“Recycle”/”Kitar semula”… in the last 15 years or so, we have become familiar with these words popping up everywhere.

In recent times, different coloured bins for plastics, paper and aluminium have started appearing at shopping malls, while larger containers for recycled goods have been put up in certain housing estates. Why? Because recycling and environmental consciousness has become a way of life in many countries, and Malaysia has been influenced by these developments.

We are used to be environmental friendly

It’s interesting to think about the past, that is, a time before recycling became a global fad. In the old days, no one had ever heard of this slogan. But in those days, Malaysians were natural recyclers. No catchy slogans or advertisements were needed. In the pre-consumerism era, it was quite simple – people only consumed what they needed. There was no over-consumption. People grew much of their own food and reared their own livestock. There were no electronic gadgets to be discarded when a “new” model came out. People shopped at the local market or pasar malam and their goods purchased were mostly wrapped in newspaper. Plastic as a form of packaging was not that common. Each household only generated a small amount of waste, most of it biodegradable.

Today, sadly, the amount of garbage generated per household is huge. This garbage ends up in massive landfills out of which mountains of non-biodegradable plastic bags arise. The liquid residue from these landfills enters into the groundwater and pollutes the environment.

Fortunately, eco-consciousness is growing in Malaysia, and a whole new multi-million ringgit industry has sprung up around it in the form of newsprint recycling, moulded-pulp packaging, e-waste mining, reconditioning of batteries and others.

How can You Get Started

All of us would like to be part of the solution to the problem of excess waste. But what if I told you, you could earn some cash in the process? Wouldn’t just be a win-win? Here are a couple of easy tips to get you started.

First, go through every room in your home, and make a list of items you no longer need. Next, do some research first, to come up with a plan of what you can recycle, and how. Newspapers, the internet and advertisements/signboards posted up in neighbourhoods, can provide a wealth of information.

The usual items which can be recycled are old newspapers, tins, glass bottles, aluminium cans, boxes and plastic containers. However, it should not be assumed that other items cannot be recycled. It all depends on where you plan to take your items to be recycled.

Old Newspaper Man

Malaysians are familiar with the ubiquitous Old Newspaper Man driving through housing estates in a small van. His request for old newspapers is broadcasted via loudspeaker in a variety of languages, sometimes accompanied by the tooting of a musical horn. He will take your old newspapers from your doorstep in return for a small sum. Today’s Old Newspaper Man can also collect glass bottles, cans and other items as well, in addition to old newspapers.

IPC Recycling Centre

IPC Recycling & Buy-back Centre
IPC Recycling & Buy-back Centre

You could also try taking the items to a recycling centre, yourself. For example, IPC Recycling Centre (www.ipc.com.my) will take newspapers, books and magazines, cardboard, tins, metal and aluminium cans and plastic bottles. OK, when it comes to recycling these kinds of items, we’ll need to be realistic, the amount of cash that can be generated from recycling, is certainly not likely to help you retire early or anything like that! ? We are talking about very, very miniscule sums here. On a per sale basis, depending on weight, you are usually looking at much less than RM 10. Plastic fetches the least, while aluminium cans attract the most, in terms of price.

Cash Converters

Alternatively, you could take your recyclable items to Cash Converters (www.cashconvertersasia.com). According to its website, they will take items such as TV’s, Hi Fi, electrical appliances, computers, sporting goods, musical equipment, clothes, books and magazines. Once a price is agreed, they will pay you the cash for the items. Cash Converters has 8 stores in Malaysia, 6 of which are located in the Klang Valley, in Taman Sea, Ampang, Klang, Sunway, Shah Alam, Selayang and Setapak.

Recycling Computers

For pre-loved IT products such as monitors, printers, old laptops and notebooks as well as electronic equipment including TVs, try Computer Cycle Holdings Sdn Bhd (www.computercycle.com.my). According to their website, the company offers a collection service. While their overall target market appears to be companies, individuals are also mentioned. There seem to be two transaction methods – either a buyback option, where the company pays cash for the equipment you give them, or the exchange method, whereby they trade in the used item and a new one can be purchased through them, on a rebate model.

