PETALING JAYA: Who would have imagined that recycled drink packs can be used to build homes. But that is what a group of university students did.
Students from UCSI University not only embarked on a campaign to reduce waste and promote recycling, but they also helped build homes for orang asli families with the drink packs they recycled.
Students from UCSI wanted to address the problem of wasted drink packs by promoting a recycling campaign called the Careton Project.
“At first, I didn’t know that drink packs can be recycled, and many more people are also not aware that they can be recycled,” said UCSI Food Science and Nutrition Indonesian international student and volunteer Chrissandra Lois.
A drink pack is made out of paper, plastic and aluminium - all of which can be recycled.
“I wanted to turn waste into something wonderful, that is why I decided to volunteer for the Careton Project,” she said.
The 19-year-old said notebooks, paper bags, roof tiles and panel boards were made out of the recycled drink cartons.
The students also built two homes for the orang asli community in Hulu Selangor using the recycled roof tiles and panels.
“The Careton Project not only helps with waste reduction, but we are also giving back to the community,” she said.
“I hope that I can bring this recycling awareness to Indonesia as well,” she added.
The Careton Project began in 2013 as a community service initiative by the Faculty of Applied Sciences.
Student volunteers not only held awareness campaigns to educate the public about recycling, but they also had collection points where people could recycle their drink packs.
As of December 2016, they collected 500kg of used drink packs which is an equivalent of about 33,000 drink packets.
Another USCI Food Science and Nutrition student Siew Zhi Zhou, 22, has been volunteering for two years through many university programmes, but says the Careton Project was his most memorable project.
“It’s amazing because I helped to build a home using the roof tiles made of the recycled drink packs,” said Siew.
“For me, building a home is a difficult job and it takes time. And we complete the home within three days, which is pretty unbelievable,” he said.
During the three-day home building, Siew said he learnt important lessons about teamwork and altruism.
“A home is not just a shelter. A home can provide long-term benefit to the orang asli family, and is the foundation of the success of the family,” said Siew.
He said that the orang asli family were previously living with their relatives in cramped conditions.
“It feels good to be part of a project that helps the poor communities,” he said.