'The Zero-Waste Lifestyle is Now a Must To-do'

NO!W No Waste founder Fanny Moritz is on a mission to create a new image of reusable and sustainable products

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Michelle Proctor

Meet Fanny Moritz, a French entrepreneur who has been calling Hong Kong home for the past seven years. She came here with a three-month working contract but ended up staying and launching an eco-friendly e-commerce platform in 2016 to lead the way in the Hong Kong Zero Waste movement.

Called NO!W No Waste, the platform offers reusable and sustainable daily products (think bamboo toothbrushes, stainless-steel straws) that have been selected from social enterprises. In August, she had launched the Zero Waste is Sexy campaign (#WasteFreeAndSexy), featuring five Hong Kong-based male models, to give the zero-waste lifestyle a sexy overhaul.

According to reports, Hong Kong is among the highest generators of trash in Asia and little of it is recycled.

We spoke to Moritz to learn about her journey and understand why leading the zero-waste lifestyle is crucial today. Edited excerpts:

Why did you decide to stay here?

I met so many entrepreneurs here that I decided to stay and launch my first company: a Web agency called Netpom. I was designing and developing websites for companies, my first passion.

What I love the most about Hong Kong is that it’s the city where everything is possible. When you are an entrepreneur, often you realize that it’s too complicated to launch your idea/your business. In Hong Kong, everything is simple. From the paper tasks to the meetings with the right people at the right time, everything makes you realize that it’s the best city to launch a business.

 What was the inspiration behind NO!W No Waste?

End 2015, I saw an article online about this woman, Bea Johnson. The picture was very shocking; she was able to fit her entire waste of trash into a handy-size jar, with her family of four! They were speaking about her book, Zero Waste, which was a best-seller, so I decided to read it. I love challenges, and the fact that it was for a good cause made me want to take a new step in my life even more.

How did it all start?

Two years ago, I started to look for reusable alternatives in Hong Kong but I didn’t find any of them. There was no platform or shop which was selling such kind of products. That’s how I got the idea. I knew the social media industry and how to build websites. So I just decided to build my own: NO!W No Waste.

How did you get involved in the zero-waste movement? Were you familiar with it since childhood?

When I was young, my parents taught me tips to be more careful about the environment, such as turning off the lights when leaving a room, not taking shower for too long, etc. So I thought I was “green”. But when I realized that every week, I had a big trash compared to her (Bea Johnson), it was shocking. That’s why I decided to take this new challenge.

What is the business model of NO!W No Waste?

We started as a simple e-commerce website to offer reusable and biodegradable products that people need to start living the zero-waste life (such as bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel straw, beeswax food wrap, reusable bottles, and containers). Then we decided to go further because the change should also be from the company side. That’s why now we focus more efforts on doing consulting and sourcing for hotels and restaurants. It’s important that they reduce their waste too. I also talk to employees to share my zero-waste journey. I believe more people should know about how easy it is to start.

Your future plans?

It has been a bit more than a year that the website has gone live. The change is very huge in Europe, especially in France. That’s why I will help hotels and restaurants from Europe to source reusable products from 2019.

There has been a steady growth in eco-friendly business ideas. What do you think is driving the growth?

"Zero Waste is a growing movement. That’s not new. Some people see it as a trend. I see it more like a must to-do lifestyle. There is a real emergency to change our habits now before it’s too late. Also, I think that people are more aware because there are more and more influencers and movies which speak about the subject, for example, documentaries Tomorrow (Demain in French), and A Plastic Ocean.