Having grown fed up with watching her children play among plastic rubbish on Hong Kong beaches, Kate Mercurio decided to tackle the issue head on – one bar of soap at a time. “People are waking up to the problem of all the excess waste we create,” says Mercurio, a New Zealander. “A lot of people start with food, but don’t know what to do in beauty.” Where to buy eco-friendly shampoo bars in Hong Kong The 39-year-old cosmetics entrepreneur and low-waste advocate launched Eko Savon last summer. As well as producing a range of skincare products, she runs a series of workshops in which participants learn to make their own soap, lotion, serum, shampoo, conditioner and domestic cleaners using methods that are cheap and have a low environmental impact. “I looked at my bathroom and I had so many plastic bottles: shampoo, conditioner, moisturisers. It’s really difficult to find hair or body-care products that aren’t packaged in plastic. So I did a bit of research and started making my own soap and then expanded into other products,” says Mercurio. As well as cutting down on waste, she adds, making your own cosmetics allows you to control what ingredients you put on your skin. “Marketing has led us to believe that only experts can formulate things for us and we need something for each part of our body, but a lot of these products we’re making – like the balms – are multi-purpose. This is something everyone can do with basic ingredients.” With burners, conical flasks and little amber bottles spread over wooden benches and shelves of neatly arranged soaps lining the walls, Eko Savon’s bright workshop in Fo Tan looks like a laboratory designed by Japanese decluttering queen Marie Kondo . Participants mix together ingredients, such as beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil and customise their scents with essential oils, to make either solid soap blocks or products poured into reusable glass or metal containers to take away along with recipe sheets to use at home. For more information, visit ekosavon.com .