Recycling in Ipoh: Beyond the Bin

Cover Story

By Tan Mei Kuan

The term “recycle” is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “to convert waste into reusable material”. Ipoh Echo zooms in on how non-governmental organisations and business entities here are going beyond the bin in getting the community and workforce to embrace the green culture. This is where every single one of us comes in to play our part. Besides sustaining Mother Nature, recycling now enables us to provide for the disadvantaged in the community and also fund local charities via opportunity shops. All the more reason for us to recycle!

Take Recycling to Next Level – at Home, at Work and in Your Community

Koperasi Alam Hijau Perak Berhad (KOHIJAU)

Koperasi Alam Hijau Perak Berhad (KOHIJAU) is a co-operative formed by the NGO, Ipoh City Watch (ICW) in April 2016 to provide a solution to waste management through its high technology KOHIJAU-ICYCLE recycling system.

The KOHIJAU-ICYCLE Recycling Reward Point System enables one to recycle for a sustainable environment and at the same time collect points to be exchanged for cash, shopping coupons or donated to welfare bodies. Since the launch in September 2016, over 1200 people have registered as KOHIJAU-ICYCLE members. To date, a total of 35 recycling bins have been launched at Ipoh, Bercham, Buntong, Tambun, Jelapang, Tualang Sekah, Taiping, Bagan Datuk, Tg. Malim, Slim River and Teluk Intan. More will be launched.

“First of all, we need to provide a recycling bin in every community where we promote 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) for the convenience of the people. Then, we organise awareness programmes to get the community involved by getting them registered as recycling members,” Associate Professor Dr Richard Ng, President of ICW cum Chairman of KOHIJAU explained to Ipoh Echo.

“Once they have registered, they will be given a set of barcodes and two biodegradable bags to start collecting their recyclables: papers, plastics, wrappers, bottles, aluminium cans, e-waste such as used batteries, fluorescent lamps, old handphones, etc. These recyclables are then placed either in a bag or box, attached with the barcode before it is dropped into the bin. Our lorry will do the pick up once or twice a week, take back the recyclables, scan the bar codes, weigh the recyclables and update into the system for the members to check via internet or smartphone,” he added. Only food and wet items are not accepted at the moment.

Their efforts caught the attention of the state government as cleanliness is one of agenda items in promoting Visit Perak Year 2017. The government then launched the Perak Clean campaign in March and KOHIJAU is one of the main NGOs brought in to help promote recycling in a more systematic way. KOHIJAU has participated in Menteri Besar’s meet-the-people sessions to educate the public in every district. Plus, you can catch KOHIJAU in most Ipoh Car Free Days held on the third Sunday of every month.

Launch of bin at Gunung Cheroh

“The total recyclables collection since September 2016 is 5068kg and collection for various plastics is 1936kg or 38%. This means we have managed to salvage 1936kg of plastics from going to the landfills or ocean. We have projected to register a total of 10,000 members by end of 2017 which will help contribute 50,000kg recyclables per month,” he highlighted.

According to Dr Richard, one of the many challenges KOHIJAU faces when promoting recycling is the lack of civic mindedness among society due to the lack of knowledge and concern about the environment. “They feel that the rightful place for garbage is anywhere outside their house, be it placed by the roadside, on the highway, drain, river or sea. They do not care about recycling as they treat every unwanted thing as garbage,” he lamented.

He expressed that the public must discard the fixed mentality that since they pay rates, cleanliness in the responsibility of the local government and not theirs.

“The main reason that keeps us going is that we as volunteers within our NGO are guided by our vision to make our city one the most liveable cities in Malaysia. We believe it is never too late to promote recycling and get the people to embrace such a culture. We are looking at the next 10 years or perhaps 50 years. We have to get things started and hopefully our next generation of society will pick up from where we left off until we achieve a recycling rate of above 40%. At the moment the average recycling rate is only 5%. Ninety five per cent of the garbage generated will end up at the landfills which are getting scarce. We always see and hear about too many illegal dumpsites (over 2000 in Perak) and we need to do something now to educate and engage the public,” he concluded.

In the KOHIJAU-ICYCLE system, earnings from the recyclables collected are shared among the contributors, residents, community and NGOs that participate in the system. Hence, any NGO, school or resident association which are keen to promote a green environment can register for the system to be implemented immediately. Interested community leaders can also invite KOHIJAU for an awareness talk presentation.

“We managed to sign an MOU with an NGO in Kerala to operate our recycling system there to serve a population of over 2 million people in Cochin. We are in the process of implementing our system in certain parts of China as well. Thus, we are proud that our system is now being accepted not only in Malaysia but bigger countries such as India and China,” Dr Richard enthused.

Register today at For more info, call 013 533 0989 or 012 525 6252.


