10 Southeast Asian Brands Promoting a Plastic-Free Lifestyle
July 13, 2022
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Aglobal campaign, Plastic-Free July, encourages people to reduce single-use plastic waste.
Considering Southeast Asia is the hotspot for plastic pollution, with more than 31 million tons of plastic produced yearly by at least 10 ASEAN countries, this campaign is essential for the region.
Organisations like World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) are already taking initiatives to curb plastic pollution. And many brands in the region are also going plastic-free by manufacturing eco-friendly products. As an alternative to plastic, brands use bamboo, cotton, coconut, rice, and agricultural waste.
Some of these brands even rely on celebrities and social media influencers with a shared interest in sustainability to spread awareness and persuade consumers to switch to sustainable solutions.
Let's understand these brands' role in reducing plastic waste and carbon footprint.
10 Plastic-Free Sustainable Brands in Southeast Asia
RiceStraws, owned by Nlytech Biotech, produces straws made from broken-down rice flour and tapioca starch extracted from cassava plants. Both the ingredients are safe to ingest and promise a plastic-free future.
The straws are durable and can last up to 60 days, leaving no carbon footprint behind. The Malaysia-based brand supplies rice straws to regional restaurants and stores in sustainable packaging and encourages everyone to ditch plastic straws. Companies like Kafka Coffee, Mama Kim, Penang Hill, Juicy, etc., use rice straws to serve their end customers.
Outfyt, based in Singapore, does not believe in the mass production of fashion that ends up in landfills. Instead, they use Econyl regenerated nylon, extracted from waste materials like fishnets and mixed with Lycra Xtra Life fibre.
The nylon lycra blend can survive degradation from sunscreen lotions, heat, and chlorinated water.
To reduce plastic waste further, the brand uses cassava bags for packaging and afforested paper with soy ink certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Step of Grace, an eco-friendly lifestyle brand in Indonesia, is another company that has earned a place in the plastic-free July brands list.
The brand sells fashion and footwear products from organic cotton, bamboo, and other eco-friendly materials like repurposed seashells. Instead of using plastic buttons for their footwear range, the brand uses seashells. They also use cassava extracts for packaging material and tree fibre for price tags and labels. Whereas cardboard boxes, water-activated tapes, and dust bags for shipping.
So if you're ordering a product from this brand, you get eco-friendliness wrapped from the inside out!
A concerned mother founded Charlie Banana, a brand that offers cloth diapers, a fantastic solution to keep the planet plastic-free.
The waterproof layer in regular diapers comprises an inner plastic layer, which increases the amount of single-use waste and harms the baby's skin.
Charlie banana, one of the leading eco-friendly brands in Hong Kong, produces reusable diapers made of cloth with a layer of micro terry (a soft polyester blend) and high-quality fleece. Besides diapers, the brand sells plastic-free training pants and feminine care items, including reusable pads, nursing care, etc.
In 2020, the brand announced its first brand ambassador collaboration with Jennifer Toth, a mother who loves using Charlie Banana for her kid. Jennifer represents the brand in events and on social media.
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Zhai Eco Collection, a top eco-friendly brand in Singapore, uses slow fashion to reduce plastic waste and carbon footprint. The brand uses natural materials like Tencel (made with cellulose fibre), bamboo, and linen to manufacture sustainable fashion apparel.
The brand's collection of goods includes accessories like sling bags made from oak tree skin and necklaces made from wood. Their zero-waste lifestyle range includes products like bowl covers, lunch boxes, and coffee cups made from cotton and food-grade silicone, respectively.
They even partner with eco-friendly suppliers to get access to plastic-free packaging.
Pn. Asna, a young female entrepreneur who aims to reduce waste through upcycling, founded Palmy. The brand creates plastic-free textile goods from banana stems, bamboo shoots, pineapple leaves, and other waste items to reduce its carbon footprints. Their fabric threads are made from the leftover pineapple leaves from the harvest.
To further reduce plastic consumption, this eco-friendly brand in Malaysia uses jute bags for packaging, provides bamboo toothbrushes and transports natural loofah sponges from Sarawak. It also extracts natural colours from catappa, betel, and lenang leaves rather than using plastic-filled dyes.
The Invisible Company is undoubtedly a creative business on the eco-friendly brand lists. The brand has developed water-soluble bags as an alternative to plastic.
Their products, like dog poop bags, mailers, garments bags, etc., all can be dissolved in hot water (80°C or above) after use. Once dissolved, the bags leave no microplastic and can be further broken down by microorganisms, leaving behind zero toxins.
The brand works with 700+ celebrities in Hong Kong to spread the word about their product and educate consumers about a plastic-free world. Companies like Buyandship, L'occitane, Arc, Maroon, Bad influencer, Better days skin co., and more use #INVISIBLEBAG.
The brand publishes articles and posts on its website and social media to encourage people to participate in the plastic-free July initiative.
Formerly known as Lacess, KIBO is an eco-friendly lifestyle brand based in Hong Kong. It uses single-use plastic bottles, leather scraps, cork, and upcycled rubber to make plastic-free sneakers.
Seeing the amount of plastic used in the footwear industry, the co-founders decided to use the waste materials and plastic bottles to create a sustainable and biodegradable footwear range that's healthy for the skin and the environment.
They also create eco-friendly sunglasses made from cotton and wood pulp.
Based in Hong Kong, Coconut Matter is one of the leading eco-friendly beauty brands that produces all-natural cosmetics and personal care products and sells them in plastic-free packaging. They use coconut as their main ingredient in body butter, balms, soap scrubs and more. As many brands use microplastic beads for scrubs, Coconut Matter uses coconut charcoal.
They also use other ingredients like flowers, shrubs, seeds, and nature-derived minerals for enhanced quality. Their products come in compostable packaging made from cardboard, food-grade wax paper, and biodegradable laminate.
Influencers are a crucial part of the brand's marketing strategy. They join online communities of bloggers and content creators and share reviews about the product's features with other people to boost awareness. The strategy results in people trying out the products and sharing their experience online, increasing the brand's sales.
Located in Singapore, Indosole is an eco-friendly footwear brand that uses discarded motorbike tyres and natural rubber to produce sustainable sandals.
The brand's founder, Kyle Parsons was aware that 1.5 billion tyres end up in landfills yearly and take thousands of years to decompose. So he derived the tyre-to-sandal idea from his visit to Indonesia and Bali and decided to create his range of eco-friendly footwear.
Today, Indosole has successfully recycled almost 55000 tyres with the help of 6 employees and 25 craftspeople.
Whether it's plastic-free July or any other month, the eco-friendly brands in Southeast Asia are making a conscious effort to reduce plastic consumption.
But despite all the effort, many brands face challenges in spreading awareness. Most people in the region might have not even heard the name of these brands, let alone support their mission.
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