A government study showed that in 2013 Malaysia produced, on average, 30,000 to 33,000 tonnes of waste a day, a big jump from 2012’s average of 20,000 tonnes. The Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government has now decided to introduce compulsory waste separation, taking effect from 1 September 2015.
However, not all residents seem informed or even aware of the new programme. Here are a few things you should know:
Where is trash separation now compulsory?
The waste separation rule is currently being implemented in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Pahang, Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Perlis and Kedah, since these states and federal territories have adoped the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act.
How should we separate our trash?
Trash should be separated into two main categories: dry and wet waste. Dry waste consist of solid and recyclable materials, which can be further separated into three groups: plastic, paper and other. Wet waste consists mostly of organic waste such as food, soiled diapers and other “damp” materials. Accordingly, trash of each category and subcategory should be collected in separate trash bags or bins.
Do we have to use different coloured bags?
Different coloured bags will not be required, however the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) requires residents to follow a particular method of preparing trash for collection. All three subgroups of dry waste must be collected in separate bags and placed next to the rubbish bin, whereas, all wet waste should be in a plastic bag, placed in the rubbish bin.
Will bins be provided and when will trash be collected?
SWCorp will provide three types of bins to high-rise buildings in communal trash collection areas. Join Management Bodies (JMB) are responsible for ensuring the separation of trash bins for individual houses and low-rise units.
Collection of waste will be using a 2+1 system. Dry waste is collected once a week and wet waste is collected twice a week, each neighbourhood has been given their separate collection schedules.
What’s the fine for not complying?
For the first few months, SWCorp will go easy on residents to adjust to the new system to educate and raise awareness about these . However, beginning 1 June 2016, first time offenders will be fined RM50, the subsequent offenders will be fined RM100 and RM500. If the fines remain unpaid, the offender can be taken to court and be charged with a maximum fine of RM1,000.
What are my other options for recycling?
There are several recycling centres available in Kuala Lumpur for your unwanted recyclable materials. Donate your old clothes to H&M to be reused and recycled. Or look out for your neighbourhood truck man, collecting old newspapers, electricals and other bric a brac.
The end game is the same: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Words by Soumya Bhat. Infographic by Lyn Ong.