on the eco-friendly bandwagon by bringing along reusable straws when we go for our regular bubble tea run. But our journey in sustainable living doesn’t have to end there.

From reusable cotton pads to bamboo toothbrushes, it’s easy enough to swop out our everyday items with greener alternatives. Here are some places where you can get started:


1. MEKO – Instagram shop for daily necessities


MEKO is still a fresh face on the scene, having only been established less than a year ago. But they’ve managed to stand out with their strong IG game. They’ve been steadily introducing new products since they started in December 2018, with bamboo toothbrushes and reusable facial pads being their most recent additions. 

bamboo toothbrush
Their compostable bamboo toothbrushes come with a matching case (RM25).
Image credit: @meko.my

Plastic toothbrushes take ages to break down when they get dumped in the landfill. Just do the math – 1 toothbrush every 3 month equals 4 every year, which adds up to 280 in our lifetime if we live to 70!

So yes, they are defo a no-go if you’re striving to be eco-conscious. 

The alternative: sustainable bamboo toothbrushes (RM25), which degrade in just 6 months. The minimalist designs of MEKO’s toothbrushes are waaay prettier than the ones you see on commercial shelves anyway. 

reusable facial pads
Reusable facial pads (RM30).
Image credit: @meko.my

The next big culprit happens to be a must-have on any vanity: cotton pads. So if you want to eliminate plastic packaging and single-use culture, invest a tiny bit more for Meko’s reusable Bamboo Facial Pads (from RM30).

bamboo cultery + vegan foodwrap
Image adapted from: @meko.my

Toiletries aside, MEKO also has a full set of reusable bamboo cutlery (RM40) and vegan food wraps (RM70) that are made of cotton, plant wax, and resin, so you can do away with cling film. 

Shop at MEKO here.


2. Bumi and Co – boho-chic grocery bags


net bag
Net bag (RM30)
Image credit: @bumiandco

If you don’t want to look like an aunty when you’re out on your grocery run, swop out the recycling bag for a net bag (RM30) sold at Bumi and Co’s. Their simple boho aesthetic is popular with those who are both fashion forward and environmentally friendly. They currently have 1 design, but keep an eye out for more additions to the line.

These net bag also take up minimal space, so you can bring one along wherever you go and save on paying money for a plastic bag in stores which have this policy. It’s a good habit to practise so we can avoid more plastic bags being dumped in the ocean. #SaveTheTurtles everyone. 

Shop at Bumi and Co here.


3. Syaza’s – old furniture turned into aesthetic centrepieces


Syaza, an interior designer, upcycles old furniture into aesthetically pleasing ones that look brand new too. 

broken chair before vs after
Syaza makes glow ups possible for old furniture items like this broken chair
Image adapted from: @syazaofalltrades

If you have old furniture that is looking a little worse for wear, are unwilling to part with it, Syaza’s your go-to girl. You can also browse through her Instagram feed to see which upcycled pieces are up for grabs.

wooden chair
Wooden chair (RM500)
Image credit: @syazaofalltrades

Another bonus: Every piece of upcycled furniture cost less than RM1,000, so you can jazz up your home without burning a hole in your pocket. You won’t get shortchanged in terms of style either as each piece is one-of-a-kind. 

tropical chairs
RM1,600 for a set of tropical-themed wooden armchairs
Image credit: @syazaofalltrades

interior designing
Even when designing her clients’ houses, Syaza DIYs many of the furniture items herself.
Image credit: @syazaofalltrades

Syaza has also started offering interior designing services, so you can always book a consultation with her if you’re looking for someone to beautify your home. 

Website


4. Cotton Mermaid – reusable pads and liners with cute designs


When dai yi ma – or Aunt Flo, whichever you prefer – comes around, us girls can go through one whole pack of pads easy-peasy. While they are an absolute necessity, the usual pads we use are not the friendliest to the environment. Try reusable cloth pads (from RM26.90/pad) from Cotton Mermaid as a sustainable alternative. 

cloth pads set
Mermaid’s Pad Deluxe Kit (RM331.90)
Image credit: Cotton Mermaid

These plastic-free options are not only eco-friendly, they’re also comfortable because they are made with organic bamboo cotton, a super breathable material.

While spending over RM300 for a kit of 10 cloth pads of varying sizes sounds pricey, these are a long-term investment because they can last you 5 years, compared to the monthly purchase of regular pads that cost about RM15/packet monthly. 

panty liners
The panty liners come in 6 designs, each priced at RM21.90.
Image adapted from: Cotton Mermaid

They also have a range of panty liners that come in designs that are simply adorbs. Just like the pads, these are also made from organic bamboo cotton, so you won’t get skin irritation that sometimes come with the regular plastic-made ones.

