A flea market in the heart of Hanoi offers customers the chance to buy goods in line with an environmentally friendly lifestyle while learning about greener ways of living.
Held each month at a coffee shop in a quiet alley off Dang Dung Street in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh District, the weekend flea market gives tourists and local Hanoians alike the opportunity to browse environmentally conscious, recycled, and upcycled goods such as old books, natural cloth dye, craft soaps, notebooks, and alternatives to plastic bags, cups and straws.
|Reusable straws made of glass and metal for sale at the market. Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre|
Second-hand clothes are also a hot item here, given the current retro trends taking hold in youth fashion.
“If you choose carefully you can buy several nice pieces of clothing for the same price of a single new item,” Le Thi Thu Huong, 29, a second-hand clothes seller at the market, said.
Huong herself mainly wears the same kinds of second-hand clothes she sells at her market stall.
The vendor said she prefers used clothes to new purchases that she would probably have to throw away after one or two ‘fashion seasons.’
Huong also shared that her parents were strongly opposed to her decision to put on second-hand clothes, believing they might not be clean and could pose health risks, but she chose to disregard their concern.
Now, after four years of delving deeper into a minimalist lifestyle, she sells second-hand clothing at the flea market in the hope that others will followe her example.
|Le Thi Thu Huong at her second-hand clothes stall at the market. Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre|
Other popular items at the market include handcrafted notebooks which sell for VND150,000 (US$6.5) to VND 300,000 ($15) apiece and decorations made of plastic bottles, costing from VND40,000 ($1.7) to VND 80,000 ($3.4).
“Once I saw a yogurt container and a carton box being thrown away and wondered why anyone would get rid of them while they were still reusable,” said Nguyen Ngoc Thach, an artisan who specializes in creating household decorations from used plastic bottles and other single-use plastics.
|Decorated glass bottles, cups, and light bulbs for sale at the market. Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre|
The 30-year-old designer also sells handcrafted notebooks in order to connect with more people who share his passion for living an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
“The water bottles are already nicely shaped by the manufacturers so it is easy to give them a new life,” Thach said, hinting that others should also find new uses for their single-use plastic water bottles.
The flea market in Hanoi also hosts a gathering space inside the market for people to share stories and opinions about their green living, exchange used goods, and read books.
|Nguyen Ngoc Thach introduces his upcycled single-use plastic art pieces to a customer. Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre|