The Lion Rock Press founder Claire explains in this interview (originally featured in hashtaglegend) about what drove her to adapt her business to becoming more eco-conscious from how the customer orders are packed, to how bulk production is shipped, and became an advocate for sustainable business.

Claire Yates

Claire Yates eco-conscious business owner

In 2017, Claire co-founded EcoDrive with 10 other women from varying backgrounds, from lawyers to homemakers, who are passionate about making Hong Kong a better place for the next generation. With a focus on education, EcoDrive is raising awareness and driving action to reduce single-use plastics.

What peaked your interest in sustainability?

I started to see people using reusable bottles at the beginning of 2016 and thought there was a niche here in Hong Kong for our own version. So I made a test batch of 500 which sold out so quickly that I knew I was onto something. I then got really into researching the single-use plastic issue as I was expanding my product range. Soon enough, I was completely obsessed. I started to see the problem all around me, and I felt compelled to take action.

What about in your personal life, how are you working to help the environment?

I’m really obsessive about my personal single-use plastic impact. I think you naturally become like that when you start to understand the facts. Did you know that every single piece of plastic you’ve ever used still exists somewhere? Think of every plastic fork you’ve ever used, every straw, every plastic bag: they’re all still sitting or floating somewhere polluting our planet. With this in mind, I resolved to ensure that I’m extremely disciplined about my usage.  You do have to be quite organised to start with, but soon enough it becomes a habit like anything else. I take my No Plastic Mm Goi water bottle everywhere, and I use the app “Water for Free” to fill it up on the go. In this way, I haven’t bought a plastic water bottle in years.  I never order takeout anymore (I used to be an addict) and I carry our “Refill Not Landfill) reusable lunchboxes for leftovers when I go to a restaurant. At lunchtime I take my reusable container to the place I want to take out and, if I forget it, I eat in or I go without. No excuses! I take my No Plastic Mm Goi eco-cup to lunch to make sure I get my soup or ice tea without plastic. Of course, I always refuse a straw. If I go shopping, I take my No Plastic Mm Goi canvas shopper, and I use wet markets for fruits and veg. I always carry my produce bags from Plastic Free HK when I shop and I try to use a butcher for my meat. If I can’t make it, I’ll go the butchers counter in the supermarket with my containers. I choose groceries that come without plastic and I make time to go to my favourite shop, Live Zero in Sai Ying Pun. That’s where I stock up on all my dried goods and household cleaning products. It’s a commitment, but I feel great personal satisfaction from making these changes in my life.


Claire Yates beach clean up 

Claire on a beach clean up with Eco Drive

Can you tell us a little bit about EcoDrive?

I founded EcoDrive in 2017 with a group of friends who shared my passion for raising awareness of the plastic crisis affecting our city. Our goal is to educate customers and connect businesses with solutions to make progress towards the reduction of single-use plastic. 

Why did you choose single use plastic to be your main initiative?

Single-use plastic’s most useful qualities have resulted in its chronic overuse. I feel highly motivated because as individuals we have the power to reduce our consumption and put pressure on business owners to be accountable for their impact. It’s a very visible problem, so people can really see how the changes they make can make a difference. It’s a very hot topic at the moment, and we feel very hopeful that we are going to see great steps forward in our city thanks to the commitment of individuals and the private sector. Everyone we speak to is extremely supportive of our goals.

Where do you go for eco-inspiration? Are there Instagram accounts, blogs, or shops that you love?

I like to shop online at Edgar and at Live Zero and the local wet markets. I follow Hong Kong-based Instagram accounts such as Green Queen (great blog) and Circular Community HK.  

What are your top tips for reducing waste?

You can just shop consciously wherever you go. For example, if you’re buying cotton buds, just check that they have paper shafts not plastic ones- it just takes a few extra moments to make choices that can really make a difference. Also, shop in local wet markets, buy beeswax wrap so you no longer need clingfilm and shop at zero waste stores such as Live Zero and Edgar, they are surprisingly affordable and it’s great to support local enterprise.

Why is this more aware lifestyle important to you?

I’m the mother of two young children, and I have to consider the legacy I’m leaving for them and their children. I want to be part of the solution, and I want to be part of the generation that turns the tide on this plastic epidemic. I want to lead by example for my children, my friends and my colleagues. It is up to all of us to take responsibility for our own personal impact, and I’m really enjoying the changes I’ve made, which, just a few years ago were unthinkable to me.  

 Claire Yates

Claire bringing reusable containers while food shopping

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