Every month, Southeast Asia Globe features stories from organisations around the region taking action to reduce plastic use. This month, we highlight Plastic Free Cambodia
Since early 2015, Plastic Free Cambodia (PFC) has been the public voice for plastic free awareness in the region.
Plastic Free Cambodia might seem like an idealistic future but it’s one that is absolutely possible when every person makes a firm commitment to say no to single-use plastics. PFC encourages the community and businesses to cut back on how much plastic they use every day. They also highlight businesses that are doing great things to protect environment and entice more to do the same.
The landmark programme of PFC is Plastic Free July, a one-month campaign that challenges people to avoid the five biggest single-use plastics; straws, bottles, Styrofoam takeaway boxes, coffee/juice cups and bags. Plastic Free July started in Australia in 2011, and in Cambodia in 2015, and now attracts participants from all over the world as part of a global community speaking up for the change they want to see, through their actions and purchase decisions.
More than three years on, PFC continue to collaborate with the growing community of eco warriors around the country and have even commenced some project work in other countries in Southeast Asia. They want change to be accessible to anyone and everyone and refusing plastic doesn’t have to cost a cent, in fact it can save money in the long term.
Their key programs focus on implementation and change through:
- business consultation
- education for community and businesses in English and Khmer
- ambassadors program to engage and enable advocates in even
the most remote areas
- services for events to reduce plastic and manage waste
- environmental impact reporting (based on carbon footprint)
- a plastic free label that hotels and businesses can aspire to, giving them an award for their efforts when they become single-use plastic-free
As a sustainable start up social enterprise, it’s been a slow climb, however PFC’s audience amounts to more than 10,000 people who’ve attended an event or workshop.
Founder, Sarah Rhodes, says she’s often asked about the plastic situation in the region. “Awareness has definitely improved, and the global conversation is louder than ever, the timing is right to affect real change” she said. “The more I talk with people from around the region, the more obvious it is that everyone is facing similar problems for the same reasons. No one was told plastic is bad, just that they should have these things, and they want them to feel that they’re part of the modern world. So our goal is to make plastic-free an even more attractive option” said Sarah.
PFC collaborate with local and international groups focussing on environmental awareness, all working toward the same vision, it makes sense to team up as much as possible.
You can get involved too, find out more and sign up to be a PFC ambassador at:
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