Shop at Cotton Mermaid here.


5. A Bit Less – zero waste bulk store for daily necessities


zero waste store
Image credit: @a_bit_less

If you’ve cut plastic bags out of your life, the next step would be to eliminate plastic packaging by buying from zero-waste stores like A Bit Less, where you can get groceries and household items that are not packaged in single-use plastics.

cereal, legumes
Image credit: @a_bit_less

A zero-waste shopping experience entails bringing your own containers to the store, where everything – legumes, spices, nuts, detergent and more – is sold in bulk. It’s like buying veggies from the fresh food section when we go on grocery runs, but instead of plastic bags, you put them in containers. 

loofah
Image credit: @a_bit_less

A Bit Less also sells cleaning tools like loofahs made of dried gourds – an all-natural alternative to sponges and net loofahs. These vegan options can be used as both an exfoliating tool in the shower and a dish sponge. For toilet-cleaning purposes, A Bit Less sells scrubbers made from coconut fibres too.

reusable ang pow packets
A reusable ang pow packet that can double as a money pouch (RM10/each)
Image credit: @a_bit_less

Address: 20, Jalan Ambong 4, Kepong Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon-Tue 11AM-7PM | Fri 11AM-7PM | Sat & Sun 11AM-6PM (Closed on Wednesdays)
Telephone: 03-6258 0723
Website


6. In Between Cultura – organic handkerchiefs & waterproof pads


handkerchiefs
Double Gauze Handkerchief (RM18).
Image credit: @inbetweencultura

Those with sinus problems and allergies can benefit from In Between Cultura’s organic handkerchiefs, as they’re softer and more durable than your standard pack of tissues. So when you’ve caught a bad case of the flu, these cloth handkerchiefs won’t leave the skin around your nose irritated from the constant nose blowing. 

These tissue alternatives are also easy to clean as you just need to pop them in the washer or handwash them. 

cloth pads
Reusable sanitary pads and panty liners
Image credit: In Between Cultura

The shop offers a range of women’s personal care as well, including reusable sanitary pads (from RM45/pad) and panty liners (from RM25/pad). They’ve made a waterproof cloth pad (from RM40/pad) for those who experience a heavier flow too. 

Shop at In Between Cultura here.


7. TM Farm – fresh, organic produce delivered to your home


farm in Bukit Tinggi
TM Farm in Bukit Tinggi
Image credit: TM Farm

We tend to have the mindset that imported produce are of higher quality, but it’s not always true since Malaysian-grown food can be up to par too. Buying local produce also reduces our carbon footprint as they don’t need to be airflown from thousands of kilometres away. 

TM Farm’s sustainable farm at Bukit Tinggi, Pahang grows a variety of organic vegetables and fruits. To make it accessible, they have a subscription box service where they arrange for weekly deliveries of a box of organic produce, including a clutch of fresh kampung eggs to your doorstep. 

vege box
This box includes celery, ginger, turmeric, carrots, garlic, cucumber, green apple, sweet potato, lemon, broccoli, radish, and lemongrass.
Image credit: TM Farm

You’ll be in for a surprise each week as they only pack produce that are in season, but you can tell them your favourites and they’ll try to include them in. There are 3 types of box deliveries available, Asian Box (from RM380/month), Western Box (from RM450/month), and Fruit Box (from RM420/month)

It might sound like a lot, but there’s enough produce in the box to feed the whole family. If you break it down, you’re only paying about RM100 per week for fresh, organic produce. So if you cook a lot or if you’re vegan, TM Farm is a convenient option. 

Props to TM Farm for using recyclable cardboard boxes and collecting old boxes to be used again for the next week’s deliveries too.

Shop at TM Farm here.


8. BYOB – bring your own bottle to refill cleaning products


BYOB storefront
A copper-painted robot made from an old recycling bin is placed at BYOB’s storefront to greet customers
Image credit: @beyondjourneymy

Cleaning agents are a must for every household, but instead of throwing out that bottle of laundry detergent once you’ve finished it, you can bring the empty bottle to BYOB for a refill. Not only will that help reduce plastic waste, it’s also a more affordable option as the shop keeps their prices low. 

Refilling your dish soap costs RM3.60/litre while laundry detergent costs RM4.20/litre

detergents
Image credit: @spinzer

If you really want to be serious about doing the most you can to save the Earth, go for their Oh My Goodness range, where the products are formulated with plant-based ingredients. They are, of course, a little more expensive with OMG LaundryPlus costing RM10 while OMG Dishwash is RM9.80. 

