Environmentalism is on the rise in Ho Chi Minh City, as people begin to take heed of the dangers of single-use plastics. Single-use straws, cups, bags and cutlery are increasingly being refused by consumers trying to avoid adding to the alarming amounts of waste piling up in Vietnam.
As a result, several businesses have stepped up and started offering sustainable alternatives to convenience plastics. Here are a few locations in Saigon to find eco-friendly products.
Zero Waste Saigon was founded by Julia Mesner-Burdge and Michael Burdge, a French-American couple living in Vietnam who decided to tackle the issue of plastic waste after witnessing a monkey attempting to eat a plastic bag. Their popular Facebook group currently boasts over 4,200 environmentally-conscious members who regularly discuss alternatives to plastic waste. Zero Waste Saigon offers a range of locally made reusable products on their online store such as bamboo straws, canvas bags, coconut bowls, and more! They’ve even launched a program that awards medals to businesses for meeting various goals, such as ’Plastic Free Delivery’, to encourage local businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. Their full range of products are available for delivery on their website and at Italiani’s in District 1.
The Organik House is a popular vegetarian restaurant in District 1 that launched Go Eco to offer customers natural alternatives to single-use plastics. Their goal is to raise awareness of environmental protection and protect the planet by making products such as natural soaps, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable straws, and more. They offer plates, bowls, cutlery, and delivery containers made from natural plant fibers that are fully biodegradable.
Green Around the Corner is a tranquil vegan cafe nestled in Ho Chi Minh City’s Thảo Điền ward. The small but delightful menu includes healthy smoothie bowls, vegan cheese boards with homemade bread, and refreshing drinks. The cafe doubles as a shop that offers reusable products for the eco-minded consumer. It offers a host of locally made products such as reusable straws, sustainable clothing, and soaps and shampoos. They also offer workshops teaching you how to make your own beeswax wraps – strips of old fabric transformed into reusable food and sandwich wraps by coating them in wax.
Saigon Suds began as an effort to fight Saigon pollution’s negative effects on skin. To combat itchy, red skin irritated by motorbike fumes, the team started experimenting with soap-making in their kitchens and (as they state on their website), soon had the “best smelling living room in the city!” They now offer a full range of zero-waste, homemade, natural soaps and have recently started offering face oils and shampoo bars. Everything the team creates smells heavenly and customers frequently award them top reviews for their skincare products. Plus, they even create soaps that are totally vegan! Their products are available for purchase and delivery via their Facebook page or at their two locations in the city. Sonice at 42 Lý Tự Trọng in District 1 carries most of their soaps, while Hanayuki Beauty House at 14D Quốc Hương in District 2 carries their best-selling soaps, face oils, and soap dishes.
Lintimate is a Vietnamese company that manufactures a zero-waste alternative to disposable feminine hygiene products. Lintimate’s menstrual cup, LinCup, is made in the U.S. of medical-grade silicone. The FDA-approved LinCup is a sanitary, non-toxic, economical and comfortable product that is sold for a super reasonable 750,000 VND. Their website includes plenty of FAQs and detailed information for any woman looking to make the switch. Lintimate aims to revolutionize menstrual care in Vietnam by dedicating a portion of their profits to educating women about sexual and reproductive health. The LinCup is sold on the company’s Facebook page and delivered to customers.