Sunday, 1 June 2014

Be Inspired: We need your drink cartons

(From left) John-Son Oei and Manjula Murugesan showing off a recently built home at Kampung Hulu Tamu in Batang Kali, Selangor, along with resident Pak Acip.

(From left) John-Son Oei and Manjula Murugesan showing off a recently built home at Kampung Hulu Tamu in Batang Kali, Selangor, along with resident Pak Acip.

Send your drink cartons for recycling – into roof tiles.

Imagine living under a roof made from beverage cartons. Yes, that’s what the tiles are made of.

Since the introduction of beverage carton recycling by Tetra Pak back in 2005, the rate of carton recycling has gone up by 17.9%.

Now Tetra Pak is back to introduce the 2014 CAREton Project following overwhelming support from the public. The project which started in 2012 is a collection drive for used beverage cartons that will be recycled into roof tiles.

This time around, the goal is to provide enough roof tiles for 15 homes. Tetra Pak will be collaborating with Nestle and EPIC Homes to build houses for the villagers of Kampung Hulu Tamu in Batang Kali, Selangor.

“We wanted to expand the CAREton Project to include more Malaysians in the project,” said Tetra Pak’s environment manager, Manjula Murugesan, 36.

Manjula believes the collaboration with EPIC Homes is a great idea as the social enterprise builds homes – which obviously require roof tiles – for the orang asli community in Malaysia.

Founder and chief executive officer of EPIC Homes, John-Son Oei, says the enterprise has built a total of 19 homes since 2010.

Tetra Pak's careton project in collaboration with Nestle and EPIC Homes, provides dream homes for the orang asli in Batang Kali, Selangor.
Some of the volunteers compare the project to a fun and relaxing summer camp.

“Our target is to be able to build 100 homes within a year,” said the 27-year-old who is constantly on the look-out for ways to help and connect with others.

The roof tiles that will be used, have a humble beginning. Drink cartons are made up of 75% paper, 20% plastic and 5% aluminium, and go through various processes before finally ending up as a 2.7m x 1.2m (9 x 4ft) roof tile.

“It’s called the Green Roof, but it is technically named as the poly-aluminium roof tile because it’s made from polyethylene and aluminium,” said Manjula, adding that Tetra Pak refers to it as the Poly Al roof tile.

According to Manjula, the tiles have excellent noise insulation, low water and heat absorption as well as resistance to fire and rust.

“They’re also very durable,” she added as she dared the reporters to sit on the tile.

Tetra Pak's careton project in collaboration with Nestle and EPIC Homes provides dream homes for the Orang Asli at Batang Kali, Selangor.
The construction site was a hive of activity as enthusiastic volunteers secure the structure and foundation of the house.

This comes as good news for Oei, who says that the roofs are the biggest challenges due to the materials used in the making of most low-cost roof tiles.

“We’ve been constantly looking for housing solutions and we found that the Poly Al roof tiles are very effective,” he said, explaining that the common zinc roofs are prone to rust.

While the whole process may be simple, it takes approximately 7,247 drink cartons to produce just one roof tile. A single house built by EPIC Homes requires 46 roof tiles.

The construction site was filled with enthusiastic volunteers who were busy at work as they secured the structure and foundation of the house.

Giving back

Dennis Oh, 31, who was at the building site, took a three-day break from his job to volunteer for the project, and he has no regrets.

“By doing this, I’m giving back to the community,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to help out by giving my time.”

Like Oh, volunteer Michael Goodwin, 26, said he took leave from his job as an architect in the United States to participate in the project.

“I feel that as an architect, I should know how to interact with people, work with a team and put a structure together,” said Goodwin.

Pak Alan sitting in his old house while volunteers build a new house for him.
Pak Alan sitting in his old house while volunteers build a new home for him.

He adds that the work becomes easy when the other volunteers make the whole process enjoyable and he even goes on to compare the project to a fun and relaxing summer camp.

Oei says that the volunteers at the building site are of different ages and backgrounds.

“We have had volunteers as young as 17, and as old as 64,” he said. “We’ve even had CEOs, Datuks and other top executives who join our cause. There are people from other countries like South Korea and Russia who join us.”

It’s easy to see why so many people have volunteered for the project as newcomers only have to attend a basic workshop before getting their hands dirty with the real work.

“It’s a five-hour workshop that covers the basics,” said Oei, adding that the volunteers learn how to use the tools and building equipment. On top of that, he stresses the importance of safety, especially at the site.

There are incentives for the volunteers – ranks will be given based on a person’s experience and commitment. As Oei puts it, there are four ranks: the rookie, apprentice, specialist and master builder.

It isn't all fun and games at the building site as volunteers have to endure the heat of the sun while carrying out construction works.
It isn’t all fun and games at the building site as volunteers have to work under the scorching sun.

“We want people to be more involved – not just in putting in the money, but to become builders who build homes for others,” he concluded.

You can do your bit by dropping your used beverage cartons at Tetra Pak’s collection bins which can be found throughout the Klang Valley.

The bins are available at places such as the Ikano Power Centre in Petaling Jaya, Publika Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur and AEON Shopping Centres.

For the complete list of locations, go to www.tetrapak.com.my.

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Tags / Keywords: Family Community , Tetra Pak , Careton Project , EPIC Homes


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