A LARGE number of residents in strata properties in the Klang Valley are embracing recycling, thanks to the efforts of various parties.
Among the groups that have introduced the concept is Bukit OUG Condominium Residents Association (Bocra).
It has placed four recycling bins in aid of charity and set up a used cooking oil collection centre at the condominium in Kuala Lumpur.
The initiative is led by Richard Gascoigne, an 80-year-old retiree who is also a member of Malaysian Nature Society.
Joining him are residents Carol Moosdeen, Karen Fairclough-Ng, Anthony Ng and Sam Ng.
“We have placed three drums to collect used cooking oil as well as four recycling bins from Dual Blessing, a social enterprise which caters to the disabled and recovering drug addicts.
“We hope that residents will be inspired by the charity element to recycle,” said Gascoigne.
To kick-start the programme, the team organised an event last month to publicise the recycling initiative.
Residents were also encouraged to bring their used cooking oil to be exchanged for cash.
A total of 21 residents attended the event, said Anthony, who is also Bocra secretary.
Additionally, the team placed posters in all the lifts and at some 224 floors in the 14-block condominium to spread the word.
Sam, who is an antiques dealer, is in charge of arranging the collection of items which are not suitable to be placed in the charity recycling bins such as batteries, electrical or electronic devices and glass.
These will be sold and funds will be kept, recorded and distributed by Moosdeen.
All items put into the Dual Blessing bins will go to the organisation. Only those collected by Sam and the cleaners will be sold.
A decision will be made on the percentage to be allocated between these two parties to ensure they receive a fair share for their efforts in collecting and segregating the recyclables.
The Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order inspired Bocra to set up a team to start a recycling programme for its 5,000 residents, said its joint management body (JMB) office manager Charles Ho.
They wanted to do something to address the volume of rubbish, which had increased by 60% during that period.
“On normal days, the condominium generates about six tonnes of rubbish on a weekly basis.
“This does not include bulk waste like mattresses and furniture.
“With the recycling programme, we hope to raise awareness of proper waste management and reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfills,” said Ho.
Under the programme, residents who want to dispose of usable bulky items can call Dual Blessing who will remove them for free.
If they are not usable, a fee will be charged for their removal.
Residents who are not keen to walk to the recycling bins to dispose of their recyclables can separate and place them in individual bags in the rubbish rooms to be removed by the cleaners.
Making it work
For a recycling programme to be sustainable, it must become part of residents’ daily lives, said Kenanga Flats JMB secretary Kharis Padzilah Salleh.
When the JMB started the recycling programme in 2016 at the residential highrise in Gombak Permai, Batu Caves in Selangor, they organised a funfair.
Food and games could only be accessed by exchanging recyclable items like scrap metal, plastic and tin cans.
“The response was fantastic, especially from children who brought things such as old bicycles.
“By the end of the day, the compound was cleared of rubbish like tin cans and plastic bottles because they had been exchanged for funfair coupons,” recalled Kharis.
There are 1,200 residents in the 288-unit Kenanga Flats.
Six years on, the recycling programme is still going strong.
Residents are able to offset their monthly maintenance fees by selling the recyclables including used cooking oil.
“Between 2016 and 2021, residents turned in some 12 tonnes of recyclables,” said Kharis.
Explaining the mechanics, he said residents would hand in their items at the flats’ recycling centre on Sundays.
The items are weighed and coupons with dates and serial numbers are given out to record these transactions.
The value of the recyclables are based on current market prices provided by contractors who will collect the items and pay the recycling centre.
The cash is then handed to the JMB office, which will offset the corresponding amount from residents’ maintenance bills.
Extra income from the sale of recyclables is utilised by the JMB to maintain the flats.
On average, the Kenanga JMB is able to earn between RM400 and RM600 a month from the recycling programme.
One of the top contributors to the programme at the flats’ is Kamerol Baderi Sapuan, who has a business at the Selayang wholesale market.
The bulk of his weekly contributions are cardboard boxes, cans and newspapers.
He is able to collect up to RM15.60 worth of coupons a week.
“It’s not hard. I read two newspapers a day and drink two cans of an energy drink.
“I also have a lot of cardboard boxes due to my business.
“So, it is just a matter of collecting everything and handing it in at the end of the week,” said Kamerol.
The coupons presented to the JMB’s office are also eligible for lucky draws to win gift hampers.
Kamerol said his grandchildren’s faces light up every time he brought such a hamper home.
Councils get involved
Playing their part to encourage higher participation in recycling activities among residents of strata properties are the local authorities.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) introduced its “1 Community, 1 Recycling” (1C1R) programme with the pioneer projects launched on Nov 28, 2020, at PPR Pinggiran Bukit Jalil and PPR Salak Selatan.
A total of 636.18kg of recyclable items, consisting of aluminium cans, paper, plastic and used cooking oil, were collected in return for points that could be redeemed for sugar, flour, cooking oil and condensed milk.
The encouraging response prompted the launch of similar programmes elsewhere in the city.
In March 2021, PPR Seri Alam in Sungai Besi became the pilot site to set up exchange kiosks under the Wilayah Prihatin (Caring Territory) programme.
A similar collect-and-exchange concept was also used when Subang Jaya City Council (MBSJ) in Selangor began its strata housing recycling programme “Jom Kitar” (Let’s Recycle), with the participation of two apartments.
MBSJ Corporate and Strategic Management Department deputy director Azfarizal Abdul Rashid said residents could exchange recyclable goods for selected souvenirs.
In 2021, a total of 23 apartments participated in the recycling programme.
MBSJ has placed recycling cabins and bins in apartments premises and organised competitions to encourage more participation.
The total weight of collected recyclables under the city council’s programme from September 2018 to October 2021 was 82,427.34kg.
“Recycling can reduce environmental pollution, preserve ecosystems and save expenditure in terms of tipping fees at landfills,” said Azfarizal.
Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) started its strata recycling programme in 2016 with Kenanga Flats, said the local council’s Corporate Department deputy director Ahmad Fauzi Ishak.
It has since been expanded to Desa Satu and Dua apartments in Kepong, Julia Flats in Bandar Baru Selayang Fasa 2, Batai and Jemerlang flats in Selayang Heights, as well as Selayang Mulia, Selasih Indah and Pinggiran flats in Batu Caves.
“All these strata properties are still active in the programme,” said Ahmad Fauzi.
The municipal council will add two more sites to the list this year, he disclosed.
According to MPS, the strata recycling programme was implemented in residential highrises throughout the Selangor through the assistance of the state housing, urban and entrepreneur development committee.
To date, there are a total of 32 strata recycling centres in Selangor.