A plastic free Cambodia — it might sound like a pipe dream, but a growing number of people are working towards this objective.
It’s no secret plastic is a problem in Cambodia. In reality, it’s a problem nearly everywhere in the world, but in Cambodia it is so visible, so ugly and it has been so passionately embraced.
It is not unusual for cafes and restaurants to give you not one, but two straws in your drink. And retailers delight in giving you a plastic bag for every single item you buy, or put your items in two plastic bags, just for good measure. But when it’s broken down, the statistics suggest the average person in Cambodia’s cities uses about 40 to 50 plastic bags per week. PER WEEK! It’s a lot of plastic.
Check out this great video from Plastic Free Cambodia to learn more about the problem and what people are trying to do.
The team at Plastic Free Cambodia, led by founder, Sarah Rhodes, is passionate about reducing plastic use, educating people and finding solutions to problems. They have developed workshops, which they take to work places, restaurants and schools (and anyone else interested in learning more). They are providing inspiration and leadership to others and people are jumping on board all over the country.
To learn more about the problem with plastic read our earlier post.
Tonight we’re off to a bingo night to raise money for Plastic Free Cambodia. It’s the organisation’s first official fundraiser and will contribute to administration and registration costs and producing materials to continue to promote this initiative.
Tips to reduce plastic use when travelling
If you are travelling you can also make a difference and encourage change with these few simple steps:
- Say no to plastic straws whenever you order a drink.
- Take your own tote bag so you don’t need plastic bags.
- Take your own cup, so you don’t need to get a take-away plastic cup.
- Travel with a water bottle that you can refill. Even if that means refilling from a 4-litre bottle of water, it is better than buying many 500ml bottles.
- Put your rubbish in a rubbish bin. Even if the locals don’t. Lead by example.
Everyone can do their bit — wherever you are in the world, and especially if you are visiting Cambodia. What are you doing to reduce plastic? We’re off to play bingo — and we won’t be drinking out of plastic straws!
Janet Armstrong says
Interesting article Sam! It seems many developing/third world countries have adopted our worst practices. I witnessed this when in Ghana a number of years ago but initiatives there have really cleaned it up. For example, waste plastic bags are now used to make sleeping mats or woven into re-usable shopping bags. Good luck with the initiatives!
Sam Walker says
Yes they have embraced many of our bad practices in the name of progress and status. Such a shame. But there is one supermarket in town that still wraps some of its herbs and vegetables in banana leaf instead of plastic, which I love. Sadly, it doesn’t do this with everything. There are also organisations here with great initiatives. At Rehash Trash they crochet plastic bags into floor mats, table mats, coasters, bags and much more. Another organisation is stuffing plastic bottles with plastic bags and making bricks to build school rooms. But educating people to stop using plastic in the first place is more challenging. Thanks for stopping by.