10 to buy: Essential, zero-waste products from The Bulk House

Great buys from Mainland China's first zero-waste store

All images courtesy The Bulk House
We live in a world that seems to be ever-more wrapped in plastic, covered by bubble wrap, then layered into numerous boxes. Even individual pieces of fruit now seem to come with a plastic cocoon. But for those of us who have yet to master the true art of zero-waste living, what can we do to help the world become a little less plastic?

We asked Joe Harvey (JH), co-founder of Beijing's remarkable zero-waste brand The Bulk House, what his recommended products were that can help us transform our lives while reducing waste. As well as giving us his top ten recommendations, Joe shares some tips for how to do your bit in the battle against unnecessary waste.

Explore all these products and more by heading over to The Bulk House store, heading to their website or following them on WeChat.

640
Reusable insulated bottle

Reusable insulated bottle

Everyone needs a water bottle. Whether you fill it with your morning caffeine fix, ice-cold water that you hide from worried Chinese colleagues or just use it to consume your daily dose of H20, a reusable bottle helps not only you but also our planet.

JH: This bottle can be used for years and years and eliminates the need to use plastic bottles or coffee cups. I use this every day to drink water and coffee [and] now drink more water as a result. Because I now don't need to frequent 7/11 (or other convenience stores), I no longer get tempted to drink the unhealthy, but annoyingly delicious drinks like Coke and Sprite, saving my belt line, teeth and money. This one-time purchase means I am doing my bit to reduce landfill and reduce the strain currently on the recycling industry.

These insulated bottles can keep liquids hot for 12 hours and or cold for up to 24 hours. Available in both 350mL (198RMB) and 590mL (248RMB) sizes, as well as different colours.

Organic cotton and muslin bags

Organic cotton and muslin bags

Keeping your produce, grains and other staples fresh is important for all of us, helping the food remain tasty and saving us money. But rather than wrapping your food in plastic bags or flimsy containers, why not try reusable bags that maintain the freshness of your food without producing more waste?

JH: A set of each size (three per set, so six bags in total) arms you very well to complete a zero waste shop (meaning you don't take any plastic bags of packaging away with you). To do this, you will need to go to a market where the food isn't wrapped up in plastic. This also means you buy what you need instead of buying the serving the supermarket decided to suffocate in plastic to ensure that you buy more. Also, this supports smaller, local businesses that we definitely what to keep in the city.

Mesh bags can be used for fruit and vegetables, while muslin bags are great for rice, beans, dried fruit, nuts, bread and crisps. Each bag comes in three sizes, small (25RMB), medium (30RMB) or large (35RMB) and a set of all three sizes (75RMB) means you save 15RMB.

Eco-box

Eco-box

Don't know how to take your lunch to work each day? Want to store your food in something other than that old takeaway container? What about when you head out to the shops but don't want to use a bag to store your purchase? Welcome to the eco-box.

JH: This is a lightweight, strong, airtight container for taking away wet items from the market [or storing food for whenever you need it]. It's perfect for buying tofu, cake (yep, you can get that in bulk around Beijing), meats, cheese, fish, pickled vegetables and more.

The eco-box comes is one size (208RMB).

Bamboo toothbrush

Bamboo toothbrush

As something each of us uses each and every day, this zero-waste toothbrush is one of the easiest ways to switch to a sustainable lifestyle. Made from bamboo and horsehair, this brush can naturally compost or be reused for a household cleaning brush or as a creative way to name your plants.

JH: You can push the head into a plant pot and write the name of the plant or vegetable inside the plant pot on the handle. You can use the toothbrush for the same amount of the time as you would a plastic one, and as the dentist recommends, switch your toothbrush every three months.

Toothbrushes come in kid's sizes (35RMB) or in brown (40RMB) or white (45RMB) for adults.

Menstrual cup by Lunette

Menstrual cup by Lunette

Ladies, do your bit for the planet each month and get one of these easy-to-clean, reusable cups. No more packaging, throwing away used pads or tampons, or monthly shops for those 'luxury' feminine needs.

JH: This reusable cup can be used for a decade, saving you ladies a lot of money.

The menstrual cups come in a range of colours (329RMB).

Safety razor

Safety razor

Looking for a clean shave and a clean way of living? Replace your disposable razors (and disposable razor heads) with this sleek shaver.

Safety razors come with a pack of razor blades (20RMB, pack of ten) and you can choose from a short (120RMB) or long (138RMB) handle.

Reusable bamboo ear cleaner

Reusable bamboo ear cleaner

Cotton buds to clean out your ears? So last year. We all have ear wax, and we all need to clean out those hearing holes at some point. Save money and the planet with this bamboo tool.

JH: This is probably my favourite product, an alternative to a Q-tip/cotton bud. Reusable for months and months and actually cleans out your ear as opposed to a Q-tip which is more likely to impact the earwax. This is the ear-cleaning revolution!

Get one of these bad boys for just 10RMB.

Organic cotton string bag

Organic cotton string bag

One of the easiest ways to reduce all that plastic waste: Go shopping with a string bag. Hold your fruits and veggies in this as you do your weekly shop, or use it as a cool storage solution in your home.

JH: These bags are really light and roll up really small. It's a cross between a mesh bag and a tote bag, and it looks pretty cool as well. Save the plastic bag! Save a whale!

String bags come in one size (48RMB).

Cotton tote bag

Cotton tote bag

While we're sure most of you have some sort of tote bag living in your home, why not make your life just a little bit easier and get a few of these to keep on you.

JH: On the reverse of the bag is the message: 'I refuse disposable plastic' and '我拒绝一次性塑料制品' (wo jujue yicixing suliao zhipin). This comes in handy when you are trying to politely tell the ayi/whatever the male equivalent of an ayi is that you don't want or need a plastic bag. Showing them this message will show them you mean business.

They're pretty, they're cheap (30RMB).

Wooden dish brush with replaceable head

Wooden dish brush with replaceable head

Another simple switch for everyday use, this cleaning brush will make your dishes shine as much as your soul (for doing so much good in the world). The wooden handle comes with a handy hook at the bottom and fits replaceable hemp heads at the top.

JH: THE HEAD IS REPLACEABLE! This is one high-tech dish brush. Chuck the old head in your compost bin (if you have one) or dig a little hole and bury it in the ground, it won't pollute the soil.

Get your wooden dish brush (45RMB) with replaceable heads (30RMB) now.

See more

The Bulk House

Mainland China's first store dedicated to zero-waste and packaging-free

Read more
24-2 Gulou Dong Dajie (Chaoyang, Chaoyang)

Comments