Negeri Sembilan, 17 June 2023

THERE is a whole array of benefits to be garnered from recycling, but the most obvious one is that it reduces our carbon footprint, thus helping to protect the environment.

For a start, recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions since there would be less demand for the energy or materials needed to keep churning out the same product. This creates a positive domino effect as less demand for energy means less demand for fossil fuels or other polluting resources.

And if recycling is done properly, the lifespan of landfills – an environmental hazard if not managed correctly – can be extended significantly. We may not even need more landfills in future.

Then there is the simple act of recycling paper, which means fewer trees need to be cut down. Trees are especially helpful in absorbing greenhouse gases, acting as a shield against climate change.

Manufacturing aluminium cans from recycled ones only requires a 12th of the energy compared with making them from scratch.

Bottles made from a tonne of recycled glass will not only be cheaper to produce but also shaves off 315kg of carbon dioxide.

One could go on and on about its many benefits, yet while recycling is not a new concept to Malaysians, we have yet to reach the levels of more developed nations.

SWM Environment Sdn Bhd, which, among others, was established in 1996 to manage the storage, collection, transfer, and disposal of solid waste in the southern region of Peninsular Malaysia, knows this and has been doing more to create greater awareness of the benefits of recycling.

Its general manager (corporate) Mohd Norlisam Mohd Nordin says apart from its core business activity, the company launched the KITARecycle programme in November 2018 to cultivate recycling habits throughout Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor.

“The programme partners with government agencies, industry players, religious institutions, hotels, universities, colleges, schools, commercial spaces, and public areas.

“Consumers can participate via a mobile app in which recyclable items are exchanged for recycling points that incentivise users by allowing them to redeem cash through online banking,” he says.

The 25 or so items that can be recycled for points include paper or related products; plastics; metals; batteries; electronic items such as laptops, computers and related parts; smartphones and televisions; and glass bottles.

The programme has gained traction among the people and in 2021 alone, 116,304kg of recyclable items were collected in Negeri Sembilan, while Melaka had 27,292kg and Johor pulled in 175,435kg.

In 2022, the amount collected increased significantly in all three states: Consumers in Negeri Sembilan contributed 244,413kg of recyclable items, Melaka sent in 45,446kg, and those in Johor gave 336,155kg.

The amount collected in the first four months of this year has also been impressive with Negeri Sembilan contributing 124,444kg, Melaka 51,867kg, and Johor 151,001kg.

As of April 2023, there were 7,982 KITARecycle members in Negeri Sembilan, 4,328 in Melaka, and 14,934 in Johor.

Those interested can sign up for the programme at or via the KITARecycle app which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store (for iOS devices) or Google Play store (for Android).

That’s just the start. Mohd Norlisam says more is being done to get more people on board the programme.

He adds that in an effort to educate the community and support the government’s goal of promoting solid waste segregation at source and increasing the national recycling rate, SWM Environment also introduced the KITARecycle Facility Hub.

The hub, which was first introduced in Negeri Sembilan last November, features three main components: the KITARecycle Drive-Thru Drop-Off Centre located at Wisma Majlis Bandaraya Seremban; the KITARecycle Communication, Education and Public Awareness (Cepa) Centre located inside the Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Negeri Sembilan in Seremban; and the KITARecycle Mobile Buy-Back Vehicle.

“We also introduced the Cepa programme, which focuses on the cleanliness and sustainability aspects, and contributes to the reduction of the carbon footprint while promoting a low-carbon society in Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, and Johor.

“We have the 3R Troopers Team which reaches out to the public at all levels including schools, colleges and universities, for all Cepa programmes and activities,” says Mohd Norlisam, adding that there are also road tours, talks, exhibitions, and workshops conducted in shopping malls and other public areas.

Mohd Norlisam says the Cepa programmes are designed to raise public awareness of the benefits of recycling and environmental protection.

“Through this initiative, we aim to encourage the public we serve to adopt Separate Waste At Source [SAS] and 3R [Reduce, Reuse and Recycle] practices in their daily routines, and reduce the amount of waste being generated and accumulating in landfills.

“To reach an even wider audience, we deliver SAS and 3R Cepa talks to schools online and use social media for engagement through competitions,” he adds.

Mohd Norlisam says to further drive home the importance of recycling, SWM Environment, in collaboration with the Waste Management Association of Malaysia and Coca-Cola Malaysia Foundation, has come up with the WMAM Eco-Youth Challenge.

This initiative, he says, aims to empower and educate young people on recycling practices and engage them in key environmental and marine conservation issues.

Last year, 150 select schools from the three states took part in the programme.

To inculcate the recycling habit in the young, SWM Environment also launched a competition for schools known as Perkiss, he adds.

The initiative is a collaboration between SWM Environment; SWCorp, an agency under the Local Government Develop-ment Ministry; and the state Education Department.

“Through this initiative, schools with the highest volume of recyclable items are recognised and rewarded,” he says.

Mohd Norlisam says SWM Environment has also forged “meaningful partnerships” with various stakeholders in organising cleaning activities.

A popular one is World Clean-Up Day where it works with volunteers from government agencies, the private sector, learning institutions, and non-government organisations on beach-cleaning programmes.

SWM Environment may still have a long way to go before it achieves its recycling objectives, but it has got off to an encouraging start.

With a workforce of more than 8,000 full-time employees serving 27 local councils in the three states, it is bent on doing its best to help achieve Malaysia’s target of a 40% recycling rate by 2025.