“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
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.
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.
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.