Although recycling your waste is a noble — and increasingly imperative — thing to do, the best way to reduce the strain on our landfills is to eliminate waste altogether. Zero-waste stores offer environmentally sensitive shoppers the option of buying groceries in bulk, sans any sort of packaging, which often has the added advantage of being cheaper and fresher. Here is our list of stores in the Klang Valley that subscribe to the zero-waste lifestyle and how you can start making a change in your homes too.
Former advertising professional Cheryl Low is an avid diver with a love for the environment, which inspired her to establish Nude The Zero Waste Store. Together with partner Wilson Chin, they created a calm welcoming space for others to shop and learn about the zero-waste lifestyle.
Located within metres of a well-populated residential zone, Nude, which spans 1,650 sq ft, was designed to ensure that basic living needs are met with a wide range of products that encompass four evocatively named sections. Moods covers personal care and beauty products, Foods is for all edible dry produce including herbs, spices and seasonings, Goods is for cleaning supplies and insect repellents, while Pets — a nod to Low’s love for her fur babies — includes an impressive list of food and treats for both cats and dogs.
Clean angular lines define the store’s design, allowing for free-flowing movement of customers. Equipped with tools to aid in quick replenishment, weighing stations allow independence with ample counter space, although friendly assistance is never far away.
11A, Jalan 19/29, Seksyen 19, PJ. 03 7498 0488. See more here.
When Malika Bouqniss moved to Malaysia, she struggled to find zero-waste products that would suit her lifestyle. Determined to keep her household eco-friendly, she began Frangipani Bulk, focusing initially on bathroom products such as toothpaste and soaps, which was especially difficult to find. Selling her wares online, Bouqniss was thrilled to find that other people were also interested in the prospects of a cleaner, greener lifestyle.
Frangipani Bulk’s items are made from sustainable, organic and biodegradable materials. Aware of the Malaysian market’s preference for touch and feel products, Bouqniss opened her bricks-and-mortar space in The Linc KL, on the first floor next to Ben’s Independent Grocer. She also began selling food in bulk, which was not viable to do online as the packaging would create waste. The space is quite open. It is demarcated by relaxing pale orange walls, a colour which Bouqniss said she loves. Even the shelving used was specially designed for the store and made using recycled wood.
15, The Linc KL - Lot 1, 360, Jalan Tun Razak, KL. More info here.
Zero-waste advocate Claire Sancelot opened the second branch of her zero-waste bulk store The Hive in Ampang, above the famous Hock Choon Supermarket. The Hive stocks over 300 whole bulk foods along with countless sustainable items, from cleaning to personal care products. The Hive’s ultimate goal is to reduce landfill waste and encourage people to adopt the five R’s — refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot — seriously.
The new store is a U-shaped space with bright yellow walls, adorned with instructional images and words and phrases that the brand associates with, such as “plastic-free” and “natural”. The minimalist wood shelves are stacked with countless eco-friendly goods that encourage zero wastage. The store even features a tester table for skin products and a “Be your own chemist” table complete with various essential oils for customers to mix and match. The Hive Ampang even has a little nook where classes and workshops are conducted regularly.
Bangunan Hock Choon, 1st Floor Jalan Ampang, KL. 011 1144 388 792; Lorong Maarof, Bangsar Park, KL. 03 2202 0707. More details here.
It is not just plastic bottles that do harm by choking our landfills; The kind of detergent we use can also have a negative effect on our ecosystem. With this in mind, all BYOB products have been formulated without SLS and parabens, which is a common skin allergen for both children and adults. They are also fully biodegradable, which means that in the long run, they will be much kinder to Mother Nature than regular store-bought detergent.
15, SS20/11, Damansara Kim, PJ. 012 245 5480. See more here.
A charming little nook of a store within Mingle Café, owner Loke Poh Lin’s major inventory presently consists of handmade soaps, liquid shampoo and laundry powder. Vintage snacks — goldfish and iced gem biscuits — are sold to those with their own containers, and make for a great conversation starter on the zero-waste concept.
55 Jalan Sultan, KL. 011 1164 2900. See here for more.
This article first appeared in Haven Spring 2019.