Natalja Rodionova and the team from GoGreen Cambodia are the experts in living an eco-friendly lifestyle in Cambodia. They’ve written this blog post to give Move to Cambodia readers some ideas for how they can living a more ecologically responsible lifestyle in Cambodia.
If you believe in being eco-friendly, the piles of trash all over Cambodia and the mountains of plastic and styrofoam used daily in the Kingdom of Wonder will make your heart bleed. According to recent research from the ACRA Foundation, around 10 million plastic bags are used in Phnom Penh every day. That is 3,650,000,000 bags a year! But all is not lost. In recent years Cambodia has made enormous progress in improving its environmental impact. Despite the many challenges, we’re now seeing positive change happening step by step.
In 2018 Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment launched a new regulation requiring that vendors charge customers for the use of plastic bags. Major supermarkets such as Aeon and Lucky started charging 400 riel ($0.10) per bag. Meanwhile local communities, businesses, and government institutions are paying more attention to issues of waste management and sustainable solutions. Many local restaurants are committed to finding ways to avoid single use plastics, such a switching to reusable drinking straws. Change is happening.
What can we do to further that process? Actually, quite a bit.
We may speak different languages and have different ways and ideas, but we all share one planet. By taking small actions, we can help make real change. Talk to businesses you regularly patronize and politely explain your concerns about single-use plastic. Support organizations that support the environment. You can start by joining the GoGreen Cambodia Facebook community to share ideas and learn about events and opportunities. GoGreen Cambodia regularly organizes volunteer cleanups in Phnom Penh, including the country’s largest during World Cleanup Day in September 2018, an event that gathered thousands of participants in Cambodia’s capital. The 2019 edition takes place on September 21, so mark your calendar. There are also often locally-organized events in Siem Reap and around the country.
Separate your trash
Did you know that you can sell discarded aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and cardboard for extra cash? Or consider just donating your trash—the pickers need the income. The recycling collectors roam the cities with carts filled with recyclables, shouting “edjai” and often honking a plastic horn to draw attention to themselves. If you don’t mind forfeiting the proceeds, you can leave your recycling outside of your door, or with a neighbor or staff member who will happily do the transaction for you. There are also other opportunities to donate unneeded items to be recycled.
Dine at eco-friendly places
More and more restaurants are using biodegradable straws and packaging and shunning plastic bags for take-away. Support these responsible businesses and motivate others to join the movement. Here’s a list of the eco-friendly restaurants in Cambodia we at GoGreen Cambodia know about. It’s being updated with new Information regularly.
Review your own consumption
You can do your own small part by saying no to plastic bags and plastic cups. Get some reusable shopping bags and storage containers–for example, eco-friendly cassava bags from Cleanbodia, and collapsible silicone coffee cups from Only One Planet. Instead of using plastic straws, carry your own bamboo or metal straws, which you can get from Only One Planet, Natural Garden or Phnom Penh’s Eleven One Kitchen.