By Ng Su Ann
More people are resorting to collecting and selling recyclable items to earn extra income.
What most consider as junk has become a money spinner for others.
At a recycling centre in Lorong Mahsuri 1, Bayan Baru in Penang, The Star spotted a broken rice cooker, spoilt computer monitor, jigsaw puzzle with some missing pieces, old bicycle, plastic basket and broken plastic pail among the piles of recyclable items.
Its operator V. Maliga, 47, said this was a good way of turning trash into cash while helping to save the environment.
“Since the prices of food and fuel have gone up, we have a 10% increase in the number of customers,” she said.
She said the centre paid 27sen per kg for old newspapers, RM1 per kg for iron, RM5 per kg for aluminium cans and 70sen per kg for plastic.
“We accept almost everything except wood, clothes and mirrors,” she said, adding that the centre had been operating for nearly 30 years.
Coffeeshop operator Teoh Guan Cheok, who was among Maliga’s customers, said desperate times called for desperate measures.
“Hang cheng pai (hard times, in Hokkien). I collect a lot of milk tins and drink cans from selling drinks at the coffeeshop.
“I can make about RM50 from selling the items and old newspapers monthly,” he added.
Hussein Hanafi, 78, and Aminah Kasa, 58, were spotted collecting recyclable stuff from garbage dumps in their respective neighbourhoods.
Hussein, who lives in Sungai Nibong Kecil, said he would cycle around looking for scrap metal and tin cans, adding that he could earn RM3 a day.
Aminah from Sungai Ara said although she was unemployed, she would not beg for money.
“What I’m doing now brings food to the table. On a good day, can collect up to RM7 worth of recyclables,” she added.
Retired mechanic Lim Kee Choong, who now cleans offices for a living, said: “When I clear the rubbish, I often collect shredded paper and empty biscuit tins to sell.
“I can get RM30 to RM40 per week. This will be used to pump petrol for my car,” said the 64-year-old who drives a Perodua Viva.
A motorcycle spare part dealer who only wanted to be known as Koay said his business had suffered since the petrol price increase.
“Nowadays, even bikers who were involved in accidents refused to repair their bikes as long as their vehicles could still move.
“That is how bad our economic situation has become,” he said, adding that he had resorted to selling recyclable items to earn some extra income.Source: The Star