Trash Segregation Implemented on 1st June 2016
The trash segregation ruling was implemented on 1st June 2016, but how many people actually knows about it? There was much confusion over it because of insufficient information from the government. For example, did you know that the ruling is only implemented in 7 regions, namely Johor, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perlis, Kedah, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya? That, and some regions even enjoy different benefits.
The How and Why of ‘Why Waste Separation Came About’
In the first place, it should first be understood why this move was implemented. It was not just some fancy move that the government decided to take to follow their international counterparts, nor was it a rash decision made in the space of a few short weeks. It was instead a decision made based on much more serious problems.
The issue of trash segregation and recycling of rubbish was first brought up when the government realised that the amount of trash year-on-year is increasing, and that there will soon be not enough landfills to fit all the rubbish. In fact, as of the year 2016, the available landfills were already reaching their maximum capacity.
The government’s options were limited - increase the number of landfills which would only be a temporary fix and would further pollute the environment, or take the more painful but infinitely more practical long term approach - recycling rubbish.
The first move that the government implemented was ‘no plastic bags’ on weekends when buyers went shopping for groceries, but this move did not solve anything as plastic bags can still be purchased during weekends while shopping for a mere RM0.20 when cashing out. Although recyclable bags did become a fad for a short while, it still did not reduce the usage of plastic significantly. Hence more heavy measures were taken - and into play came the waste separation move.
The Details Down & Dirty
The trash segregation exercise was originally supposed to begin in September 2015, but was only made official on 1st June 2016. In lieu of the exercise, the government tried to inform the public as best as they could, but unfortunately the news did not have as wide a reach as they wished. So this article here will clear up some of those long lingering doubts.
1. Use of coloured plastic bags
One of the biggest confusions in the trash separation exercise is whether different coloured plastic bags need to be used. The answer is: No. It is not necessary to separate your trash by different coloured plastic bags. But if you wish to separate them by plastic bag colour, then they should be separated as such:
- Plastic recyclables: Blue plastic bag
- Paper recyclables: White plastic bag
- Other recyclables: Green plastic bag
- Kitchen waste: Black plastic bag
2. The second biggest question that was asked by the public, was into what categories should the trash be separated into? Well, first things first. The rubbish should be separated in the house itself, in 4 different bins. They should be separated into:
- Food waste (decomposable)
- Others (rubber, aluminium, metal, etc)
3. Where? This brings us to separating the rubbish outside the house. While it may be more convenient for most people to separate the trash in different bins within the house itself, it is definitely not necessary to separate them in different bins outside the house. The bag of decomposable food waste should go into the rubbish bin to avoid scavenging animals from getting at them and messing the place up, and the rest of the bagged recyclable waste is supposed to be placed outside and beside the bin.
After the rubbish is collected, they will be separated into the different piles at the dump site itself. What the workers will do is to open the plastic bags, check what is inside and put them into their respective pile. Separating them by plastic bag colours will definitely make their job easier, but again, it is not necessary.
This is basically the entire process of the trash separation program. But here comes the little something that most people do not know.
1. Residents of Perlis will enjoy special privileges. If their citizens follow the waste separation regime carefully, their government will actually pay them for their recyclable waste based on market price. They will not be paid in cash, but the money will instead be credited into an E-Idaman My Kasih card which can be used to purchase goods in several hypermarkets. The citizens will however have an alternate choice, of donating the money to the less fortunate such as orphanages.
2. Amongst the strictest states to have implement this law is Johor. Instead of implementing the waste separation exercise on 1st June 2016, they launched it in September 2015; and as of June 2016, they had issued 44,000 warnings to offenders.
The penalties for not participating in this new regime differs for landed properties and high rises. For landed properties, offenders will be charged RM50 for their first offence, RM100 for the second offence and RM500 for the third offence. Every time thereafter, the fine will be RM1,000.
For high rises, the penalties are higher. For the first offence, the high rise management will be charged RM100, the second offence at RM200 and the third at RM500. The maximum penalty to be charged thereafter also stands at RM1,000.
The Public Census
There are of course many complains about this new regime, with not the least being that the majority of the citizens were unaware. There are also some who complain that the entire regime is a self-defeating exercise, as plastic bags are still being used to pack up and dispose of rubbish.
Nevertheless, after the many hiccups and complaints, a large majority of the public have voiced their agreement to this move. They advocate the government’s effort to save the environment, and it is foreseen that while only 7 regions are involved in this exercise now, the move will soon expand to include the entire Malaysia.
So for those who live in states that are not involved in the exercise yet but wish to start doing their part in saving Earth, can begin separating their trash now. Here is to a greener Earth!