Personal Challenge

We are providing innovative and sustainable alternatives that immediately reduce plastic pollution and engage communities in being part of the solution. By designing and distributing biodegradable and compostable bags made from cassava, we are providing alternatives to the mass amounts of single-use plastic bags used in Cambodia. The funds we raise will go into design and development of specific bag types we have identified through market research. Funds will also be invested in an infrastructure that will allow us to scale from a small-impact social enterprise to a medium and, eventually, large-scale operation. Funding these two areas will allow us to reduce single-use, traditional plastic in Cambodia by millions of bags in 2017, and tens of millions in the following year, while maintaining a long-term and sustainable business model.

My Story

Plastic pollution is an enormous global issue that plagues our environment in a multitude of ways. Despite increased awareness of the issues plastic creates, production and consumption of plastic continues on an upward trend. Single-use plastic bags make up a significant portion of consumption and are one of the leading items to pollute our eco-system, with an estimated 5 trillion bags used worldwide in 2016.

There are a few reasons why plastic bags are popular: they are useful, efficient, and economical. Plastic bags were developed to be strong yet lightweight, compact, and flexible. They are made with cheap, non-renewable resources and along with the benefit of mass production, the cost of producing plastic bags is so cheap that it is virtually given away for free to consumers. There are few countries in which they are more popular than Cambodia. In fact, 5 times as many plastic bags are used per person inside Cambodia as opposed to the rest of the world. This equates to about 8,000 bags used per minute in a country with a relatively small population.

Which leads to why Cleanbodia was formed. With little to no education on environmental issues and poor waste management infrastructure, discarded plastic bags can be seen on nearly every street, rice field, and waterway. Visitors to Cambodia often remark on the country being unsanitary or dirty. Yet the kingdom is filled with beauty. How could we help to create a cleaner Cambodia?

Getting rid of plastic bags is not a viable solution. Like it or not, they offer too much value and their removal would create devastating economic problems from the suppliers that produce them down to the consumers who depend on them to carry items home. What is needed is an alternative that can replicate plastic’s positive properties while mitigating its harm on the environment.

Bioplastics are created from a renewable resource, typically plant starch, and mimic plastic material. At Cleanbodia, we design and distribute bioplastics in the form of eco-friendly, plant-based plastic bags using cassava, a starch-heavy crop grown extensively throughout Southeast Asia. The two main advantages of our biodegradable and compostable bags are the reduction of non-renewable resources to produce them and significantly lowering the degradation time. While plastic takes an estimated 500 years to degrade, our biodegradable material takes under 6 years while our compostable material takes just 2 years to fully decompose. Because of cassava’s low cost and large supply in Southeast Asia, we can produce our bags at a much lower cost than most other alternatives and lower emissions by using a regional plant.

Our bags are just one step of the many needed to significantly reduce plastic pollution. Raising awareness to this problem is necessary, particularly in Cambodia where low education levels have resulted in little knowledge of the harms plastic does to our environment and our health. We make sure we spread the message on each of our bags that alternatives to traditional plastic exist.

While our biodegradable and compostable bags are not as economical as traditional plastic, the cost is typically just a few cents more per bag. More importantly, the harm to the environment and the cost to repair it will greatly exceed any investment in eco-friendly solutions such as our bags. We believe that what we are doing can drastically reduce single-use plastic in Cambodia and allow its natural beauty to shine.

Visit us and find out more about our project at www.cleanbodia.com.

Recent Donors

  • William Turner

    KEEP MAKING A DIFFERENCE!! YOU'RE AN INSPIRATION!

    USD 100 07/06/2017

  • Nadia & Sebastian

    Go Uncle Kai!

    USD 100 23/11/2016

  • Alice Kuramoto

    Great work Kai. I am so proud of you. I am thinking of you now in Singapore for the ASEAN Impact Challenge.

    USD 100 23/11/2016

  • Janet Armato

    Keep up the tremendous work. Hope you succeed in all your efforts. From a friend of your aunt Alice.

    USD 50 22/11/2016

  • Terri Dermody & Davis Sanders

    Kai + Jen, You are MAKING A DIFFERENCE, and we are so very proud of you!

    USD 300 20/11/2016

  • William Turner

    Anything Kai does is cool...especially the really awesome things!!!!

    USD 100 18/11/2016

  • Todd Odagawa

    keep up the great work kai!

    USD 50 15/11/2016

  • Kanno, Becca and Hana

    We are so proud of you, Kai and Jen! Congrats on all your successes and looking forward to seeing many more from you two! xoxo

    USD 100 15/11/2016

  • Anonymous

    Ahkuhn Cleanbodia!

    USD 25 13/11/2016

  • Bob and Jan Kuramoto

    Great work, Kai and Jen!

    USD 500 11/11/2016

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