If you arrived on this page, it means that you are probably familiar with the concept of zero-waste. If not, zero-waste means reducing waste to a minimal level (in your every day life, work, travels, and so on). You might think that achieving zero-waste is difficult in a developing country, however there are many things you can do in Siem Reap to reduce your impact and many actors that can help you along the way.
Finding a hotel or guesthouse that strive to reduce their waste is not difficult in Siem Reap. Babel Guesthouse, Baby Elephant, the Green Home Community, or Jaya House are just a few examples of places that strive to go plastic-free by not providing plastic straws, having a free water refill-station or repurposing their plastic bags into beautiful items by giving them to Rehash Trash. Also, a good thing to know is that most places in the city are actually giving their food waste to pig farms or compost them, which reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
An increasing number of restaurants and bars are going zero-waste or are reducing their plastic waste. Go to HAVEN, one of the pioneers of the zero-plastic in Siem Reap, Roots, the new zero-waste restaurant in Siem Reap if you fancy a brunch, or Banlle if you want to taste some delicious vegetarian Khmer food. Find more restaurants in our list of sustainable initiatives, as a zero-plastic ambition is one of the prerequisites for us!
Don’t forget to bring a reusable straw with you if possible, as just saying “no straw” might not always work due to the language barriers. Find metal or/and Bamboo straws at Peace Café, Babel Eco shop, or Footprint, and use the chance of being there to try their wonderful dishes!
You probably know it by know: the golden rule is to bring your own bag! If you can avoid supermarkets in the city for all fruits and veggies, that’s good as most of the time they are wrapped in 10 layers of plastic and styrofoam and are imported. Instead, go to our favorite organic and local fruits and veggies shop: Happy + Co! They have a selection of seasonal and organic fruits an vegetables that you can either buy in their shop or online.
If you go to a restaurant to bring take-away, don’t forget to take a tupperware with you. However, this might get a bit difficult if you are just passing by the city (except if you bring your tupperware everywhere you go). Instead, find restaurants that provide biodegradable boxes for take-away, and refuse to take a plastic bag.
Shopping does not really go hand in hand with zero-waste. However, if you feel like buying a little souvenir from Cambodia, need a dress or a new toaster, follow our tips!
Trade the night market with fair trade and local markets such as Made in Cambodia Market or Geneviève fair trade market. The products are locally made and encourage the employment of Cambodian with disabilities. We especially love their packaging made out of old newspaper!
Feeling thirsty while shopping? There are many places where you can get free water from their refill station. Check out the map of RefillNotLandfill or just look out for their logo on a facility ‘s door, which indicates that you ask for free refill there!
Everyday items : In need of a electronic appliance, cups, plates or glasses? Don’t buy them new but check out Sakura, a second-hand Japanese store on Lok Taneuy Road.
Lastly, find all you need for a zero-waste lifestyle in Cambodia at Babel eco-shop. Babel has several items in bulk such as dish detergent, shampoo, conditioner, coconut oil, charcoal and mosquito repellant. They also have other zero-waste products such as reusable and collapsable cups and bottles from Only One Planet, bamboo toothbrush, bee-wax wrapping paper, moon-cups and much more! Whether you are live in Siem Reap or just passing by, their amazing store is definitely worth having a look at.
Hope you liked our tips, and of course they are many others! So stay tuned for more advices on how to go zero-waste in Cambodia 🙂 In the meantime you can read our other articles such as recycling in Cambodia.
And don’t hesitate to share this article and comment below on tips that you have to be zero-waste in the county!