As businesses become increasingly more aware of environmental considerations, many of their owners are striving to reduce their carbon footprints, while finding ways to eliminate waste.
Located in Phnom Penh’s Toul Tom Pong neighborhood, Kinin restaurant is one such place. It’s largely foreign cliental are greeted by a green oasis in an often dusty and dry city. Shaded by trees, the space is cool and inviting.
The owner of Kinin, Kerryn Leitch, who says the environment is at the forefront of each decision she makes when it comes to her business.
The restaurant is as close to plastic-free as it can be.
Water is served to guests in reusable glass bottles. There are no tissues on the tables, but washable cloth napkins. Even the towels used by customers to dry their hands after washing them are freshly laundered.
Although the owner is Australian, the decoration of the interior – and the options on the menu – is distinctly Khmer, with dark, cool timber and traditional silk pillows.
“We try to provide a natural, refreshing atmosphere for our guests because it is very rare to find greenery in the city,” said Leitch.
“We are also doing our best to eliminate the use of plastic . . . Irresponsible use of plastic waste is responsible for much of the city’s litter,” she added.
Kinin does not offer plastic takeaway containers for food or for drinks, as they would inevitably end up in landfills, or worse.
In addition, the restaurant collaborates with several other businesses to work on ways they can collectively improve their positive impact on the planet.
They stockpile used glass bottles, and once the pile reaches a certain size, a partner organisation collects them for reuse. One corner of the lush shaded garden area sells a variety of seedlings and flower pots.
In an ideal world, Kerryn would like to see all businesses improve their efforts to reduce their environmental impact, but accepts that plastic use will probably be around for some time.
One customer, Sun Sokunthea, was enjoying a coffee with her family.
“The environment here is beautiful and relaxing. It’s like having a coffee in the forest,” she said.
“For those who like a natural, quiet environment, this is the place for you. I think it would be perfect for reviewing a lesson or reading a book,” she said.
Sokunthea said that she would definitely be back.