Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

By Quynh Tran   December 11, 2020 | 10:35 am GMT+7
Discarded items including broken bathtubs, tires and bottles make up attractive interiors of a cafe in Saigon's District 2.
Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

The newly opened cafe at 17 Than Van Nhiet Street stands out with its recycling of items that are typically dumped. It “litters” its 260 square meter area with recycled trash.

Its owner Nguyen Van Tho used to be a tour guide and traveled to many places in Vietnam. He saw litter everywhere, especially plastic waste, so he thought of a way to reduce waste in the environment and contribute to the community. "That’s how this coffee shop came about,” he said.

Work on the cafe took three months to complete. At its entrance are tables and chairs made of car tires, with dragonflies made of plastic bottles hovering above them.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

Behind the entrance is a small space whose ceiling is made up of nearly 2,500 green plastic bottles.

Tho said all the plastic bottles are donated by locals. Their donations included many other items like shoes, water bottles, window frames and tires.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

Two colorful discarded wooden door panels support shoes that have been converted into plant holders.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

An old and damaged motorcycle supports a window frame and becomes a coffee table.

"Each item in the cafe is unique in shape. You cannot find a second one that is similar," Tho said.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

The space inside is quite comfortable and colorful. The walls are decorated with newspaper and the ceiling lights are made with discarded plastic. Old sewing machines are used in full as tables.

Apart from plastic items, the materials used most in the care are old car and motorcycle tires.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

A bright painting on the wall shows a sea turtle eating a plastic bag. It serves to promote awareness of and action against pollution of the marine environment.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

A large table that can seat many people at the same time has been assembled with old sewing machines.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

The curtains in the coffee shop are also recycled fabric on which more patterns have been painted.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

A colorful chandelier has been fashioned out of an old wheel and colored plastic bottles.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

This table has been made from an old tricycle with its cargo space used to host green plants. Old tires are used for stool seats and as a frame for the mirror on the wall.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

In its small outdoor space, a “playground” uses toilet seats, bathtubs and plastic buckets as furniture.

"This is the second time I've been to this cafe and what I like most is sitting in the outdoor. Every recycled item here is unique, helping me to realize that waste can be very useful if we use them properly," said An Nguyen, a customer.

Other people’s trash is a Saigon cafe's treasure

The cafe also conducts recycling lessons every week. Customers can bring recyclable waste and plastic to the shop and learn how to make different items.

The cafe, which serves drinks priced VND30,000 ($1.3) to VND50,000, can accommodate more than 100 people.

 
 
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