E-Idaman Idaman Xchange is a new recycling centre in Alor Setar. This is a new recycling initiative for folks here. At this centre, you can exchange your rubbish for points. These points can be exchanged for ringgit from your Boost or TouchNGo e-wallets.
E-Idaman Idaman Xchange
This recycling centre recently opened in early February 2023, and operates from the parking lot adjacent to the Pasar Besar Peremba, or fondly known as Billion Market among many Alor Setarians. Idaman Xchange is the first drive-thru recycling centre (DTRC) in Alor Setar. It is run by E-Idaman Sdn Bhd and they have their FaceBook page here.
When you drive in the road leading to the market, it is difficult to miss the bright apple green container that houses the operations for Idaman XChange. Painted bright green, the container is installed with solar panels. The solar panels charge a battery that is housed in the container. This green power is used to run the air-conditioner for the staff. Due to this, the container is located in an area that is really hot on a sunny day, as there is no shade nearby. I was told that the solar panels need optimum sunlight.
I have always believed in recycling and have been sorting my rubbish for recycling for years. My main recyclables collectors would be the lorries or vans that drive by the house, with a loudspeaker blaring out “old newspaper, siu ku por chua, surat khabar lama“. These collectors only take papers and metal. They don’t take plastic because plastic takes up too much space in their vehicles.
|Do you know?
Malaysian census indicates that the population stands at 32.8 million in 2021. Malaysians generate 38,427 metric tonnes of solid waste daily, that’s approximately 1.17kg per person. 82.5% of the waste is disposed in landfills.
Source: Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA)
So, I would cut them into manageable pieces, bag them, and place them in the recycling cages around my residential area. However, those places are often vandalised, and many seem to use them as their rubbish bins for all kinds of unwanted stuff.
When I first saw the Idaman Xchange container at Pasar Peremba in February, I was naturally curious and quickly did a Google search. Then, I stopped to enquire and promptly returned the next day with a boot-load of papers, all sorted accordingly. Indeed, they pay as per stated on their signage.
Keeping track via the idamanXchange app
The first thing one needs to do to participate in this initiative is to download the idamanXchange app into your phone. Once downloaded, you have the option of connecting the app to your TnG e-wallet. The nice thing about the recycling program is it pays different rates for different types of recyclables.
For example, used cooking oil pays RM3/kg. If you put in the effort and sort your papers, you also get quite a good deal. The black and white paper is worth RM0.50/kg.
|Do you know?
It is estimated that the recycling industry is worth approximately RM500 million annually. Paper and plastic materials constitute about 25% of the waste sent to landfills, an estimated worth of about RM370 million if we recycle them.
I managed to get a friend of mine to clear her books, and I went to help her separate the cover of the books from the content. We then sent it to Idaman Xchange. We got paid RM0.15/kg for the covers because they will then go under the category of Mixed Papers and RM0.50/kg for the separated black and white content of the books. 40kg of these “trash” netted us RM20.00.
Different types of plastic fetch different prices too. I think it is a good push for folks to learn to identify the different types of plastic in use.
|Do you know?
Malaysia has set a target to recycle 40% recycling rate by 2025.
Source: Twelfth Malaysia Plan, 2021-2025
Putting different prices for different recyclables is a smart way to encourage people to sort their rubbish properly. This reminded me of a documentary about a Japanese community that recycles everything and anything that can be recycled. It is very admirable when a community is able to come together, clean and sort the recyclables before sending them for recycling.
It pays to recycle, in more ways than one
It’s been more than a month since this place started its operations. In its first week, the collection of recyclables were very little. When I stopped by a few days after the centre started operating, the staff there asked me to help spread the word about the Idaman XChange collection centre. I told him that it would just be a matter of time before Alor Setar folks start to flock there because I believe that once you offer a reward/return for effort to recycle, people will generally respond positively.
By the looks of things recently, Idaman Xchange at Pasar Peremba is doing quite well. There are now a few lorry loads of recyclables by mid afternoon. When it pays to recycle, people will recycle. A little encouragement goes a long way in getting people into the habit of recycling.
I think the recycling habit among Malaysians is still abysmal. But with such an initiative by Idaman Xchange, it will be a win-win for both the community and the company. Judging by the number of recyclables that are being sent there now, it looks like the pace is picking up. During my last two visits to the recycling centre, I noticed people sending their used oil there. I have also sent one 5kg bottle and got paid RM15 for it. Before this, we were always at a loss for where to dispose of our used oil.
I was told by the staff manning the Idaman XChange that if the initiative is well received by the local community, the company will expand it to more areas in Alor Setar. I hope they do that because right now the Idaman Xchange at Pasar Peremba is the only one in the city. We can do with more Idaman Xchange centres all over the city.
I’ve been there six times within the span of a month, and by the looks of things, we generate a lot of rubbish which otherwise will end up in the landfill. I have been recycling for years, and the effect is very telling when I compare my main rubbish bin with my neighbors’. While theirs would often be full or overflowing, I usually have a small amount of rubbish that hardly makes a dent in the rubbish bin. Therefore, I firmly believe that if everyone recycles, it will greatly reduce plastic, paper, and other recyclables, which is good for the environment.
With a growing population, and exploitation of mother nature for her resources, there is an urgent need to make sustainability a way of life. Wastes contribute to climate change. They affect the quality of life and contribute to the destruction of property too. Hence, recycling should be made a way of life for everyone.
Recycling is an effort, and it takes discipline. Sometimes I get tired of cleaning all the food plastic containers and wrappers, but I think it is necessary. I have different bags and containers for the different types of recyclables. For those who do not have the luxury of space, this becomes quite a challenge. That’s why I think vending machines that take recyclable plastics should be a feature in apartments and condominiums, high density living spaces where people order takeaways. Food and other packaging materials make up a bulk of the rubbish.
If you are living in Alor Setar, do head over to Idaman Xchange with your recyclables. Do your bit for the environment.