For those of us who love a spot of retail therapy there’s only one thing better than a shopping trip — and that’s the opportunity to shop sustainably in the knowledge you’re supporting some of the most eco-friendly brands in Cambodia.
Be Eco! is Phnom Penh’s new, go-to marketplace for sustainably and ethically produced and retailed goods. The brainchild of Sandy Kotan, eco zealot and owner of the company Only One Planet, it brings together under one roof an array of products — from clothing and handicrafts to kids stuff and homewares — from over twenty very different sustainable businesses with a shared social conscience.
Be Eco! first came into existence last year as a six month pop-up in the Gateway to Khmer language school building in Phnom Penh. In February it held a soft opening in its own, hopefully more permanent and certainly more convenient home on Street 464 in Tuol Tum Poung, followed by an official launch on 17 March.
The vision for the new store is to create a community resource for all things eco-friendly. Customers can expect regular workshops and awareness events, including zero waste Repair Fairs with specialists on hand to mend items like shoes, jewelry and fans. It’s also a collection point for recyclables so you can sustainably discard your unwanted glass, batteries, clothing and textiles, and hard plastics when you shop.
Be Eco! is a trove of mindfully-manufactured goodies to browse and buy. Cute and cuddly toys from Cambodia Knits; Bumble Bee Cambodia’s range of deliciously-fragranced natural, hand-made soaps and other beauty products; Domlei’s cool clothing and homewares featuring the brand’s unique hand block printed designs; and funky macrame products made from upcycled materials by Unikh Designs. L’Irresistible’s organic jams and syrups are there, made by the Kampuchea Sela Handicap NGO, and coffees from Three Corner Coffee Roasters who work with local farmers, roasters and brewers. There’s even a gin refill station courtesy of Seekers Spirits, which — because what beats a sustainable sundown G&T? — is as good a reason to head there as any.
Only One Planet’s own product shelves are a colorful tribute to the societal benefits of chemical-free silicone. The company’s range of reusable food and drink containers and storage products are both practical and fun, but Only One Planet has a serious purpose. Sandy, who set the company up in 2018, is on a mission to rid the country of styrofoam and plastic — or at least to encourage and educate as many businesses as possible to use sustainable alternatives. It’s a lofty aim, but with a growing customer-base across Cambodia for the extensive range of fully compostable, biodegradable food packaging that Only One Planet has developed from sugar cane fiber, she’s certainly making headway. Part of this success is due to the fact that the business puts its education drive ahead of profits.
The back room of Be Eco! is given over to Clothes Rail Resale Boutique, where customers can rummage happily through rails of good condition, pre-loved clothing and accessories and come away with a bargain or several. Many of the items are donated by expats leaving the country and the company’s owners put profits to good use providing small scale but valuable support for local communities in need.
Open Wednesday to Friday 12 to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
House 52A Street 464, Toul Tom Pong
Tel: +855 (0) 96 452 2622