Simple, clean gifts

As we begin to make our lists and check them twice, now is the perfect time to reflect on our intentions behind the giving this year. It really is the thought that counts.

“what we’ve learned is we need clean air, clean water and clean food to survive. Kids know that, but a lot of adults have forgotten” David Suzuki

In the spirit of keeping it simple, here is our holiday gift list on the theme of reduce, re-use and recycle and in honour of our lifetime hero, David Suzuki … naturally.


1. Teapot

A single teabag can make a full pot of tea, more than the single cup we have become used to. A simple white or clear teapot matches any table setting. In addition to bags, loose leaves are very easy to find in Hong Kong supermarkets and tea shops. Loose tea cuts down tremendously on packaging, uses less warehouse, transport and air-conditioned retail space and reduces the amount of landfill waste. Ikea sells a simple, affordable tea strainer. We’re not talking about a fancy gift tea set for display and taken off the shelf only for fancy occasions.

2. Water bottle

Hong Kong is installing water fountains and filling stations all over the territory and many can be found with the Find Water app. Choose a stainless steel bottle without a liner to reduce the possibility plastic leeching into your water. Re-using single-use bottles is never a good idea as the plastic used to produce them degrades quickly and will begin poisoning your water quickly with exposure to sunlight. Our choice is a resin bottle (available from Muji) that can be used for hot or cold water.

3. Handkerchiefs

Small packets of paper tissues in plastic packaging have become a Hong Kong staple. They are handed out with newspapers and often distributed as free premiums with branded packaging at MTR entrances in marketing campaigns. While there are times when a tissue is the best choice for a mess on the go, there are many other times when a cloth hankie will do. We buy ours at Wing On Department Store and have been known to embroider the edges and monogram for a personalized gift to our self and our friends. At home, we keep them handy in the kitchen, dining room, living room, office and bedroom and we store the paper tissues out of sight.

4. Cloth tote

The plastic bag levy has dramatically cut down on our use of branded disposable plastic shopping bags. This small fee has made a big impact. Unfortunately, we are now seeing an increase in cheap, non-woven bags and are concerned with their popularity. Awareness is now growing after research earlier this year about the damaging effect of microfibres on our environment. Cloth totes are abundant in Hong Kong with a variety of styles that fold into their own pocket for your convenience.

5. Cloth napkins

We visit nice restaurants from time to time and we appreciate the elegance of cloth napkins. We can bring everyday elegance into our life by using everyday cloth napkins at home. A set of different colors means each family member can choose their own and use it for several days before it needs to go into the laundry. We keep a clean cotton bandana in our bag for use in restaurants that still rely on paper napkins.

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