The models are carrying stylist bags during their daily shopping. Photo from StopStart’s catalog
The models are carrying stylist bags during their daily shopping. Photo from StopStart’s catalog

PHNOM PENH – Recycled products from Cambodia are a line of fashion accessories in great demand by buyers of environment-friendly items.

From Cambodia, a plethora of handmade products are also included in the shopping lists of globetrotters interested in style and the environment. The range of products made by hand by suppliers in the country come in recycled paper, recycled rice bags, cement bags, fish feed bags and other product bags, depending on the design.

Quality recycled rice sack products, including tote bags, pleated market bags and first-aid bags. Photos by Peace Handicrafts.
Quality recycled rice sack products, including tote bags, pleated market bags and first-aid bags. Photos by Peace Handicrafts.

The materials are bought locally from rice farmers who use these bags to harvest rice. They are also obtained from construction workers who scavenge, save and sell cement bags to earn extra income, which supplements their small wages from construction work.

Sampling producers were working on layout designs at Peace Handicrafts in the afternoon, early March 2014. Photo by Naratevy Kek.
Sampling producers were working on layout designs at Peace Handicrafts in the afternoon, early March 2014. Photo by Naratevy Kek.

“Recycled products have become so popular not only among tourists and foreign buyers in Cambodia but also those beyond its borders who need products that are environment-friendly, peculiar yet stylish, and astonishing in design, durability and usefulness,” said Mrs Yek Hong Tang, a supplier from Peace Handicrafts. “In addition, the touching stories behind producers are another flavor of its popularity and interest,” she added.

Sewers were working in the workshop of Peace Handicrafts in Cambodia, early March 2014. Photo by Naratevy Kek.
Sewers were working in the workshop of Peace Handicrafts in Cambodia, early March 2014. Photo by Naratevy Kek.

Skilled sewers create beautiful products such as fashionable handbags that are highly durable and have quality workmanship. The design and manufacture of all recycled products are done by widows and widowers, polio and landmine victims, those living with HIV/AIDS, and impoverished families living hand-to-mouth.

When you purchase one of these products, you choose to pave the journey of making a different life for people in need and participate in a socially aware and environment-friendly global community. By buying these recycled goods you are helping the disabled in Cambodia to become self-sufficient and escape a life of poverty. We aim to promote sustainable practices and employment approaches that lead to enriching livelihoods.

About the Author – Sophal Bun

Sophal Bun

Sophal Bun is an Export Consultant for Export Assistance Program Cambodia, Hinrich Foundation. With one year experience as a Senior Copy Writer in an advertising company, Integrated Marketing Experts (Chip Mong Group). Also, six years an Editor for Newsletter at the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control. And he got a full scholarship for MA in International Journalism Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2013 and MA in Development Studies from Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2012.