Essential Lists & Tips

The Top Green Tips And Links for Parents in Malaysia

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Bad news for Malaysia and the environment. According to a 2019 study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Malaysia ranks second in Asia for annual per capita plastic use. At 16.78kg per person, Malaysia outranks much larger nations including China and Indonesia in overall generated waste.

Photo: By Zak Noyle / A-Frame, from National Geographic

It’s really tough being a parent, and let’s face it – it’s tough being a parent who is environmentally-friendly when having kids isn’t exactly the greenest lifestyle choice! But don’t beat yourself up about it. It is better to be an environmentally-conscious parent who tries one day at a time,  rather than one who can’t be bothered at all.

So take heart, and here are some practical tips and helpful links (with Malaysian brands!) to help you and your family be kinder to the environment.

1. Refuse Things You Do Not Need

You have probably heard about the Tak Nak Straw campaign, which promotes an end to the use of straws. Millions of straws are thrown away every year, many ending up in the ocean where they can be eaten by wildlife. If you really need a straw, get a reusable one (stainless steel or bamboo) from zero waste shops we have listed below.

But think about other single use items you can refuse to use – plastic bags,  plastic cutlery, cotton buds and stirrers. There are other alternatives to these things out there, and you can slowly cut these throwaway things out of your life. Also, try to buy produce without the plastic and packaging that overwhelms our supermarkets. Try buying in bulk, buying surplus food from places like Graze Market, or purchasing fresh produce from markets or farms. You can even get your milk fresh from the tap at certain Jaya Grocer outlets, thanks to a 2022 initiative by Farm Fresh milk and Jaya Grocer.

Zero Waste / Bulk / Environmental Shops

Photo: The Hive Bulk Foods

The Hive Bulk Foods

This Bangsar-based bulk foods store with the tagline ‘Honey, We Don’t Waste’ stocks all kinds of food you need in your kitchen, and without all that distressing plastic packaging.  From seeds and butters, to rice and noodles (and everything in between), this groundbreaking store also serves as a platform for work that supports women and larger communities.

A Bit Less

A Bit Less is a bulk grocery store in Kepong that aims to eliminate single-use plastic packaging and create a community that shops with minimum impact on the environment.

Bring Your Own Bottle 

Brilliant – bring your own bottles to this award-winning store (with several outlets in West and East Malaysia) and get your household detergents to clean your floor, clothes, kitchen, stoves and so on. Stop paying for plastic, and reuse the ones you already have!

Photo: A Bit Less Bulk Store

Other shops to consider:

Do also check out Refiller Mobile, a van that drives all over Klang Valley offering eco-friendly household cleaning agents, dry nuts, toothpaste, skincare and other alternative products! Simply book a slot at 017- 3129851, pass them your containers and get it refilled. Alternatively, you could look out for detergent vending machines by Bubbles at various locations around town. Going green can’t get any easier than this!

2. Think Twice, Buy Well

Photo: www.ecowatch.com

Things breaking down often in your household? If you need to buy something for your family, it makes sense to pay a little more for a product that is reputable and will last for a very long time. Do you need to buy more clothes? Watch The True Cost, avoid fast fashion companies, buy less or buy well, and try to buy second hand.

Need furniture? Consider furniture that is secondhand, upcycled, restored or revived. Look for and support brands that care about the environment – they often practise fair trade and have a friendly-to-the-earth philosophy.  Or try something even more dramatic but meaningful – try not to buy things if you don’t absolutely need them.

Try fixing things, instead of buying new replacements. You can easily search for repair shops through the Zero Waste Resource Map. Ask family and friends if they have spares. Go secondhand, or ask for lends, shares and trades with like-minded groups like the Beli Nothing Project, Trash Converters Malaysia, and Freegans of Malaysia. You can even try bartering some of your preloved items with Barnything. Save more money for wonderful experiences with the family.

Ethically Made Brands And/Or Second-Hand Stores in Malaysia

The Biji-Biji Initiative

A social enterprise that champions sustainable living and creative reuse of discarded materials, Biji-Biji makes functional and beautiful pouches, coasters and bags.

Photo: Tropicalia Merdeka Chair by Kedai Bikin

Kedai Bikin (Furniture and Homeware)

An offshoot of architecture studio Studio Bikin, this shop practise fairtrade and champions local and underprivileged artisans to create their line of furniture and homeware.

Recrofurniture (Furniture)

Recro gives new life to furniture – they recreate, restore and revive carefully curated, one-of-a-kind vintage items.

The Beli Nothing Project (Klang Valley)

In the spirit of reuse and recycling, members here support each other’s goals to buy nothing – there is plenty of giveaways and lending of things people do not want or need anymore!


This is the place to head to if you are the type who prefers to shop at a physical store. Unplug is a sustainable shop in Bangsar Village offering a range of small, independent, and conscious brands.  From clothes to home and skincare, their carefully selected curation is guided by a set of sustainable metrics to ensure that every item is directly contributing back to the people and the planet.

Photo: By Randy Olson, From National Geographic

3. Reuse As Much As Possible

The sky is the limit when it comes to reusing items in our everyday lives. Yes, diapers are a tough one – not all parents can afford to keep the upkeep and laundry needs of cloth diapers. But parents can certainly try! And if they are sinking from the guilt of using nappies, they can work on other things.

From shopping bags to food containers, and from shavers to women’s menstrual products, we can keep reusing one thing … instead of replacing plastic every day or week. Good for the environment, and certainly good for your pocket too.

Tiny Tapir

Long time champions of eco-friendly products, this online eco baby shop stocks baby carriers, cloth diapers, baby clothing, feeding and nursing, toys and gifts to parents who are eco-conscious.

