Five startups to kickstart your zero waste habit


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Contributing Writer

The Philippines is at the “center of the center” of biodiversity, with the highest number of species per unit area in the world according to the Foundation for the Philippine Environment. But all that natural beauty is quickly declining, due largely to our pollution problem.

According to a 2017 report by Ocean Conservancy, our country is among the top five contributors to ocean plastic. Along with China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, we contribute more plastic waste than the rest of the world combined.

Despite projected economic growth in the next year, corporations still have a long way to go in terms of sustainable packaging and eco-friendly products. The Philippines alone wastes 6,875.84 tons of plastic per day, 81 percent of which is mismanaged, according to a 2015 study by Jenna Jambeck, researcher and global expert on ocean plastic waste, and her colleagues.

While we have policies in place that aim to reduce solid waste, such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (RA 9003), implementation is, of course, a different story. Large companies in particular have trouble ditching single-use packages and sachets, which most Filipinos opt for due to their affordability.

Luckily, there is rising awareness of the gravity of our plastic waste problem at the grassroots level. A growing number of small enterprises have taken on the task of developing sustainable alternatives to curb our pollution problem.

If you’re looking to lower your business’s or your own environmental impact, take a cue from some of these green ventures:

1. Habit PH

Products: slim and chunky reusable metal straws, fabric food wraps to replace cling wraps, food-grade silicone collapsible cups, and multipurpose cotton squares
Founded by: Karla Achacoso, Bea Angala, Jan-Daniel Belmonte, Jay Caluag, Pang Delgra, Leng Delgra, and Justice Mabini
Find them at:, and at various bazaars

Habit was founded with a principle of urgency. They acknowledge the doubts people have about “conscious consumerism” and stress that refusing single-use is better than doing nothing at all. They hope to incorporate reusables into our modern lifestyles.

2. Ritual PH

Products: general goods
Founded by: Bea Misa and Rob Crisostomo
Find them at: 2nd Floor, Languages International Bldg., 926 Arnaiz Ave., Makati, or on

Ritual PH has built up a trusted reputation as one of the pioneering zero waste stores in the metro. They support local products from different regions, such as their balicucha from Ilocos Sur, muscovado sugar from Antique, and cacao from Davao—all without plastic packaging. Customers bring their own containers to carry out their purchases. Apart from food and kitchen products, they have cleaning (citronella deodorizers, baking soda, borax) and bath (soap, lip balm, kaolin clay) essentials.

3. Alpas Pet Accessories

Products: upcycled pet collars and toys, dog shampoo bars, jerky treats
Founded by: Isa Abrera
Find them at:,, and at bazaars

A triple threat in advocacies: Sustainability, inclusive growth, and pets. What could be better? Alpas uses their social media presence to raise awareness about rescued animals for adoption. They also provide sustainable livelihood to their partner community at GK Smokey Mountain. In terms of their contributions to zero waste, they use upcycled materials for their pet accessories, as well as biodegradable packaging while observing minimal ink consumption.

4. Zero Basics PH

Products: shampoo bars, face masks, toothpaste, aromatherapy rollers, deodorants, insect repellent, face serums, face toners
Founded by: Jana Sevilla
Find them at:,, and at bazaars

Bath and beauty products can do a serious amount of harm to the environment with its components — remember the ban on microbeads in America a few years back? If you’re looking to shift to less a harmful alternative, consider Zero Basics, which uses only plant-based materials and comes in recyclable containers. Apart from ensuring that less chemicals wash into our waterways, it’s also certified vegan. Jana, founder of Zero Basics and a vegan herself, started this line due to the lack of all-organic care products in the market.

5. The Good Trade

Products: everything and anything made by a zero waste startup. Their extensive list of merchants and products can be found on
Find them at: check their upcoming fair details on

The Good Trade is the place to be, whether you’re a green merchant or someone trying to change their lifestyle for the better. Other than uplifting sustainable social enterprises, the fair has donation, recycling, and repair stations for your damaged or unused goods. The Good Trade is accessible to those from all walks of life, with free pop-up shop for the needy called The Street Store, as well as host-free talks during their fairs to share practical tips and tricks for living more eco-consciously.

These are just five of the many social enterprises geared towards giving people more eco-friendly lifestyle choices. The zero-waste movement may still be in its infancy, but there is already an impressive breadth of products and services for those looking to shift to greener options.