Malaysia’s 2nd Zero Waste Fest

After 2 years since Malaysia’s 1st Zero Waste Fest, Zero Waste Malaysia hosted a bigger regional event: Malaysia’s Second Zero Waste Fest at the Linc for two days. The 2nd Zero Waste Fest aimed to answer questions and strike discussions to encourage a circular economy from a business perspective and the zero waste movement across the region. 

We invited zero waste representatives from other SEA regions as well as local advocates as panellists, speakers and workshop conductors to inspire and educate about sustainability.


At the opening of the 2nd Zero Waste Fest, Aurora Tin and Sue Yee, the founders introduced new projects by the organisation that will increase awareness among the public and aid those who want to live a sustainable lifestyle. 

The new Zero Waste Certification was started to evaluate sustainable businesses and provide recognition of their zero waste efforts. For any event planners to organise a zero waste/low waste event, a Zero Waste Event handbook was written by Zero Waste Malaysia’s own volunteers in 3 languages.  To reach out to groups or institutions, an outreach Speakers Team comprised of volunteers will be willing to share easy and practical solutions anywhere. 

Owners of package free stores in Malaysia were invited for A Dialogue on Local Package Free Business Practices, which aims to encourage discussion on their challenges and their transparency as sustainable businesses. Law Hong Mei (The Olive Tree), Clytia (BYOB Damansara Kim), Malika (Frangipani Bulk), Kye (A Bit Less Bulk Store) and Claire (The Hive Bulk Foods) shared their low waste business models and the challenges they faced in both their brick and mortar and online shop. They also discussed on the possible solutions to enhance relationships between businesses and consumers, and ways to help other businesses to progress towards zero waste.


  • Sustainable Businesses Forum

Business owners often mulled over how to keep their businesses environmentally friendly while being profitable. Combining these two major elements with the well-being of people, whether it’s staff, suppliers or customers would give you a sustainable business. To achieve sustainability or to balance these three; people, profit and planet, is a challenge, but it is not impossible. 

Zero Waste Malaysia therefore brought together a panel of prominent sustainability champions from different sectors of the economy, ranging from hospitality, F&B, Non-governmental Organisation to Information technology to talk about the possibilities of developing and incorporating sustainable initiatives in businesses. 

The forum was moderated by virologist Dr Lyana Khairuddin while the panellists included senior software engineer Tan Chun Kiat from Exact, general manager Doris Chin from Element KL, brand manager Valerie Tan from Ăn Viet, co-founder Nik Suzila binti Nik Hassan of Kloth Cares (Suzy) and founder Ong Ning-Geng  of Chocolate Concierge. The forum began with panellists presenting on their sustainable initiatives and followed by a Q&A session.

Some of the highlights of the forum include An Viet’s 2good2waste campaign where Valerie elaborated on how An Viet allows its customers to initially order a small portion and add on if they would like to have some more, to avoid wastage. This has not only prevented food wastage, but also attracted the public’s attention. 

For the hospitality industry, Doris is confident that the sustainability concept could be scaled up to the whole industry as Element KL has already effectively implemented sustainability initiatives such as using recycled materials during its construction and having a made-to-order restaurant.

Chun Kiat on the other hand proved that it is possible for office workers to take small steps, such as printing less and recycling to save the earth while Suzy continued to advocate on the dangers of fast fashion and she reminded Malaysians that even bras could be channelled to the poor who can’t afford them.

Overall, the forum garnered positive response from the audience as the Q&A continued up till the networking event! Members of the audience agree that the initiatives shared by the panellists are realistic where they have been practiced by the champions in the Malaysian setting, where this means that circular economy and sustainability are possible in Malaysia.

  • Regional Zero Waste Movement Forum

Aurora Tin from Zero Waste Malaysia, Michael Burdge from Zero Waste Saigon, Maurilla Sophianti Imron from Zero Waste Indonesia and Sarah Rhodes from Plastic Free Cambodia shared their challenges and their inspiring projects in their own countries. 

  • Zero Waste Lifestyle Forum

Zero Waste Malaysia also invited some members from our community, from all walks of life, to share their personal journey from day to day living, working to traveling, at the Zero Waste Lifestyle Forum. 

