Hanoi coffee shops lend fresh wheels to recycling

A collection of special coffee shops in Hanoi alleys give a new lease of life to junk – discarded things acquire decorative purpose.

Hidden Gem Coffee

3B Hang Tre Street, Hoan Kiem District

Located in a small lane off Hang Tre Street, 95 percent of the furniture and decorations at the Hidden Gem Coffee are recycled. Even though the entire space is not too big, the layout is diverse, with each floor designed differently.

Nguyen Van Tho, the owner, said: "My former village is industrialized and heavily polluted. Garbage and chemicals are discarded directly into the river. So I want to do something to protect the environment. That's how the idea of making a recycling coffee shop was born."

To turn his idea into reality, Tho has walked a long distance. "My two friends and I wandered around in Bac Ninh, Hoa Binh to Phu Tho Province, visiting all the junk stores and even landfills to ask for discarded items. We tried to turn them into something of use for the coffee shop."

Furniture and decorations in the store use old light bulbs, bed frames and cub motorcycles... The use of recycled materials has helped the owner cut investment costs significantly, compared to regular coffee stores.

Hanoi Bus Cafe

Metro Ha Dong, To Hieu Street, Ha Dong District

An unused bus is now running again – as a unique cafe.

Inside the old bus, passenger chairs have been replaced with tables and chairs and recycled decorations.

The café is a place to chill out on a chilly day in Hanoi. Or stay cool on a hot day. Beautiful small plants are placed on the table, next to paint cans that have become chairs. A swing is made from old car tires.

Drinks at Hanoi Bus Cafe are affordable, and customers have the added satisfaction of encouraging an environmentally-friendly approach.

Cafe House 41

No.41 Lane 41, Thai Ha Street, Dong Da District

In a small alley in Thai Ha Street, Cafe House 41 is a haven of quietness and recycled creativity with catchy slogans.

The image of an old house painted in yellow that has a lot of greenery with flowers and plants enables visitors to relax and reflect on how each corner of Cafe House 41 uses discards.

On the surface, the interiors of this café can seem haphazard, but the arranged haphazardness has an opposite effect – it is calming.

Story by Tung Dinh