Conscious consumerism has been gaining momentum in Singapore ever since the city state’s first zero-waste store, Unpackt, set up shop here in 2018, leading the revolution for more sustainable, package-free shopping. Since then, several retailers have sprung up to root for the same cause. From environmentally friendly materials and natural ingredients to bulk food sans packaging, reusable containers and sustainable pencils, we share a list where you can get your shopping needs met without potentially damaging the environment.
This Australian-owned plastic-free grocer first landed in Singapore in 2019 at Tanglin Mall, but has since added two more outlets to its stable. Here, you’ll find a wide range of raw, organic whole foods such as nuts, chocolate, seeds, spices, rice, pasta, nut butters, dried fruit and herbs from Australia and other parts of the world. Brown paper bags are provided but you’re encouraged to bring your own containers or jars and to scoop, weigh and pay for only what you need. There’s also a selection of kombuchas, junbuchas and other fermented beverages. If you’re the hands-on type, you can even make your own soap, body scrubs, laundry detergent, floor cleaner and more with products from their DIY section.
The Sustainability Project started in 2017 as a blog by Joline Tang, who was an undergraduate student at the time. A year later, she decided to launch a retail arm to make green products more available in Singapore. You can get beeswax wraps, natural dishwashing bars, soaps, collapsible bottles and cups, facial squares (to replace single-use cotton pads), reusable straws and even pre-loved books and imperfect but functional items that have been previously rejected because the packaging is dented or the products have scratches or are bent. To keep to her no-waste policy, Joline sends out her packages in unwanted packaging materials such as cereal boxes, envelopes, magazine paper and cartons.
Another place to get all your eco-friendly merchandise is this Singapore-based online store that was started by Dawn Chen who had been looking for a shop that could meet all her green–living needs. Stock up on bamboo products such as cotton swabs, cutlery, bamboo–fibre takeaway cups as well as hairbrushes and toothbrushes. The store also offers chemical-free beauty and skincare products that are easy on the environment, such as organic shampoo and body wash cubes, vegan lip butters, organic lotion sticks and face masks. Our favourite is the Brown Bag Lunch Bag, a 100% cotton canvas piece that resembles the iconic brown paper sack, except it’s not for single use and you can store just about anything in it, from cookies to pastries.
ByKuraHome is a new kid on the block, launched earlier this year, but the online retailer is already garnering good reviews for its quality products. It prides itself on eco-friendly lifestyle essentials that are both stylish and practical. Some favourites include collapsible lunchboxes that come in appealing colours such as dusty rose or dusty green; silicone storage bags that are safe for the freezer, microwave and for boiling water; as well as lattice silicone ice cube trays that are great for freezing sauces as well.
This multi-concept social enterprise houses a café, a retail space, a refillery for household and personal care products, a nail salon and a florist – truly a one-stop shop. Started by husband-and-wife team Daniel Yeow and Cheryl Ou, the venture hopes to promote low waste and conscious living as well as provide employment opportunities to the underprivileged in Singapore. Their retail store stocks zero–waste essentials from brands such as The Lala Lokal, The Swag and Lexngo as well as home décor pieces from social enterprises and small-scale artisans. The Social Space has two branches, in Chinatown and Marina One.
A humble zero-waste store in Bukit Timah Shopping Centre set up by Ms Thng Hui Hien who quit her job as an oil and gas laboratory manager to set it up, Eco.Le is small but you can get most of what you need if you are staying in the West. Here, you can stock up on groceries such as grains, seeds, beans, condiments, cereal, nuts, noodles, toiletries, snacks and more, but remember to bring your own containers. Lifestyle products include Stojo reusable cups, bamboo toothbrushes and soap bars.
The Green Collective brings together more than 40 eco-conscious entrepreneurs with a common aim of making sustainability mainstream. The co-founders – Danielle Champagne, who runs fashion brand Zhai; textile artist Agatha Lee “Agy”; and Mayur Singh of financial education start-up Mattrvest – decided to create this platform to support their fellow “green kakis” through the tough journey of starting a business. Worth noting is the fact that it’s curated based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Located in Funan, the store has a wide range of stylish sustainable, eco and socially conscious products in its airy space, from wellness and homeware products to sustainable fashion.
If you are looking for some retail therapy, try this online store. The First Green Store works with partners who are certified for Ethical Practices in their manufacturing process, so you’re assured that what you’re getting is ethically sourced and produced. Besides the usual reusable cutlery, they also carry flip-flops, earrings and necklaces, and intriguing stationery such as rainbow pencils made of recycled paper and The Sprout Pencil, a plantable sustainable pencil that has a special seed capsule where the eraser should be.