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Rubbish producers? Malaysians? where gotttt....

It seems that the average Malaysian produces an average of 1.5kg of rubbish every day, half of which can be recycled. Malaysians are urged to take the initiative to recycle their rubbish. And to change their tidak apa attitude of throwing all their rubbish into the garbage bin without separating and recycling the waste. (see here for online article)

... wow, since I barely produce even 500g of rubbish a day, who’s the person taking up my slack and producing 2.5kg of rubbish, huh?

But, you want people to recycle?

Y’know, apart from old newspapers, which have been recycled since forever thanks to people who go about buying your old newspapers, recycling here is just not convenient.

For the longest time, I had three large garbage bags full of aluminium cans in the boot of my car. I remember thinking I’d make the day of the rubbish bins foragers over by Lot10 if I’d ever be able to signal to one, pop open the boot, and hand him/her the bags – that might have been week’s worth of foraging right there! But I never did…. I suppose in the end I dumped them at the 1Utama recycle bins, I can’t say for sure.

And I couldn’t get my parents to do much recycling – hey my mom is Swiss and all, so she doesn’t believe in wasting, but it’s not like she was gonna have a growing pile of bottles and cans in one corner of the storage area to be gotten rid of if ever they made a trip to 1Utama? (Well, *i* would head out just to dump the stuff, but then, I suppose it’s more important to me than to them…)

And I keep saying 1Utama cos for the longest time that was the only place I knew of that not only *had* the bins, but also seemed to empty them, i.e. they were really processing the stuff somehow. I hope lah. :p

It would be so different if a recycling service was provided by the Municipal Council to all the homes - or at least to apartment complexes with a higher population (read:higher rubbish production) density.

But that would be a waste of money right? *sigh*

Let me share with you my first attempt at recyling, when I got back from the u.s., and had been stationed in the east coast boonies: I’d seen in the “town center” (harhar) that there were actually recycle bins, separate ones for aluminium, paper & plastic. I thought wow, that’s great! So I saved up my plastic bottles (at that time I was drinking lots of distilled water, as advised by the Fit For Life people, so I easily accumulated lots of empty bottles). One fine day, I drove up to the bin with an armful of empty plastic bottles, and proceeded to dump them thru the flap into the bin.

Only to hear some sort of protesting noise on the inside.

I peeked in … at a mommy cat with a bunch of pretty newborn kittens at her teats, looking up at me, disbelievingly. She’d probably figured out NOONE uses the bins so it was an ideal place to have her kittens, then next thing she knows these bottles are falling down on her.

Seeing that the existence of the bins only indicated yet another case of hangat-hangat tahi ayam, yet another abandoned initiative – probably due to lack of support anyway - I did the only thing I could do: cut down my consumption of bottled water, and gave up on the recycling while there on the east coast. This was 1995 – 1997.

Yes, things are a bit better now. At least in the KL/PJ area I see more recycle bins around in public places. Where they are properly utilized is another matter lah.

I think the WANT to recycle must be there.

What we need is education. And I mean real education – obviously running just a poster campaign coupled with an irritating song (“Recycle! That’s what we do!”) is NOT going to work. The rakyat must actually feel recycling is important enough that they would willingly inconvenience themselves once in a while in order to contribute to the greater good.

Of course, this would involve a change in attitude towards other things too. Like littering. Polluting. Having a respect for nature. For other races, other people, other abilities, other opinions.

Too much work?

Okaylah, stick to exhortations in the press calling for changes in attitude lah.

Same old same old.


  1. Problem here in the Phils is that there's just too few or no recycling stations in and around the city... adding to the enormous garbage problem we're having right now. :-(

  2. Want is something; Know-How is anothing; Enforcement and dedication is the most important thing.

  3. SG>over here it's been in the papers lately that the main source of water for the state (providing 80%) is heavily polluted.. one of the causes: junk from landfills (situated next to the river!!) leaking into the river. go figure.

    maverick>enforcement? *sigh* what's that, ah? :-(


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