“THE fact that, as a startup, we've made it past 200 applicants worldwide and into the finals shows recognition on the importance and urgency of resolving the plastic waste problem worldwide,” says co-founder of Klean, Datuk Mohamad Arif Abdullah.
Klean, a Malaysian-based startup, was one of the six finalists for The Liveability Challenge which aims to close the financing gap between the ideas that will make cities better and the investments that will turn their solutions into reality.
Over 200 applications from 34 countries around the world were filed over two months and the six most promising ones selected, including Klean.
Klean, with the other five finalists, took the stage at The Liveability Challenge Finale and pitched their innovative solutions to secure up to S$1mil (RM2.96mil) in funding for the development of their projects.
The event was held on the sidelines of the World Cities Summit and CleanEnviro Singapore Summit on July 11 at Marina Bay Sands.
Klean, which in June won the first Asean edition of Pitch@Palace, plans to talk to Asean governments and government-linked companies on boosting the recycling rates.
In addition, they are also trying to talk to the UK government as the UK is expected to introduce the container deposit scheme towards the end of this year to curb plastic waste.
Both Mohamad Arif and Datuk Dr Nick Boden, as founders of Klean, will proceed to pitch in the finals at Pitch@Palace Global at St. James Palace in London this December.
Klean's ecosystem utilises a unique Malaysian-made smart reverse vending machine (SRVM) with its own Klean operating system and an app that rewards people for recycling empty polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and aluminium cans with an innovative points scheme, which is redeemable for rewards such as prepaid air time and discounts for transportation rides, goods and services.
Their greatest achievement to date was to team up with HelloGold to tackle generational poverty.
By returning bottles and cans, users can build up a gold portfolio, allowing poor people to save money using readily available waste.
They can even use this gold as collateral to secure a loan, start a business and increase savings.
In Singapore, Klean has teamed up with a leading beverage company to start a proof of concept on a container deposit scheme in the island state.
“Available data shows that the container deposit scheme has been proven to resolve the PET plastic waste problem and increase the recycling rates of countries that adopt them.
“We are aiming to start a scheme here in Singapore and in Asean and turn the tide on the problem of plastic waste in this region,” Mohamad Arif said.
They are currently seeking to secure US$5mil (RM20.2mil) in funding to allow further research and development and to launch machines across Malaysia, Singapore and the rest of Asean. — Bernama