Solving Cambodia’s Plastic Problem Seen as Key to Minimizing Waste

Lang Teng and his wife Him Chan Ouen have sold vegetables for more than four decades. They own two stalls totaling four meters square in the Boeng Keng Kong market, where shoppers can get a haircut or purchase housewares on the way to buying groceries for the day’s meals.

Lang Teng opened his business in Phnom Penh not long after the murderous Khmer Rouge rule ended in 1979.

Today he remembers how shoppers arrived at the market back then, each with an empty basket. They moved from stall to stall, buying basics—vegetables, meat, fish, eggs—and tucking purchases into the baskets that always seemed to have room for another item.

Until the late 1990s, Lang Teng said vendors wrapped items in “leaves like banana leaves, [and] water hyacinth strings. Now, we don’t see that anymore.”

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