Going Green, Style & Design - 08/01/18

Shopping with Zero Waste

Written by Tiffany T

Meet Fanny Moritz, Hong Kong-based founder of No!w No Waste, an online store on a mission to convert its customers to a sustainable way of life.

When French entrepreneur Fanny Moritz stumbled upon Bea Johnson’s bestselling book Zero Waste Home in 2015, something resonated deep within her. Inspired by this new method of sustainability, it wasn’t long before she too embraced a more responsible lifestyle. Wanting to share this passion with others, Fanny created her online shopping site No!w No Waste as a platform to gather the best alternatives to plastics and other disposables. We sit down with her at the Hive Kennedy Town to learn more about how she got it off the ground.

Arriving in Hong Kong seven years ago, Fanny first started out in the modelling and fashion industry. Next, she learnt a new skill set that would later prove more than handy, opening her own web agency Netpom in 2013, which focused on creating websites. However, it was not long before Fanny started to hunger for something more challenging. This all came to a head when she found Bea Johnson’s online article and realised that the author could probably fit her annual trash into a handy-sized jar. With parents that had always taught her to be eco-friendly and a natural passion for the environment, she assumed following a similar path wouldn’t be too tricky. “It’s going to be easy for me,” Fanny recalls herself thinking. “I live in Hong Kong, I live alone and I don’t have any kids.”

Launched in 2017, the website aims to give a platform for those interested in a sustainable lifestyle to access reusable and compostable products, mainly of the kitchen and bathroom varieties. And her zero-waste approach doesn’t stop at her stock, instead running through everything from her logistics to her customer service. Order from her website, and you could easily receive your order in a reused gift or shoe box.

However, things have not always been as smooth sailing as she’d first imagined. Running a zero-waste company, especially in a packed, Asian metropolis such as Hong Kong is not always easy. “Initially, I didn’t hire enough manpower. Because I never worked for someone else in my entire life, I thought I could do everything by myself!” she exclaims. “I also never had any investors, which is difficult because it’s all my savings I put into my business.” Despite this, she remains optimistic. And she sees a change afoot. “In Hong Kong, what’s positive, is that everything moves fast. Additionally, because the city is so small, everyone knows each other. When I think there are clients or customers who are specifically looking for something, there is a direct solution.” This is especially true with the recent growth of the city’s plastic-free movement. “People are getting more and more into it. Most likely because they realise big companies like Starbucks are making a move, too.”

When asked about what misconceptions there might be regarding the zero-waste industry, Fanny says there are plenty. “I think people are usually like ‘I’m also zero waste, I recycle a lot.’ But it’s not about the recycling, because if you follow the five rules of Bea Johnson you’ll find that only the fourth step is to recycle, so there are three steps before that, which are refuse, reduce and reuse. ” Another misconception is that not everything you put into recycle bins is recycled. “When you put your plastic bottles in the bin, only 20% of them are recycled. That’s just two bottles out of five.”

In terms of her achievements, Fanny finds it most rewarding when people come and tell her, “Oh, I started because of you” or “I didn’t know about this product, but I’m going to buy some and I’m going to move forward.” Running a business has taught Fanny many crucial life lessons. “The most important thing I’ve learnt is that nothing can be perfect, if we have an idea we need to launch it as soon as possible.” Like with her company website, “I worked on this for maybe ten months, though it was ready after six. When you have an idea, you need to go ahead and launch it, and even if it’s not perfect, that’s still okay.”

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