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Recycling heroes recycle to reduce waste, to save natural resources, energy and landfill space for future generations. Here are a few recycling heroes in Sabah who have been making a difference in creating a sustainable and healthy city for us to live in.

Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (Kota Kinabalu)
This non-profit organization has been actively promoting environmental awareness on recycling in Kota Kinabalu since 1998. It has about 300 volunteers in Kota Kinabalu who manage two recycling centres namely in Kolombong and Taman Suria, Penampang, as well as about 20 collecting points in schools and community centres for their monthly collection programme held every fourth Sunday of the month. They collect around RM20,000 worth of recyclable items in a day and every year are able to raise about RM300,000 for its charity fund.

All proceeds from the recyclable items sold to contractor collectors are used by Tzu Chi for its charity activities, including taking care of 170 deprived families in Kota Kinabalu areas such as single-mother families as well as those who are hardcore poor. Charity recycling is a great way for everyone to contribute towards the environment and society, and is a responsibility we should all be accountable for.

Taman Suria Recycle Centre (Mon-Fri, 9.00am-4.00pm)
Kolombong Recycle Centre (Tues & Thurs, 9.00am-4.00pm; Sat 9.00am-1pm)

These centres are also open every 4th Sunday of the month from 9.00am-11.00am, and includes collection points such as Towering Industrial Estate, KK High School, Luyang Multipurpose Hall, Tanah Emas Penampang, SK (C) Cheng Hwa Papar, Damai Multipurpose Hall, Taman Antarabangsa Likas hall and SJK (C) Chen Sin Tuaran. Call the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (Kota Kinabalu) at 088-381779 for more information.


Recycling Collection Centres
On average, Sabah exports between 1,500 and 2,000 tonnes of recyclable materials a month. One of the biggest collection centres in Kota Kinabalu, J&S Recycle Resources Sdn Bhd, receives recyclable materials from all over Sabah which include newspaper, office paper, magazines, plastic drinking bottles, shampoo and detergent bottles, fruit juice and milk cartons, plastic grocery bags and cardboard. These materials which come from households, shoplots and industrial areas are then compacted into bales and exported in containers to recycling plants in Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang. Plastic waste materials are however exported primarily to China where there is a greater demand for it.

Kenny Ng has been managing operations at J&S Recycle Resources Sdn Bhd for almost 7 years and has seen a steady increase of waste materials being collected and exported from Sabah. The increase corresponds closely with the average Malaysian standard of 6-8% for paper materials and 5-7% for plastics annually.

Households and businesses that have any of these recyclable materials can drop them off at:

J&S Recycle Resources Sdn Bhd
Jalan Kolombong, Seludang Light Industrial Estate, Lorong Buah Sukun, 88450 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Tel: 012-7818433

GNC Recycle Sdn Bhd
Off Jalan Putatan & Tuaran Bypass
Tel: 088-764193


Mr. Robin Soon, Managing Director, GNC Recycles Sdn. Bhd.
Unfortunately, glass is not accepted at collection centres as there is no facility in Sabah to clean and crush them prior to it being exported to recycling plants in Peninsular Malaysia. The high cost of recycling glass and low demand has also made it economically unsustainable for the plants to accept all the recyclable glass materials in Malaysia.
Waste materials from construction sites such as discarded wood and fibre boards are also not collected and together with the unpopular glass, are all disposed of in landfills.
The opportunity to establish a commercial recycling industry in Sabah to divert these recyclable materials from landfills cannot be overlooked, with the added benefit of creating new jobs. It is a business opportunity that will become more evident as new laws are in the process of being formulated to make it compulsory for the public to separate their household waste for recycling. As the volume of recyclable waste materials increases in the future, it will be able to sustain a full-fledged recycling industry in Sabah that will benefit the local economy and create a more efficient waste management system.

Being an everyday Recycling Hero is not difficult. What we really need to do is think harder about how we produce waste and how we dispose of it. It will always be better not to produce waste in the first place than to recycle it, so reducing the need for things is always the best option. Use your buying power to pressure manufacturers to use less packaging, for example. Or buy products with little or no packaging such as loose vegetables and fruits from the market.

Reusing things is also generally better than recycling them, because recycling takes energy. (It takes energy to power the truck that collects your recycled material and energy is also used at the plant where things are recycled.) So it’s better to keep a plastic ice-cream container and reuse it as a storage box than to send it off to be recycled.

Buying recycled products is another important part of recycling. If no-one’s prepared to buy recycled, it doesn’t pay for people to recycle things in the first place. Why do recycled things cost more if they’re made of old trash? Recycled things are often more expensive than non-recycled ones, because they’re made in smaller quantities and it often takes more effort to make them and get them to the shops. But remember this: although they have a higher cost, they usually have a lower environmental cost: they are doing less damage to the planet.

Say ‘no’ to things people offer you that you don’t need or ask for. Refuse freebies that companies give away. It you need that pen or reusable grocery bag, by all means take it. But if they are going to end up collecting dust in a drawer or worst, in the trash, then just say ‘no thanks’. Say ‘no’ to plastic bags at supermarkets if you only have a couple of items that you could easily carry.

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