Photo: Tiny Tapir

In Between Cultura

Founded by three girls with background in media studies, sociology and cultural studies, In Between Cultura focuses on handmade, organic and eco-friendly cloth pads and pantyliners. If you are looking for menstrual cups, you can check out Suci Menstrual Cup or ButterCup.

4.  Try Toys that Are Pre-Loved or Made From Other Materials

Photo: Play Beyond Imagination

Is your house bursting with plastic, technicoloured toys? Opt for traditional wooden toys that will last a lifetime – they also look good! Gently request for family and friends to buy classic or wooden toys or books if they absolutely must buy presents for your little ones. What about some locally made and adorable crayons, or renting them?

And if you have plastic toys in your collection, try your very best to keep it all functioning and together in a set as best as you can. This way it can be gifted whole and complete to another family or orphanage, prolonging its use and joy in the world. When an assembled toy loses its parts, it sadly becomes junk.  When it comes to toys, practise the hand-me-down philosophy and buy pre-loved baby goods!

Links and Ideas for Toys or Gifts for Children


This social marketplace app is easy to navigate and allows you to earn some monetary profit with your old toys and other goods.

Chubby Fingers Play Crayons

A proud Buatan Malaysia, these handmade beeswax novelty crayon are non toxic, kids safe and environmentally-friendly. Also, super, super cute.

De Carton

Remember when we used to play with just boxes?  Well, now you can get cardboard playhouses for your kiddos! Sturdy and ideal for creative play, these cardboard creations are something different and definitely less of an eyesore than multi-coloured, plasticky play tents.

My Children’s Books

Borrowing books from the library is a wonderful option, but fitting in time for regular visits to the library may be tricky! The perfect alternative to purchasing new books (which face it, is likely to only be read once or twice), is to get books from this online bookstore which specialises in selling used story books for kids between the age of 0 to 18.

5. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

It’s an oldie but a goodie. Recycle what you can. Whether for cash, charity or just to put them to better use, check out the following organisations.

KITAR: Peranti Lama, Nafas Baharu

Whether it’s an old brickphone, outdated smartphone, media player or tablets, you can bring your electronics to KITAR. Safely dispose or recycling your end-of-life (EOL) mobile devices at the nearest Drop Points near you.

IPC Recycling & Buy-Back Centre

Get rewarded for recycling! IPC offers Tack points for Tack Club members who recycle, with the points being convertible to e-vouchers, free parking and IPC Merchandises. They even accept non-recyclable waste such as medicine, food waste and electronics, although no Tack Points will be given for these items.


AI-driven recycling platform KLEAN vending machines can be found at various locations, giving you KLEAN points in return for plastic bottles and cans. It’s a wonderful initiative with a mission to incentivise the public to start recycling, with rewards given and convenience taken care of.  KLEAN points can be redeemed for rewards, with reward partners such as Grab, Lotus and Touch ‘n Go.

Pertubuhan Amal Seri Sinar – Kuala Lumpur and Selangor

P.A.S.S is a self-supporting non-governmental organisation that has over 300 orange coloured recycling bins in residential areas around the Klang Valley. They also provide a pick-up service for bulky collections everyday, accepting all sorts of electrical, e-waste, and furniture  products (but the latter must be in a usable condition). Contact them directly or find their list of recycling bins locations here.

Kloth Cares 

As the first fabric recycling movement in Malaysia, Kloth is committed to keeping fabrics (and plastics) out of the landfills, and providing an easy way for you to recycle all your unwanted fabrics with the many bins found all over Malaysia.

Other recycling options include ERTH, PJ Eco Recycling Center, and an innovative recycling app Recircle, which helps to match those getting rid of recyclables with recycling buyers!

6. Buy Organic, Buy Local or Grow Your Own!

Photo: Eats, Shoots & Roots

It’s hard to buy food these days without an abundance of plastic wrapping – it’s mind-blowing to think how we got this bad. How can you try to nourish your family without playing a part in this plastic nightmare? Try to shop at more markets and bring your own bag or basket.

BMS Organics

BMS Organics has grown from a humble family business to being a stalwart of healthy organic living in Malaysia. They only pack their products with biodegradable plastic bags and prioritise recycled materials. You can buy groceries and organic food boxes from their site.

Eat, Shoots and Roots

A wonderful social enterprise that aims to reconnect urbanites with nature, via what they love most: food. They strongly believe that city folk need to know how to grow their own food in order to become a resilient community. From seeds to tutorials, they are the right people to approach if you’d like to learn how to grow your own food.

Free Tree Society

A group of volunteers who aim to green KL from their communal garden, this society arranges workshops on a range of subjects. From growing microgreens to lessons on gardening, they warmly welcome children and families too.

Other things you can do in your household:

  • Avoid scrubs that have microbeads! Imagine millions of tiny plastic beads in our oceans and in our marine life – devastating.
  • Avoid glitter. We know it’s really pretty – but it also has the same effect as microbeads.
  • Follow groups like Zero Waste Malaysia for more handy tips and inspiration.
  • Understand your plastics and trash– the categories, what can be recycled and what cannot.

Remember – You can make a difference by choosing how you spend your money, mums and dads. Malaysian shoppers rank high in terms of shopping with a conscience, with sustainable brands preferred by nearly two-thirds of all Malaysian consumers.

A 2022 data from YouGov Profiles revealed that 67% of Malaysian residents prefer brands that are sustainable, showing an improving trend towards conscious shopping. With more consumers exercising their choice and preference, hopefully brands and companies will make the shift to more green and sustainable practices.

And there you go, parents – hope that helps, and remember – Every Little Bit Counts!


[This article was first published on 5th June 2018 and has been updated as at 2nd June 2023 by Elaine Yeoh]

Laych Koh is the editor-in-chief of makchic.