By Lam Yat Yee
Presently, sustainability is a word we often hear from major world organisations, brands and among academic discussions. Be that as it may, the frequent usage and application of this word and concept is obviously not just by happenstance. Often, words such as ‘zero-waste’, ‘ecological balance’, and ‘preservation’ accompany them.
But these aren’t just repetitive words. Their frequency sends a message.
Crucial as it is to modern living, the element of sustainability is often found to be missing in countless communities in Malaysia.
But in the small town of Kampar, Perak, resides a retired Geography teacher on a mission to change this fact through awareness and action.
Leong Yet Pin is a 58-year-old from Kampar, Perak.
In December 2022, she started KampaRefill.
“Sustainability and the environment are the main themes in the Geography curriculum, which I had taught for many years. So, the idea of promoting sustainability and preserving the environment is deep-rooted in me.”
After retiring, Leong hoped to be able to connect with the community and promote awareness of issues regarding sustainability and the environment. Hence, the idea of KampaRefill was brought to life.
Situated in Kampar, KampaRefill is a refill station whose foremost purpose is to provide household detergent refill services for the community. The simple, yet impactful, one-stop refill station serves as an example to raise public awareness on the importance of sustainability in everyday life, while reducing plastic waste.
Thus far, Leong has reduced plastic waste in Kampar by preventing approximately 300 pieces of 1-litre bottles from going to landfills.
KampaRefill measures their progress based on the number of containers saved since the beginning of the operation.
“It (progress) has been slow so far, but it is definitely gaining more momentum thanks to the media exposure.”
Leong stated that business sustainability yet remains their greatest obstacle, expressing;
“We need the volume for business sustainability in a small town that is populated mainly by either university students or the elderly.”
Leong also occasionally joins pop-up events at UTAR and local artisan markets in order to boost the exposure of KampaRefill to the public.
Her ongoing collaboration with KitaRefill also helps as she is reselling their products, which are established in the Klang Valley, and they help promote her business on their social media platforms as well.
Even the Majlis Daerah Kampar (District Council of Kampar) has helped them promote their business to reach more people.
At the moment, Leong hopes to be able to work closely with the local communities and town council by organising environmental-themed events.
Talk about an exemplary effort to form sustainable partnerships!
And if you do not reside in Kampar or if detergents do not interest you, we still have good news! KampaRefill also sells handmade soaps, shampoo bars, and conditioner bars online to sustain their business.
As shops with such concepts still remain new to smaller communities in parts of Malaysia, Leong acknowledges that they are still fine-tuning their operations and exploring the vast range of possibilities awaiting KampaRefill.
“So far, we have been working hard to provide quality detergent with affordable prices to attract consumers to consider refilling their bottles instead of purchasing new ones, as well as through writings about sustainability on social media with the knowledge I garnered through my readings.”
As tomorrow nears, may this effort be the bellwether to countless efforts of like!
Should you find yourself interested in KampaRefill’s cause or have any questions, feel free to reach out to 012 – 531 7187 or visit them in person at Gerai K1, Jalan Baru, Kampar, Malaysia on Fridays or Saturdays between 9 AM to 2PM.