Cambodia is no stranger to plastic waste. Just this week, 1600 tonnes of it was found in shipping containers in Sihanoukville, thought to be from the USA and Canada. Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra has said this will be returned to its origin, but people in the Kingdom are understandably angry about Cambodia being treated as a rubbish bin for the West.
Thankfully, here in Phnom Penh, green-thinking innovators are coming up with their own plastic-free solutions to the problem.
Take the humorously named ‘Suck On That’ (SOT), which wants plastic to draw the short straw, or no straws at all. To keep down plastic wastage they are creating sustainable, affordable and 100% natural bamboo straws.
Each bamboo straw is grown sustainably and handcrafted in rural Khmer villages. SOT chose to operate in remote areas of the country to provide jobs to less privileged communities and aim to increase the quality of life for the villagers.
SOT is a fair-trade employer, caring equally for the community and the planet as they strive to convert businesses to their eco-friendly vision. Their bamboo straws can be purchased online and via Phnom Penh stores (such as Le Marché), as well as wholesale options available for businesses.
Earlier this week Trattoria Bello Pizzeria in TTP made the switch to bamboo and the SOT team hope more businesses will join their environmental mission.
So let’s raise a glass to SOT. There’s still a long way to go to tackle plastic waste, but businesses like this are an essential important step – or slurp – in the right direction!