Ouk Vanday runs “Rubbish Cafe”, a small wooden structure on the outskirts of Phnom Penh reinforced with walls made out of beer and plastic water bottles. The cafe spells its name with dead leaves on its signboard.
“This sends a message to other shop owners to think beyond just making a profit, but to look at the big impact caused by trash to their communities and the world — how it affects nature and how it worsens nature, how it affects the younger generation,” said Vanday, a 32-year-old former hotel manager.
Customers can buy a cup of coffee for either 6,000 riels (2.50) or 100 plastic cups, which go towards the cafe’s construction and other projects. In addition, if you actively bring your own glass (do not use the cup of the shop), guests will receive a 30% discount.
Ouk Vanday said: "We do not allow our customers to leave any waste here. We don't open a shop just for profit, we just wanna to urge people to stop using plastic and making the more and more beautiful world".
Although no customers have collected enough 100 plastic cups to freely drink coffee, but this business model is extremely popular with customers. Sam Art Srey Pha, a student from Phnom Penh, said: "I am proud that Cambodians can use garbage to create valuable things like this cup and straws – they are made from bamboo. That's sound great!"
About 8 million tonnes of plastic make their way to the ocean each year, with Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand counting among the worst offenders, according to a 2015 report co-authored by environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy. — Reuters