Greenwash Stunt Flops – A PR Case Study

To catch the “Green is the New Black” trend, Dove Hong Kong issued post on Facebook 2 weeks ago to kick-off it’s “Re/Up Cycle Game”.  In large font, it read “step 123 saving planet earth” and “Let’s recycle and reuse”, and below that in small font “plastic containers of all personal care products sold by Unilever Hong Kong are recyclable.”  Saving planet earth??! That’s audacious, even … Continue reading Greenwash Stunt Flops – A PR Case Study

Bamboo Tissue Toilet Paper

PRICE  HKD 20 per pack (10 rolls) WHERE TO BUY   Salvation Army Family Store   (Only certain branches have them in stock, please call and check before you go shopping) PRODUCT RATING Great value for the money.  FSC Mix label, ISO 9001, ISO14001 GREEN RATING Quite Green. While most of the toilet paper brands available for sale at supermarkets in Hong Kong still proudly annouce that they … Continue reading Bamboo Tissue Toilet Paper

Plastic Microbeads in Scrubs

Three and a half years ago there was a plastic disaster in Hong Kong. During a typhoon, 6 shipping containers of plastic pellets were blown off a container ship into the ocean.  Dissatisfied with the government’s inaction, thousands of Hong Kong citizens took up the task of cleaning up the plastic pellets that washed up on the beaches. In addition to accidents, the simple act … Continue reading Plastic Microbeads in Scrubs

Non-petroleum Moisturizer

Coconut Oil

PRODUCT Coconut Oil

PRODUCT RATING Good. It doesn’t have the creamy texture that we have become accustomed to in conventional moisturizers, but it’s not greasy like baby oil either. The fragrance will be familiar to those that enjoy coconut candies and desserts.

GREEN RATING Deep Green. Coconut is a sustainable fruit with many uses. I feel much safer putting an edible oil on my skin than I do using conventional moisturizers. Skin is our largest organ, why take chances by putting synthetic chemicals on it.

AVAILABLE AT The fair trade, organic version pictured above (HKD 159/200ml) is available online at Fair Circle. You can also buy a large bottle (HKD $32/1litre) from your local Indonesian grocer that caters to maids. They use it for cooking, but the shopkeeper told us that the lifeguards at the nearby pool use it as suntan lotion. (NOTE: It comes in a large plastic soda bottle so needs to warmed and the put into a container with a wider mouth for easy use.) According to this website, it is important to buy pure coconut oil, that is not hydrogenated, because it has a lower melting point and will not clog your pores.

Most mass market moisturizers are petroleum-based and contain an ingredient list that requires a chemistry degree to make sense of. Petroleum is a non-renewable resource that is a primary cause of climate change. As petroleum becomes scarcer, we will expand extraction into more fragile ecosystems, such as the arctic. The scarcity of oil has already resulted in the nightmare that is the Canadian tar sands. Continue reading “Non-petroleum Moisturizer”

Natural deodorant: Does it work?


PRODUCT Mineral crystal deodorant stick HK$20-30. They are sold under various brands such as Crystal or Naturally Fresh.

PRODUCT RATING Very good (when used correctly – see below). It doesn’t prevent you from sweating, by clogging up your pores, like antiperspirants and it doesn’t cover up the smell with a strong fragrance, like conventional deodorants. It lets you sweat naturally, but inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes body odour.

GREEN RATING Quite Green. The crystals occur naturally and do not contain synthetic chemicals like conventional products. The packaging is excessive, however the product is much smaller in size and last significantly longer (up to 9 months) than conventional products thereby producing less garbage overall.


Sweat is important in allowing the body to naturally cool itself, but many of us are concerned about smelling bad.  Antiperspirants use an aluminum based compound to prevent sweating. Aluminum ions are drawn through ducts in your skin into your cells. The ions bring water with them, causing the cells to swell and squeeze the ducts closed so sweat can’t get out. For those that sweat alot, this may permanently shrink the sweat gland, decreasing the amount of sweat it can produce. To read more about how they work click here.

In contrast, deodrants use strong fragrances to cover up smell and contain hazardous anti-bacterials like Triclosan to inhibit the growth of the bacteria that causes odour. Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain a myriad of chemicals that may or may not be good for your health.

This recommended alternative is made of naturally occuring mineral salts. When a thin layer of salt is applied to your skin, it can prevent the growth of bacteria, and thus control odour. Continue reading “Natural deodorant: Does it work?”

Clean and Reinvigorated Naturally

PRODUCT Loofah bath sponges. HK$ 10-15

PRODUCT RATING Great for bathing and exfoliating dead skin. Washing with this scrub gives your skin a clean, refreshed feel. May feel a bit rough on the skin the first few times you use it. The slim profile and an elastic strap on the back makes it easy to hold.

GREEN RATING Quite Green. Made from a natural vegetable fiber, instead of petrochemicals, the pad itself is made of a sustainable material. It is trimmed with some terry cloth, cotton trimming and an elastic strap. When thrown away, most of it should biodegrade quite easily.

WHERE TO BUY IT A little stall in the Sham Shui Po market. Sasa occasionally sells them. Also available on Taobao.

If you use nylon mesh puffs or synthetic bath sponges, you may want to consider trying this natural loofah bathing pad instead. It is made from the fibers of the loofah plant, also known as a gourd, that is grown by farmers in Asia.

It has a coarse texture that stimulates the skin but may take some getting used to. It scrubs off dead skin and works especially well on rough patches. After using it, your skin feels super clean and revitalized. I have come to enjoy the coarse feel especially after a good sweat. Continue reading “Clean and Reinvigorated Naturally”