THE automated MonJi recycling machine makes saving the environment a simple, fun and rewarding experience.
Every time a plastic bottle or aluminium can is dropped into the machine, one gets to play a game on a touch screen and receive goodies.
Its sorting mechanism is also able to segregate different types of waste into respective compartments, making it easy for users.
Response has been positive from those who have tried it when it was placed at the Hin Bus Depot along Jalan Gurdwara in George Town last year.
It is currently being given new upgrades, and should be back at the art centre by April, according to MonJi founder Bong Yu Liang.
The 23-year-old Sarawakian entrepreneur said the concept originated as a final-year group project while he studied mechatronic engineering at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in 2015.
Together with coursemate Heng Jia Sen, 24, and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology graduate Benjamin Chuang, 22, from Kuala Lumpur, they set up the company and came up with a working prototype in April, 2016.
It was done with the help of partners like Dilectus Games which assisted on the game development, and Dodomons with the product design.
The machine was unveiled at the Penang Mini Maker Faire event in October, 2016. It was touted as the ‘modern alternative to the traditional recycling bin that maximizes efficiency of residential and commercial disposal in the 21st century’.
“Most liked the auto-sorting mechanism. A common problem many have when recycling, is they are unsure which materials go into which bin.
“For now, the sensor on this machine can only differentiate between plastic and aluminium, but we ultimately hope to cover more types of materials.
“We are still looking to improve it, and may add features like a camera or photo booth as a reward system for users to encourage more to recycle,” Bong said.
For now, they have partnered with the Asia Comic Museum, Glass Museum, Dark Mansion and Ghost Museum, so users who recycle a certain amount of waste will get discounts on entrance tickets to the museums.
Coming from a family that practises recycling, Bong said he long understood the importance of doing so, but at times found facilities lacking in certain places.
As such, he hopes the machine, if commercialised, can be placed at public spaces like shopping malls to make it easy for everyone to recycle.
“The amount of solid waste humans produce keeps increasing day by day. Landfills are getting full, and if nothing changes, we might all be living near one some day.
“Everyone knows recycling is important, but some lack the incentive or motivation to do so. We hope to change that,” he opined.
Bong added that they were looking for sponsors and business partners to take the project forward. He can be reached at 016-8713628.