Keep Hanoi Clean

The story so far

As Vietnam’s tremendous economic growth has advanced, so unfortunately has its waste management challenges – with illegal littering and dumping affecting both cities and the countryside.
Keep Hanoi Clean work to empower sustainable living through research, collaboration, education, and community projects. KHC are helping to create a healthy, vibrant and sustainable Hanoi for everyone.




Keep Hanoi Clean started in May 2016 when James Kendall (an American English teacher) and a dozen of his friends cleaned a garbage-choked canal in Vietnam’s capital city. With this first event, a movement was started.



The early days of KHC were filled with regular weekend community cleanups throughout the core districts of Hanoi. People of all ages and backgrounds, both foreign and local, joined together to improve the city that they loved. 

The numbers of volunteers quickly grew from hundreds to thousands – and KHC were also able to develop partnerships with local businesses, social organizations, and local government offices. 

Keep Hanoi Clean

A registered social enterprise



In 2018 KHC became a registered Vietnamese social enterprise organization to enable their work to have a deeper, broader, and more sustainable impact. 

A core team of a half-dozen dedicated volunteers continued to lead. Bui Thi Ngoc Diep became the owner and president, while Douglas Snyder assumed the role of general director. 


In addition to monthly community cleanups, KHC held their first second-hand clothing sale. This quickly became a regular initiative and eventually developed into the now hugely popular Green Gem Shop. 

The Green Gem Shop is a valuable source of revenue for KHC’s overall operations – while at the same time helping Hanoi’s citizens to shop sustainably. 

Scaling to meet new challenges

In 2021, KHC took another big step forward: implementing five individual program areas which are designed to tackle the diverse, interconnected, and growing environmental challenges facing Hanoi. 

Some of the key challenges these programs work to improve are:

1. A general lack of understanding of harm to the environment

2. The need for a zero-waste mindset

3. Minimal green space for urban residents

4. Environmental damage from the fast fashion industry

5. The need for greater corporate leadership

As KHC goes forward, partnerships and collaboration at all levels of society will be key to achieving real impactful success on a scale that truly benefits all of Hanoi’s citizens. 

As Keep Hanoi Clean continues to grow, we hope you’ll become part of our story too! You can sign-up to our newsletter to receive information about upcoming volunteering opportunities – or why not consider making a donation? We look forward to partnering with you to make Hanoi a green and sustainable city for all.