All their products are completely biodegradable, which means there’ll be minimal residue polluting our waterways.

Address: 15, SS20/11, Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon-Tues 10.30AM-1.30PM, 2.30PM-6PM | Thurs-Fri 10.30AM-1.30PM, 2.30PM-6PM | Sat-Sun 10AM-4PM (Closed on Wednesdays)
Telephone: 012-245 5480
Website


9. Origin Bulk Store – practice eco-gifting during festive seasons


snacks
Origin Bulk Store has a variety of dried nuts and fruits like walnuts (RM6.80/100g), dried mango slices (RM4.30/100g), almonds (RM6.80/100g), and pistachios (RM6.80/100g).
Image credit: @originbulkstore

Gift-giving is a common practice, especially during festive seasons like Ramadhan and Deepavali. While it is always an appreciated gesture, the amount of plastic packaging that goes into each hamper can be wasteful. If you’re looking for an alternative, try shopping at Origin Bulk Store

gift giving
Image credit: @originbulkstore

They use upcycled glass jars and baskets for its hampers, so you won’t have to worry about contributing to plastic waste. Their bulk store carries a variety of dried fruits and nuts, which they include in their festive hampers, so not only will your gift be greener, it’ll also be healthier. 

reused box packaging
They even reuse things like mooncake boxes for their CNY packaging
Image credit: @originbulkstore

Apart from sweet treats, Origin Bulk Store also carries ingredients every Chinese mum loves to receive as a gift during CNY, from plump Chinese Mushrooms (RM8.80/100g) to Red Dates (RM2.50/100g). 

Once you’re done with the jars, you can always donate them back to the store for them to reuse. 

Shop at Origin Bulk Store here.


10. The Hive – a one-stop lifestyle mart


bulk foods store
Image credit: @The Hive Bulk Foods

The Hive is the pioneer when it comes to zero-waste stores in the city. They first started out as a humble shop in a townhouse back in 2016, but with immense support from Malaysians, they’re now standing strong with 5 outlets across Klang Valley. They carry everything from groceries to personal care products. 

unpaper towels
An alternative to paper towels (from RM12)
Image credit: @thehivebulkfoods

While paper is compostable, it still requires a ton of energy to produce; let’s not even mention the number of trees that need to be cut down to make them. Enter The Hive’s Unpaper Towel (from RM12), a reusable kitchen towel made from 100% cotton fabric. It comes in pretty and colourful designs too. 

beeswax wrap
Beeswax wraps are an alternative to plastic cling wrap (from RM15)
Image credit: @thehivebulkfoods

When there’s too much food leftover food, we’d often use cling film to keep them fresh in the fridge. But since we’re on the say no to plastic movement, we should go for beeswax wraps (from RM15) instead. These aesthetically pleasing wraps can be washed after each use and are 100% compostable. 

bamboo toothbrush + konjac sponge
Haritaki Tooth Powder (RM15), Toothbrushes (RM40 for 4), and Konjac Natural Scrub (RM15).
Image adapted from: @thehivebulkfoods

They have a ton more stuff in their online and retail stores like bamboo toothbrushes (RM10/each) as well as ethically sourced horsehair bamboo toothbrushes (RM25/each) ones, and konjac sponges (RM15), which you can use in place of your face-cleansing sponge. 

See all locations here.
Telephone: 017-488 6979
Website


11. For The Bumi – metal straws that come with cute pouches


metal straws
For The Bumi’s gold metal straw set comes with 3 different straws and a cleaning brush (RM20)
Image credit: @forthebumi

Many of us have taken our first step in zero waste living by purchasing a metal straw so we don’t have to use plastic straws offered at eateries. If you’re not yet a proud owner of one, pay a visit to For The Bumi’s Instagram page. 

metal straws + pouch
Image credit: @forthebumi

Their online store offers metal straws (RM17/set) in different metallic hues, from purple to blue and even rose gold. Each set comprises 3 kinds of straws: a straight straw, a bent one, and the ever-important boba straw. It comes with a cleaning brush and a pouch to boot. 

pouch designs
The metal straw pouches come in a variety of fun designs
Image credit: @forthebumi

To get your hands on one of these pouches instead of the plain one, just top up an extra RM3

Shop at For The Bumi here.


Eco-friendly items for a sustainable lifestyle


There are so many eco-friendly alternatives that we can swop out from our daily lives, from toothbrushes and cotton pads to straws and even sanitary pads. With each switch, you’re actually making a significant change in the world. So we’re all for these shops that are doing their part to combat plastic waste. 

Check out our other article on sustainable shopping:

 

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