The benefits of recycling

Recycling as an activity may not be lucrative per se, but once incorporated into your way of life, can bring additional benefits beyond the small sums of cash. Money is not everything. Recycling activities can be a rewarding and fulfilling project for the whole family – giving everyone a chance to collaborate and work together towards becoming more responsible citizen of your neighbourhood, community, city, country and planet. Even the small sums earned in the form of payment for recycled goods, could be collected, saved up and ultimately donated to a charity of your choice.

Ultimately, while there is some minimal cash-generating potential involved, the feel-good factor and collateral benefit of making recycling a part of your life, is worth much more than cash.

Do you recycle? And is there any recycling method you practise? Share with us in the comment section.


Personal finance author and trainer

    23 replies to "RECYCLING = Cash + Feel Good Factor"

    • Rafael

      Hi may i know hoch much is the price of used cans and boxes thank u

    • We have a lot of fruits and vegetable waste of high quality. Does anyone have a contact of anyone interested in buying these items

    • NISHA

      Hai, i am from one of the corporate company going to have program on environment..this only a kick off event but this program will be continuously conducted throughout our branches in KL

      Can you come and collect the recycled items collection during the event / program

      • Juliana May

        Hi there! I have a lot of glass sofa bottles to rid of, about 100 and above in quantity! My location is in sunway pjs 11/7. Do you know how I can go forth on this mater? 🙂

    • Ks mahesvary

      I hv alots of plain satin/chiffon fabric use for decoration. Mostly 10 meter or 12meter pcs. Alot of white turq blue gold black n othr colours . Any1 knows whr i cn sell ths fabric. Pls ctc me 0102404579, mahes

    • chris

      hello, i got a fridge side by side 2 door LG fridge (6 years old) with compressor spoilt. Anyone want to buy from me..

    • Velan

      Hello.i got singa beer bottele recycle .anyone can buy can call me 0178181192

    • Syazwan Majid

      Visit KitarewardMY on FB, Twitter & Instagram.

      We are a total waste solution provider.

      Direct contact: 0192217743 (Syazwan)

    • Kari

      I need to recycle coke cans and glass bottles in the next days … where to go ? And maybe get some cash back …. I am in Ampang

    • cathein

      anyone know where can i recycle beer bottles in pj area?

      • Y.M.Tai

        Kindly email me at cymtai@yahoo.com. I take waste glass bottles& containers for recycling.

    • joshua

      how much is 1kg for aluminium cans?

    • Aiman ismail

      Hi..how about car windscreen?i have a lot..

    • Ashley

      Hi, may i know do you accept redwine glass bottle for recycle?

      • Kumar

        I wanted to sell as well.. Did you manage to get anyone who accepts wine bottles?

      • Haari Tharaman

        Please call me to discuss

    • Shaiful

      Hi Haari.
      Interested reading about you setting up glass recycling facility. May I know what kind of facility? Size of facility? I am working in glass bottle manufacturer and interested in getting back recycled glass.


    • Balan

      Do you deal with waste EPS Styrofoams…..like fish boxes and electronic equipment support Styrofoam,if yes we Can supply it in huge amount….please let me know how much you will pay per metric ton

      • Liz

        Hi Balan,

        We are the end-user of waste polystyrene and we buy it for over 4000 tons per month.

        Do you mind sending one email to me at liztang@intco.com.cn to talk further?

        Thank you.

    • haari Tharaman

      Hi KCLau,

      We are very interested in making Malaysia a greener place. Your article has a lot of good information for the public.

      Just like to ask you, what about glass waste? Do you any big scale glass waste collectors in KL? We are looking at starting a glass recycling facility here.

      Hope to hear back.


      • KCLau

        Haari, sorry can’t help you with that. Google will provide you better answer.

      • Chao Chia

        Hi haari, I am also into similar question
        Anyone know where about we can recycle glass bottles ?


    • […] mindset. They were careful to conserve. They created more with less. In the olden days, people were natural recyclers. Nothing much went to waste. Everything had a purpose, and once that purpose had been fulfilled, […]

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