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The Recycling Condo

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Text : Matthias Gelber

My last few articles have focused on areas where developers can go green and save money at the same time but this article has a slightly different focus. It is about making our condos greener, educating residents and giving cleaners more makan (pocket) money with a very simple system.

Together with my green friend Gregers Reiman, we implemented the system in the Seri Raja Chulan condominium in Changkat, Kuala Lumpur. This simple yet effective system consists of a few containers and a shelf. Providing the containers to separate the various recyclables is one thing, but residents need to be educated as well.

Your cleaners are probably greener than you are – sifting out recyclables and non-recyclables for a quick payout. So why don’t we play our part? Be green and put things where they should. The cleaners would be more than happy to recycle them for you. At the end of the day why not post a recycling report to show residents that their efforts have indeed paid-off.

The system has the following features:

  1. It costs less than RM10 per condo to have a recycling outlet on each floor.
  2. Empowers the cleaners to make more makan money – in this condo they keep all the money from the sales of the recyclable items.
  3. Triples the recycling rate within the condo.
  4. Makes owners and residents excited about being able to make a green contribution.

We always think these things are difficult to do, need to be done by the government or cost a lot of money. We proved the opposite with this system. It is part of the green initiative we push under the umbrella of volunteer movement Eco Warriors on Facebook.

The system is still working after two years in operation in Seri Raja Chulan Condo and the best part is we’ve seen normal people turn into ‘greenies’ from this. If we can all take a step to make it happen, we can create a lot of good. That is what I want to invite you to do. Please copy, please share, please inspire others – it is easier than you think.

Here are the details of the costing:

The Seri Raja Chulan condominium has one garbage room for each of the 23 floors. A typical floor has four apartments. The condominium has a total of 91 apartment units. Meaning that one unit only needs to pay RM7.41 to have a lasting recycling system in place.

This is how the bins are organized:

The results show the recycling rate in Seri Raja Chulan Condo more than doubled after implementation:

A sample of a recycling guideline at Seri Raja Chulan Condominium:

It can be simple and easy. If we all start doing it, we’ll be able to make a huge impact. Each month, 300 kg of material are being recycled in Seri Raja Chulan condominium. Just imagine if 100 condominiums in Kuala Lumpur implement this system, it will be equivalent to 3,000 kg per month, leading to 36,000 kg a year, or more if we have bigger condos to participate.

Make it happen, for the sake of your children. Only five other condominiums have implemented this system so far. We want to push for more.

Do you want to be a part of it? Please e-mail Matthias Gelber at matthiasgelber@gmail.com