Author’s description: Back in elementary school, we had a recycling program where students were encouraged to bring old newspapers from home and stack them in one-meter towers. It was a fun way to educate us kids about recycling values.
Trash4Cash he has one hope: that one day there will be no more waste on Earth. But the reality is that recycling rates in Malaysia are still very low, and the director of Redza is aware of that.
So it’s trying to make recycling easier and more accessible through the Trash4Cash app and the Pinky Hub fleet. On request, large pink door-to-door trucks collect recycling products from households and businesses. Some of their significant clients even include Petron’s headquarters and MITI.
“We bring a weighing scale to make it fun, and our customers can try to guess its weight. At the same time, it builds trust between us and customers. As a bonus, customers earn real money as an attribute that helps us preserve the environment, ”Rexha said.
Customers are paid based on the weight of their materials that can be recycled at the current market price. Rexha told the Vulcan Post that the average earnings per house of RM18 is at least 50kg of recyclable material.
An ingrained way of life
Recyclable collection services are well-known concepts in the country. Who could forget the earworms that the mattress and old newspaper pick-up trucks played while driving around the neighborhoods?
There were also a lot of elderly citizens who rode bicycles around the city for aluminum cans and glass bottles. More than inspired by them, Redza actually adores and respects them as a waste collector himself.
Late he saw a significant decline in these services, becoming nostalgic for a time when recycling was second nature to Malaysians.
Raised by his father who is also a waste collector, recycling and environmental conservation were rooted in Reggie’s childhood.
Recalling, he said, “My siblings and I were raised or, you might say, brainwashed to be environmentally friendly even as children. My father is very strict about nature and the environment, but at the same time very calm and gentle. “
Redza grew up to be a supervisor at a waste management company. Part of his job was to track behind garbage trucks to ensure proper waste disposal. This should alleviate all complaints from residents if garbage is disposed of carelessly.
Once the waste was transported from the bins to the truck, he noticed that the workers would sort them looking for plastic bottles or cans, of which there were plenty. Workers would recycle them daily, earning themselves extra income.
“But not for long,” Rexha told the Vulcan Post. “Authorities have banned sorting at the source because it was time consuming.”
“I can’t blame them, because as a supervisor I admit that it slows down the operational work. While I love what the workers did, there’s not much I can do for now. “
It was a turning point that prompted him to run Trash4Cash. He wanted to find a way for waste to be easily collected for recycling and reused to produce new materials.
Monetization after giving money
Since Trash4Cash was launched in March 2018, Redza has reported that public awareness is fairly decent thanks to word of mouth.
“We collect from 5 to 20 houses a day, depending on the capacity of the truck, and that is for one truck for recycling. The average collection per week for one truck is about 60 houses, ”he said.
Customers are paid through the Trash4Cash app, where they have a clear insight into how much they have earned from the recycling service. They can also use the app to search for collections and check the prices of each item.
But managing a fleet of heavy vehicles is not cheap. Customers absorb 0 costs because Trash4Cash is a free service for them. Furthermore, customers are even paid for their recyclable materials – which means that all demanding costs fall only on the work.
Rexha also explained that each fleet (Pinky Hub) has 15 workers made up of waste collectors and administrative staff. If the cost of gasoline is added up, the average monthly expense for one Pinky Hub is RM60,000.
“We have started to overcome the costs by looking for producers who use recycled waste as a raw material for production,” he explained when asked about the financing of the company. “Let’s learn how to sort, package and adapt to their demand for raw materials.”
Therefore, in addition to collecting materials that can be recycled every other day, Trash4Cash is also a feeder for materials to industries that need recycling for their production.
Fleets are currently operating in the Klang, Kedah and Perlis valleys. The items collected are from plastic, old newspapers and clothing to construction waste and rubble, green (composting) and food waste.
“We try to turn as much waste as possible into something that has value and corresponds to our vision, Garbage is a treasure. We want to return every waste to its place in order to increase the life of recyclable materials “, concluded Redža with hope.
Bottom line: It is now more important than ever that households recycle their plastic waste properly due to the increase in plastic food packaging from our delivery orders. It may not reverse Malaysia’s waste problems overnight, but Trash4Cash and other environmental startups play an important role in raising awareness first.
- You can learn more about Trash4Cash here.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups we have covered here.
Credit for featured images: the team at Trash4Cash