I recycle. About every 3 months I take a car load of rubbish to the recycling depot and walk away with about RM10 – RM16 for my effort. It’s not about the money though, it’s about the environment.
The majority of my rubbish consists of plastic, specifically plastic bottles.
The tap water here isn’t exactly drinkable (although I believe if your constitution is robust you can get away with it), so I buy bottled water instead of boiling my own. It’s a toss up, but I reckon recyclable plastic is better than using loads of electricity.
My Personal Impact of Drinking Bottled Water
I buy a box of 12 1.5 litre bottles of reverse-osmosis water every week or so. It recently increased to RM10 per box, so it costs me 56c a litre (RM 10 / (12 x 1.5) = RM0.56). The waste from this is 12 large plastic bottles and a cardboard box.
Even if I crush the plastic bottles, over the span of 3 months it accumulates into quite a pile. I’ve recently noticed the increase of water vending machines here in KK though. Water Shop, it’s called.
You pay something like 20c and buy yourself a litre of reverse osmosis water, which you collect and take home in your own container. This, of course, appealed to me as the water is cheaper and with my own container I could reduce my bottled-water related waste to zero.
Until recently though, they’ve all been pretty far away from my house and petrol is way more expensive than plastic or water.
Buying Water from a Vending Machine?
Then environmental activism happened to me. First a Water Shop appeared outside a small shopping plaza near my house, and I serendipitously bumped into 16-litre containers at Giant, perfect for taking your very own reverse osmosis water home in.
So I bought the container for RM65, stopped at the Water Shop on the way home (which btw is “open” 24 hours a day) and filled it up for RM3.70, which at 20c per litre means the container can actually hold close to 19 litres of water. Suits me.
Result? Water Shop chalks up one for the environment, as they contribute to me removing a substantial amount of consumer generated rubbish from the cycle. Piles of empty plastic bottles and kilograms of cardboard box. I know, before I recycled the rubbish, so the impact is probably not that great, but recycling also wastes energy and who knows what it gets recycled into.
But it also reduces the demand for plastic bottles and cardboards boxes ever so slightly. Times that by a few hundred people and the impact could be significant. I like to think I make a small contribution.
And the RM65 container will pay for itself in just over two months. I save 36c per litre of water, so after 180 litres, or 10 refills, or 10 weeks, I will start saving money on water.