Smita Jairam is a Sustainability Consultant in agriculture and volunteer in Marine Conservation. Brent Taalur Ramsey is an American writer and an advocate for low waste living. Elena Almeida is a Malaysian who lived and studied in cities all her life but feel most at home on top of a mountain or by the sea. Gedeon Lee is a Sabahan sustainability blog writer. Yara Kerschot and her family has been practicing Zero Waste since she was 6 years old. Jasmine Tuan, our Zero Waste Lifestyle Forum moderator is a Singaporean who lives in Malaysia for more than 3 years. A creative brand consultant, a fashionista, an adviser and activist for zero waste lifestyle and sustainable fashion.

Zero Waste Solution Showcase

Most searched for low waste alternatives for our own individual journey of low waste or families but what about businesses and institutions, the middle party between suppliers and consumers?

Specially catered for businesses and individuals, 22 vendors or exhibitors showcased their products and services that can assist the search for sustainable business solutions. The Solution Showcase intended to be a platform of various game changers from diverse sectors targeting the corporates entities and the other SMEs that are seeking ways to achieve sustainable development goals and environmental good practices  towards a circular economy.

Environmental sustainability talks

  • Climate reality 
  • Introduction to open source circular economy
  • Soap recycling – Fact & Myths 
  • The plastic recycling myth
  • Feeding future cities 

A series of environmental sustainability talks were shared during the 2nd Zero Waste Fest. Rising temperatures across the globe has predicted some major cities in the world will sink in the near future and we may run out of water within two decades due to climate change. Hence a circular economy in business product development is important. Use of regenerative resources in future products design is essential so that no waste is generated at the end of its lifetime. There were two talks on recycling. It is still more practical to reuse than to recycle as the recycling process consumes energy and emits greenhouse gases. With recyclers concentrated at certain region of the world, some countries are targeted as plastic dumping ground by developing countries making recycling an ineffective option. Business models based on reusing-sharing concept such as reusable cups could fill in the much needed gap among consumer products.   


  • Composting 

When food waste is separated from all general waste, placed in composting to rot and become fertilizers, we can effectively turned this problem into solution, returning nutrients back to our nature, promoting healthy soil to grow good crops.

Mr Harbir from Ground Control introduced one of the composting methods, which is Hot Composting, that can be used in the home and garden. From a novice compost enthusiast or a seasoned expert, they learned hands on from our master composter in this Hot Composting Workshop.

With our sponsors & partners, we are able to succeed in organizing the Malaysia’s 2nd Zero Waste Fest! 

  • The Linc KL

The LINC KL is an escape, a hideaway, a preferred destination for when you want to take a break from your busy life and reconnect with nature.

  • Spice Garden @ The Linc KL

While you are there, enjoy vegetarian refreshments filled with exotic flavor and subtle taste of Indian’s finest cuisine, rooted in the rich heritage of Northern Indian. Consider Spice Garden as home while you experience its rich hospitality, savor their dishes individually prepared by a team of professional chefs, using only natural ingredients, to ensure freshness and good quality. 

  • Alila Bangsar

Sustainability is one of the pillars of Alila Hotels & Resorts. In Alila Bangsar, several green initiatives have been implemented across the hotel since it opened in 2018 such as iPad check-in and paperless invoicing; a Press Reader app for guests to access any magazine or newspaper directly from a mobile phone.

Ãn Viet, literally means to “Eat Viet”, is a casual dining restaurant serving authentic Vietnamese food. Ãn Viet was conceived with the aim to get people to actually “Eat” and finish their food, in response to the horrendous amount of food that goes to waste – a whopping 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption globally, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and food waste or organic waste being the highest percentage (55%) disposed at landfills in Malaysia. .

  • The Black Cat Cafe

The Black Cat Café is a family run café – Members of the family are pure vegetarians from birth and had a dream of setting up a café serving pure vegetarian/vegan food in a cosy and homely environment. .

They are now living their dream and strive to do their bits to reduce waste by avoiding the usage of plastic straws and take away containers.

Contributor: Hui Mun, Denise Wong 

Event Date: 22nd & 23rd June 2019