12 Mar Separating waste at source to boost recycling rate
This article first appeared in New Straits Times, on March 12, 2023.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) is committed to ensuring that Malaysia is on track to achieve a national recycling rate (NRR) of 40 per cent by 2025.
This, said SWCorp, was based on the current NRR, which has shown a steady increase every year, with 31.52 per cent recorded in 2021, 30.67 per cent in 2020 and 28.06 per cent in 2019.
It said the solid waste separation at source (SAS) initiative introduced in 2015 has been effective in decreasing the amount of solid waste sent to landfills.
“The initiative by the (then) housing and local government ministry (now renamed the Local Government Development Ministry) through SWCorp aimed to reduce the amount of solid waste disposed of at landfills and increase the recycling rate.
“Through SAS, households will have to separate their recyclable waste and they have the option to either sell it to recycling vendors or place it next to their trash bins for collection according to the 2+1 schedule. Domestic waste will be collected twice a week and recyclable items once a week,” SWCorp told the New Sunday Times.
SAS was made mandatory on Sept 1, 2015 with the fine coming into effect on June 1, 2016.
Under the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007, also known as Act 672, households in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Pahang, Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Perlis and Kedah are required to separate their waste into recyclables and non-recyclables. SWCorp said the amount of recycled waste in the seven states stood at 4,385,386.39 metric tonnes last year compared with 4,267,043.80 metric tonnes in 2020.
Between 2016 and July this year, 18,813 enforcement operations had been conducted and 713 offence notification notices had been issued to individuals who failed to seperate their waste.
“Besides that, 387 cases had been granted compound permits, amounting to RM19,800, and the rest are under investigation,” said SWCorp.
Under Act 672, property owners face a RM50 fine for the first offence, RM100 for the second and RM500 for subsequent offences.
In the case of high-rise premises, the compounds are RM100 for the first offence, RM200 and RM500 for the second and third offences, respectively.
“SWCorp will be more aggressive in enhancing the enforcement of separation of solid waste at source through public awareness programmes and take action against those who fail to separate solid waste at home.”
SWCorp said there were 28 waste management facilities under its purview: sanitary landfills, non-sanitary landfills, incinerators and transfer stations.
It said the amount of waste disposed of at its facilities between January and July this year was 1,805,244.77 metric tonnes.
Discarded food made up 36 per cent of waste, followed by plastic at 23.9 per cent; disposable nappies at 11.3 per cent; paper at 8.8 per cent; garden/yard refuse at 3.6 per cent; textiles at 3.5 per cent; commingle at 2.6 per cent, metal at 2.4 per cent, glass at two per cent; tetrapak, rubber and leather at 1.3 per cent, wood at 1.2 per cent, other waste at one per cent, household hazardous waste at 0.7 per cent and face masks at 0.4 per cent.
To improve awareness and encourage the public to do their part, SWCorp said, it had implemented measures, including Trash-to-Cash, also known as the Recycling Bank Programme, aimed at raising awareness and increasing community participation in implementing SAS.
“This programme is also one of the alternatives available to the community to generate additional income.
“SWCorp has also actively conducted educational programmes for all ages, competitions based on recycled and used items to produce products and artwork that have commercial and aesthetic value and campaigns, such as fabric waste recycling programme, World Clean-up Day, Sukarelawan Hero Kebersihan, and National Recycling Day.”