Naked shopping arrives at a major supermarket in Hong Kong

Feature Story - 2019-11-21
Plastic packaging is absolutely everywhere in our supermarkets and we’re fighting hard to change that. Now, for the first time, a large-scale store in Hong Kong is offering customers the chance to shop naked for toiletries. Responding to consumer demands, GREAT Food Hall, owned by the same company as ParknShop, has opened an eco-filling station, where products like shampoo and shower gel, are sold naked (plastic-free and unpackaged). Customers bring their own containers and fill them up!

Every time I finish a bottle of shampoo, I gaze sadly at the empty, yet intact container and think: is there no other option except to throw it away and buy a new one in yet another plastic bottle? What a waste of plastic! But now there is another option and we’re hoping it’s the start of a huge, new trend. While small-scale eco-stores have been offering naked shopping for a while now, recently GREAT Food Hall in Pacific Place in Admiralty opened a green toiletries counter where you can fill up clean, pre-used containers with personal care products.

It’s very easy to use. There are only three steps:

1. Prepare your bottle (make sure it’s clean and the right size for what you want to buy);

2. Choose the product and the amount you want to buy (500 ml or 1 litre), and fill your container;

3. Take the right barcode price card for the volume and product you selected and head to the checkout. It’s that simple!

 

Select the amount needed and use the lever to pour the product into your bottle, right up until the very last drop! © Greenpeace

Select the amount needed and use the lever to pour the product into your bottle, right up until the very last drop! © Greenpeace

Grab the correct barcode price card according to the amount and product you chose before going to the checkout. © Greenpeace

Grab the correct barcode price card according to the amount and product you chose before going to the checkout. © Greenpeace

The Refill Station is stocked with personal care products that have not been tested on animals and are made from natural ingredients.They’re also environmentally-friendly and kind to our bodies. © Greenpeace

The Refill Station is stocked with personal care products that have not been tested on animals and are made from natural ingredients.They’re also environmentally-friendly and kind to our bodies. © Greenpeace

Currently, the supermarket only sells two sizes: 500ml or 1 litre, while the small-scale eco-stores are more flexible and can accommodate any amount you need. But we hope that in time more choices will become available. Also, if you don’t have a suitable empty container, you can buy one in the supermarket BUT please remember once you’ve used it don’t throw it away. Keep it for next time.

It might seem small, but this step is revolutionary. Not only does it do away with all that unnecessary packaging, it’s basically a brand new sales model. With the ultimate aim of putting a dent into our wasteful use of plastic, it is changing everything from the logistics to the product design; from the actual product itself to sales and marketing. And it’s not just for toiletries. The same model – replacing disposable plastic packaging with reusable and refillable containers -- can be adapted for drinks, grains, oils, and all kinds of foodstuffs.

To motivate local businesses here in Hong Kong to get on board with the idea of plastic-free or naked shopping, Greenpeace invited the founder of French plastic-free supermarket chain Day by Day, Didier Onraita, to come and meet with major local supermarket bosses and small-scale eco-store owners to share his experiences and strategies. Day by Day has 50 branches in France and sells over 700 food and household products.

We have gathered more than 15,000 signatures to support our #PlasticFree supermarkets campaign and mobilised a team of volunteers to audit plastic packaging in local branches to help raise awareness and pressure businesses. Every little bit of people power is helping drive this revolutionary new plastic-free sales model. You and all our other supporters are key to our success. We can do it together!

Rest assured, we will be working harder than ever to push Hong Kong towards becoming plastic-free. We will get supermarkets to stop smothering fruit and vegetables in useless, wasteful and polluting plastic and open more eco-stations so we can buy unpackaged products in every store.

Join us!

Categories