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Ock Pop Tok’s Green Initiatives

We often get asked in what ways does Ock Pop Tok contribute to sustainable tourism development in Laos. So, as we get ready to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we thought we would share our “green” initiatives. Some we’ve been doing for some time now while others are more recent. Let’s have a look…

Ock Pop Tok adopted and has been promoting sustainable tourism and green initiatives for many years now. As a social enterprise we strive to make our community a better place and part of that is caring about our impact on the environment.

As part of our sustainable development policy, Ock Pop Tok has made a commitment to making all our activities environmentally friendly. As you most probably know, Ock Pop Tok is your one-stop-shop to “Discover Laos Through Textiles”. We have a restaurant and a hotel, we give classes and workshops on Lao handicrafts and most importantly we are textile producers.

Here are some of our initiatives:

Filtering wastewater through sand and charcoal pits. Grey water (main picture) from the Villa is used for our garden. And training our staff in energy saving measures.

Bamboo furniture and NFTPs are used wherever possible for furniture and display materials.

We source all of our raw materials locally and seasonally in order to minimize our carbon footprint. This also reflects our commitment to the local community by supporting local business. Wherever we can, we use natural dyes. When it’s not possible, we use Azo-Free E.U approved chemical dyes.

We aim to be a plastic free company and have taken to big steps towards this goal. We are working with our team to raise awareness and educate the local community about the issue of plastic pollution as a global problem. We are committed to help Ock Pop Tok team members find solutions and reduce plastic use at work and in their personal lives.

We stopped using plastic straws in our restaurant years ago and replaced them with locally sourced bamboo straws. And replaced paper napkins by 100% cotton napkins made in Laos!

We also stopped selling plastic water bottles. We give all of our guest free purified drinking water. We also set up water refill stations at our shop in town and cafe on the banks of the Mekong so that people can refill their reusable water bottles for free.

No plastic bags for our customers in both our shops either. Customers shopping in our brick and mortar shops in Luang Prabang will leave with their purchase in either a handmade saa paper bag or a reusable tote bag.

Thanks to Lasting Laos, Ock Pop Tok has been recycling food waste into cooking gas and organic fertiliser using a HOMEBIOGAS 7.0 system for a few months now. Using this biodigester creates amazing value from waste in the most efficient and environment friendly way possible.

This HOMEBIOGAS system was subsidised by the Travelife program which is sponsored by the European Union. Some interesting facts…

A single HOMEBIOGAS digester: Reduces 7 tons of organic waste going into landfills per year Produces equivalent of up to 500 kgs of cooking gas per year Produces up to 100 litres of organic fertiliser per day. We use the biogas for our cafe and the fertiliser for our gardens.

We also sort out most of our recyclable waste. We send our plastic waste to be recycled by Patihoub. This Luang Prabang based company converts low-value plastic waste into durable, versatile and premium products.

And since upcycling is a big part of our creative process, we also collect the aluminum cans used in our cafe to send to our Akha artisans in northern Laos.

Inspired by the silver discs and coins used to decorate their traditional clothes and headdresses, the Akha community in northern Laos upcycles aluminum cans, fashioning them into matte, shimmery discs which in turn are used on some of our pouches, coasters and placemats. You can shop these products on our webshop.

If you’ve been following us for some time, you know that we oversee all production steps — in our studio but also in the different villages we work with — to guarantee the highest quality products using environment-friendly techniques. But did you know that we also value waste minimisation? How, you ask? Upcycling!

We try where we can to give a second life to Lao textiles. Yes, you read that right, upcycling is also part of Ock Pop Tok’s design and product development process! Read more in this blog!

Want to share any ideas on how we can improve our environmental impact? Drop us a line on [email protected]!

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