The Salvation Army Kedai Jimat

(Family Thrift Store) Ipoh

The Salvation Army Kedai Jimat (Family Thrift Store) Ipoh has a vision to assist financially vulnerable and underprivileged members of our community by providing reasonably priced, quality, used clothing, furniture and other household goods. It is located at No. 26, Jalan Besar, 31400 Tambun, Ipoh.

“Clothes, household items, books, etc. in good condition are sold in our shop. Recyclable items like plastic bottles, newspapers, glass, etc. are sold to recyclers. The response from the public is quite good. We receive a lot of donated recycled items during the festive seasons like Chinese New Year and Christmas,” Lieutenant Carmen Ng, Ipoh Corps Officer who oversees the store, stated.

The store opens Mondays to Saturdays from 9am till 5.30pm. Readers can opt to contribute via their drop-off points at: Ipoh Children’s Home @ Jalan Raja Permaisuri Bainun (Jalan Kampar), Ipoh Boys Home @ Jalan Tambun, Perak Home for the Aged @ Jelapang, Ipoh Corps @ Jalan Taman Star. Collection service for large items is available. To learn more, call 05 548 3314.

Family Thrift Stores, in association with The Salvation Army Community Services, will supply clothing and household goods free to individuals and families referred by an authorised corps officer.

Meru Valley Resort

Recycling efforts in Meru Valley Resort began in the year 2010 in which recycling activities are conducted bimonthly for the residents and members of the resort. Excluding recycling of household waste, members and residents will gather their recyclable materials at the car park area behind the clubhouse just behind Café 28. Aurora Recycle Facility is assigned to collect the recyclables from the resort.

Employee education is integral to the resort’s initiatives. For instance, staff is educated on the proper usage of recycle bins, to print double-sided instead of one-sided for paper saving (mandatory) and encouraged to bring mugs or cups to the office instead of using disposable paper or plastic ones.

Recycle bins at Meru Valley Resort

The management is equally committed via continuous monitoring of the volume and types of recyclables that are being collected. Plus, all receptacles and bins are well-marked for guests and staff. The materials recycled include papers, cardboards, bottles and printer toner cartridges from the administrative side and cans, recyclable containers, glass and other waste materials from the food services area.

Members and residents have been giving their tremendous support as every week the recycling bins get filled up. Every month, about 400kg of recyclables are collected (paper box – 60%, used paper – 15%, old newspaper – 10% and others – 15%).

Meru Valley Resort is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and becoming one of the eco-friendliest resorts in the state. The resort’s upcoming recycling campaign will be held on Sunday, June 18.


Kechara Ipoh Study Group (KISG)

Recycling to protect the environment and the beings within, Kechara Ipoh Study Group (KISG) is an NGO established in 2011.

“Kechara members and volunteers will join in the sorting and distribution of the recyclable items from time to time. When we put an announcement in the newspaper, members of the public or people from the neighbourhood contribute to us. Many people like to donate their old clothes for the Orang Asli,” Wan Yee Mun, who has been volunteering at Kechara since 2011, told Ipoh Echo.

“Some people might want to donate their stuff, but unsure where to, so I act as a middle person to help channel it to the needy,” she shared.

The collection site is located in front of the Ipoh Garden Post Office every 4th Sunday of the month from 9.30am-11.30am. Readers can contribute metal/aluminium, plastics, newspaper/carton boxes, paper, electrical/electronic equipment and old clothes. For further details, call Yee Mun at 012 522 3200 or Kin Hoe at 016 532 8309. Also, do visit their Facebook page: Kechara Ipoh Study Group.

All proceeds from the sales of recyclable items are used to support KISG for their charitable activities.


Rumah Warga Tua Anning Berhad

“Started about 15 years ago, profits from Rumah Warga Tua Anning Berhad are contributed back to Anning Children’s and Old Folks’ Home and used to buy lunch for the vagrants daily. Customers will come here and buy secondhand goods. We rely on donations from the public in the form of pre-loved, saleable goods. To collect it, we have seven lorries going around in residential areas in whole of Ipoh daily to collect recyclables. Some prefer to drop off their items at Anning homes as our lorry will then collect from there,” Chon, the person in charge who has been working here for seven years, shared.

“We also employ those from poorer families no matter their age, as long as they are able, to work here,” he said. From mattress, bric-a-brac, plastics to newspapers, the customer favourites are clothes and furniture.

The 0.25-acre branch is located at no. 39-41, Laluan Perusahaan Kledang 1, Kawasan Perindustrian Chandan Raya, 31450 Ipoh. Closed on Mondays, it opens from 9am to 4pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays and 9am to 3pm on Sundays.

There is something for everyone; while you may be there trying on clothes, your Mum is surveying tableware, your sister is browsing soft toys, your father has disappeared into a corner to read a book while your brother is finding some CDs. Try this unpretentious retail experience today!



Whether it is shopping at opportunity shop, contributing for charity or raising awareness, take the first step by recycling the recyclables at home – you’ll be glad you did! After all, charity begins at home.

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