Tips to Reduce Wastage – Keep Malaysia Clean!

This isn’t one of those ‘WHY AREN’T YOU RECYCLING?’ blog posts. But seriously, why aren’t you recycling? We know why – probably because you think it’s harder than it is, or you may think your efforts will not amount to much anyway since huge multinational corporations around the world are pretty much treating Earth like a personal sewage. 

While arguments can be made for both sides of ‘Let’s do this!’ and ‘Why even bother?’, it is undeniable that even the smallest individual act of waste reduction does in fact make a difference. By now, you probably have a friend who yanks your plastic straw out of your mouth just as you’re about to sip your cincau, and gives it back to the drinks kakak. Don’t be frustrated, they mean well. And after all, refusing plastic straws is not a bad habit to adopt.  

Here are a few waste-reduction tips that we can use to start small – eventually, these habits will become second nature, and the more we keep it up, the better off Malaysia will be.

Don’t Just Recycle, Do It Right

It goes without saying that recycling is encouraged, but do you know that there are some rules you need to follow? While it all depends on your municipality’s procedures and guidelines for separating your recyclable trash, there are some general rules-of-thumb to follow such as separating plastics, paper, and aluminium goods. The cleaner your recycled containers are, the better – this means that before you throw away your drink or yoghurt cup, ensure that you have emptied its contents out safely and give it a quick rinse (if possible) before disposing. Not doing this will increase the chances of contamination to other recycled goods in the facilities they end up in, which is a huge waste to the efforts of others. 

Also be mindful of the type of containers you are recycling; pizza boxes with leftover grease are NOT recyclable as they have an even higher chance of corrupting other waste in the same bin/facility. It is also important to get educated on the types of recyclable plastics, and that means a little research goes a long way.

What A Waste To Waste

As much as we don’t like to believe it, there are still Malaysians out there who see no problems in throwing away used plastic containers and bubble tea cups on the side of the road. This is a shameful reality, and we need to buck up and set by example – start using reusable items. Local businesses are now supplying high quality reusable goods such as water bottles, food containers, shopping bags, bubble tea cups with straw, and coffee thermoses. 

No doubt it can be a pain lugging these around, but it’s a small price to pay for a cleaner Malaysia. The next time you go to tapau chap fan, nasi lemak, or bubble tea, step out of your one-time-use bubble and save the unnecessary trash. And don’t forget your B.I.G. Eco Bag when you drop by for groceries!

Compose Yourself, Compost Your Trash

An amazing amount of food wastage can be saved if we just start composting! We eat so many fruits and vegetables in Malaysia that if composting was made compulsory, we’d reckon Malaysia would be known for its ‘pollution-absorbing fertile home gardens’. It really is much simpler than you think – all it takes is a little knowledge and a simple daily habit. Instead of these food items ending up in the landfill, feed your plants which give you oxygen every day without expecting much in return.

More Need, Less Want

A large amount of the trash we see piled up in and around overloaded rubbish bins have not even been consumed yet – they were discarded by someone who let hunger dictate how much food they desired, rather than buying in moderation. Take a conscious look at your eating and shopping habits and you’ll find alarmingly often we tend to reach for stuff we don’t actually need. The same goes for online shopping which has made it so convenient and enticing to buy stuff that we splurge unnecessarily. And worse still, that kind of ‘cart’ never actually gets full.

Take a little time to decide how much waste can be reduced from what you’re taking home. You won’t just be saving the environment, your bank account will thank you too. 

These are just some of the many steps we can take to reduce trash and keep Malaysia clean. Individually, we can do a lot to change the old wasteful ways, but even more so can be done if we act as a society. Get in touch with your local municipalities and ask questions on how you can help, what procedures to follow, and report any findings of uncollected rubbish piles. You can also follow local recycling initiatives like Alam Flora (did you know – they buy your used cooking oil!), and offer your support to non-profit green voices such as GreenPeaceMalaysia, ZeroWasteMalaysia, and PlanetGreen.My. Let’s keep our country clean – Selamat Hari Merdeka from Ben’s Independent Grocer!

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