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Are you recycling correctly? How to do it and where to send your recyclables in KL

Are you recycling correctly? How to do it and where to send your recyclables in KL

Reduce waste

Text: Eugene Chen

Editor: Adelina Tan

Image: Joshua Lawrence via Unsplash
Image: @margreen_s
Image: @danpaullewis

Recycling is easy once you know the correct way of doing it. Keep scrolling for tips on how to recycle in Malaysia and where to bring your recyclables

Since 2017, Malaysia has been the world’s largest exporter of plastic waste, which poses a huge ecological and human risk. Recycling helps to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfills, in addition to conserving natural resources. It also helps in saving the energy needed to process raw materials and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s clear that our individual actions affect the well-being of our planet. The longer we continue to live unsustainably, the quicker the environment deteriorates, leaving nothing for the generations to come. To prevent this, we need to educate ourselves and be willing to change the lifestyle habits that steer us away from a green planet. Hence, change truly starts with each and every one of us doing our best!

While there is more to recycling than tossing what you think is recyclable into any recycling bin, it's not rocket science and doesn't have to be a pain in the a**. With a little know-how and some practice, you'll be doing your part to save the world—superhero costume optional.

READ: 5 Artists’ repurposed book art that will take your breath away

Separate your waste

There are two main types of waste: Residual waste and recyclable waste. Residual waste is your typical kitchen waste, food waste, items considered contaminated and unrecyclable (such as the paper used to wrap roti canai), and soiled materials.

Recyclable waste, as the name implies, are those suitable for recycling. Recyclable waste can be further separated into groups, the most common ones being plastic, paper, glass/ceramics, metal, electronic waste, rubber, and fabric. Another category is bulky waste, which includes furniture and big electronic appliances such as the fridge.

In order for recyclable waste to be recycled, they must be separated from residual waste. Garden waste (plant matter) also needs to be stored in a separate bag.

Keep your recyclables clean

Make sure to always clean your recyclable trash before placing them in the recycling bin. To keep them clean, avoid putting liquids and food waste in the same bin. Contamination can cause some materials to become unrecyclable. Also, look out for paper products that have been contaminated with grease, as these are best thrown into a normal bin.

Not all plastics are recyclable

It's a common misconception that just because something is made of plastic, it's automatically recyclable. In Malaysia, there are only three types of plastics that are recyclable due to the limitations of the facilities available at recycling centers. The first is also the most common plastic used in clear bottles and food containers: Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which has the number "1" as its recycling symbol. The second type, identified by the number "2", is high-density polyethylene (HDPE) which is often used to make milk bottles, detergent bottles, and bottle caps. The third type, identified by the number "5", is polypropylene (PP) which is usually made into plastic straws, bottle caps, and butter tubs.

Where to dispose of recyclable waste

Malaysia currently implements a 2+1 collection system, meaning that every week, residual waste will be collected twice and recyclable waste will be collected once. For more information on the collection schedule in your district, you can refer to this website.

You can also drop off your recyclables at these collection centers in the Klang Valley (do check if they're open during F/MCO):

Biji-Biji Initiative

Located in the Publika Shopping Gallery, Biji-Biji Intiative transforms plastic waste into a range of recycled products including notebooks, coasters, clothespins, customised award plaques, handles, keychains, and flower pots. 

Website | Facebook | Instagram

IPC Recycling & Buy Back Centre

The IPC Recycling & Buy Back Centre in Mutiara Damansara is conveniently located within IPC Shopping Centre. They take all types of recyclable waste except for bulk waste. You can also get compensated for recycling certain items.

Website | Instagram

ERTH: E-waste Recycling

ERTH ((E-waste Recycling Through Heroes) is an electronic waste centre that collects all types of defective electronics such as PCs, laptops, and smartphones. On top of that, they are willing to pay higher prices for these electronics. They have free pick-up points all over the Klang Valley, making recycling very convenient. Learn more about these locations and the company on their website.

For more on sustainable living, click here.

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