Where to recycle clothes, e-waste and other household items in Malaysia

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2020 has been a year that kept many of us apart. Maybe we should take the hint and start separating our recycling. It’s a form of waste management that could save the world. If you’re looking for a recycling bin or a recycling centre near you, then you’ve come to the right place. From clothes, electronics and books, we’ve rounded up a list of places where you can recycle them. 

recycling-in-malaysia

© Katarzyna Białasiewicz | 123rf

There’s never been a year quite like 2020. We kicked it off with forest fires in Australia, followed swiftly by a global pandemic that is still going strong, rounded off with the reminder that the world’s oceans are still rising. Is there any doubt that our way of life, as it is, is not sustainable? Clearly, we’re in dire need of a little magic. Perhaps some life-changing magic. Of recycling. 

But first, what is recycling? 

If you’ve done some major spring cleaning during the time spent at home, chances are you have a lot of things you want to get rid of. But tossing many of these items out into the bin isn’t just a huge waste of natural resources. It comes at an environmental cost too. They either don’t break down and stay in landfills until the end of time, or emit harmful by-products when they do. Recycling is the process of waste management that reduces the amount of non-perishable garbage being thrown into landfills. These materials are given a second life, either reused wholesale or broken down to create something new, effectively saving our natural resources and reducing energy consumption.

How to recycle?

© Ketchana Jedsenarak | 123rf

The how is pretty straightforward. Separate your trash by type. Dones! But here’s the caveat, while many of us are already familiar with the standard paper, plastic, metal, and glass bottles, it actually stretches much further than that. One that commonly goes over our heads is cooking oil. No, mamaks are not buying your fried chicken-tainted oil to reuse later on.

Instead, centres collect these by the barrel and process them in order to use them in other industries. Nifty! Another common household product that should be recycled but isn’t is electronics. From humble batteries to old washing machines, when not recycled properly they can leech dangerous chemicals into the ground as they break down.

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Now that we have the basics covered, on to the ‘where’.

If you’re living in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Johor, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Kedah or Perlis, you’ve lucked out! Your municipality has a weekly curbside collection system for recyclables built into the waste management service. Find out more about the types of recycling they collect and pick-up schedule in your area on their website. 

1. Alam Flora Buy Back Center

Fancy making cash from trash? Alam Flora’s Buy Back Center is where it’s at. If you live in the Klang Valley, you’ve probably seen an Alam Flora garbage truck making its rounds in a neighbourhood. So it makes a lot of sense when you put two and two together. They need their landfills for real garbage, after all. Check out the opening hours for their facilities, located within the Klang Valley.

2. IPC Recycling & Buy Back Centre

Whether you’re recycling in bulk or just want to drop off an empty can of soda, this recycling centre accepts them all. In fact, it is one of the few recycling centres that even accept food waste. Yep. You read it right. Things like leftover chicken bones and vegetable scraps are given a second life as animal feed and fertiliser.

With 15,000 tonnes of food waste (that’s 15 MILLION kilograms!) filling our landfills every year, it’s a service we sorely need. They even pay you for certain recyclable materials, as long as you have a minimum of 1kg. Located within the popular mall that it is named after, it’s a great place to drop off your recycling (and make a quick buck or two) for those living in the surrounding suburbs of Petaling Jaya. Click here to view their purchase rates.

3. Kloth Cares

Kloth-Cares-where-to-recycle

© Kloth Cares

Fast fashion has caused a new strain on our landfills; textile waste. As people grow increasingly blasé about throwing away clothes that they no longer favour, our air bloats with the pressure of even more methane gas being released into the environment. Kloth Cares has been working hard to turn that around since 2018, awarding them the title of being Malaysia’s very first fabric recycling movement. To date, this initiative has given a new lease on life to over 400,000kg of fabric. So maybe it’s time you Marie Kondo your wardrobe and drop them off at one of 280 Kloth Care Bins in the Klang Valley, Melaka and Seremban. Click here to find one near you.

4. H&M Garment Collection Program

“Hey, I care about the environment too,” fashion-holics nationwide cry out. Then H&M might be the place for you. In their bid for a ‘sustainable fashion future’, they have a global initiative that gives you in-store discounts for the clothes you bring in. Any clothes! Even a single sock or the scratchy shirt you bought on a whim at the pasar malam. Just pack your unwanted clothes into a bag and receive a 15% discount coupon in return for your next H&M purchase. It’s time to lose some in order to gain so much more.

Read more: 10 simple ways to start living a zero waste lifestyle

5. Senheng e-Waste Recycling

One of the banes of living in the 21st century would be what to do with old electronics. Senheng’s recycling programme is a true blessing for those who’d like to relieve themselves of that old fridge and make some space for something more worthwhile. Plants, perhaps? You can even arrange for your bulky appliances to be collected at your home. Alternatively, you can bring it to a Senheng centre near you and exchange it for vouchers. Find out more about their programme on their website.

6. MCMC’s Mobile eWaste: Old Phone, New Life

e-waste-recycling

© Aleksandra Kuznecova | 123rf

In Malaysia, each person owns an average of almost 2 smartphones. With our insatiable appetite for the latest devices and new launches that seem to happen every other week, MCMC needed a way to promote the safe disposable and recycling of old mobile devices. Hence the introduction of Old Phone, New Life collection boxes where you can drop off that old Nokia or Sony Erricson you used to think was the cutting edge of tech. Click here to find a collection box in your state.

7. Cooking Oil Recycling Centres Nationwide

cooking oil recycling

© M R Fakhrurrozi | 123rf

Ever did a batch of cucur goreng or fried chicken and wondered what to do with the oil? Many Malaysians resort to throwing it down the sink, clogging up our old pipes and incurring millions of taxpayer Ringgits to clean. Talk about wasteful, when you could be making moolah out of it instead. Tajria has a fantastic list of places which takes in used oil, most of them for cash! When they say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, they meant it literally in this case.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but it’s a good place to start if you want to reduce, reuse, and recycle, effectively making sustainable living a part of your 2021. And at the rate we’re going, our finite natural resources are going to need it. It’s high time we make recycling a part of our lifestyle, so let’s follow through with the theme of 2020 and get separating!

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