Bamboo toothbrushes and beeswax wraps are a hit with eco-conscious homeowners

Dawn Chen, a regional sales manager for an international hospitality chain, prefers to bring her own reusable shopping bag, cup, lunchbox, and cutlery. However, she finding the right cup to have her tea on the go was difficult; reusable plastic cups are not good for hot liquids, while those made of glass or metal were too heavy, and leaked, she discovered.

Frustrated with not being able to find a one-stop shop that can meet all her green living needs, she decided to start one herself -- naming it Your Sustainable Store.

“To lead a greener lifestyle does not mean we have to compromise on style and aesthetics. I started this venture with the aim to make a wide variety of practical yet stylish sustainable products easily available,” she says of her online store.

She sources her items from around the world, and will soon retail items that are produced locally. Best-selling items include beeswax wraps, bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel straws and produce bags. 

She also carries a range of bamboo fibre takeaway cups which she uses for her daily cup of tea. The lightweight cups are durable, can withstand high temperatures and come with a resealable no-drip lid that prevents leakage. Ms Chen selects the products she sells based on what she would want as a consumer.

“Things that are practical for green living yet stylish, food-safe, safe for the environment, and affordable,” she says. She does research on every product to check that they are plastic free, BPA free and free of environmentally harmful substances. She personally tests the products before putting them for sale online.

Another store that sells green products is The Sustainability ProjectIts founder, Joline Tang, is a Singapore Management University student who has been practising a green lifestyle since her polytechnic days. She started with recycling and now avoids using takeaway boxes and plastic straws.

Ms Tang was handling accounts at a sustainable firm but felt that she did not have a direct impact on helping the environment. “I decided to start a business to influence the lifestyle of others and also influence the way cafes/other businesses operate,” she says of her decision to start her online store.

She sells bamboo and reusable metal straws, beeswax wraps, coconut bowls and printed cotton towels which are used in place of paper ones. “The products have to last so that customers will not depend on single-use items,” says Ms Tang.

The rose-gold reusable straws are the best selling among her millennial clients, while the beeswax wrap is also a popular item among housewives and those who cook. She doesn’t offer international shipping as she wants to keep her carbon footprint low.

“I am happy to say that I have not spent any money purchasing packaging since my incorporation,” Ms Tang declares. All her packaging are made from used boxes or unwanted envelopes that she has collected from friends, family and even customers.

A version of this story was first published on The Business Times.