PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is recycling more trash, with about 4.4 million tonnes of waste being spared from landfills and converted into reusable materials last year.

“The country’s recycling rate has improved.

“From 30.67% in 2020, it has increased to 31.5% last year, or 4.385 million tonnes of waste being recycled,” the Housing and Local Government Ministry told Sunday Star.

The recycling rate is the percentage of materials that have been recycled from waste.

This includes recyclable materials like metal, paper, plastic, glass, and fabric and rubber products.

While this is good news for the environment, Malaysia still has some ways to go before reaching its target of a 40% recycling rate by 2025.

Our country had exceeded its recycling target in 2020, recording 30.67% against the 30% set for that year.

The ministry had said then that it aimed to increase the rate by 2% every year until it reaches 40%.

Data from the ministry also showed that plastic waste from 27 landfills nationwide has been declining over the past three years.

“In 2019, a total of 2,807.3 tonnes of plastic waste reached landfills every day.

“But this dropped to 2,379.9 tonnes a day in 2020, followed by 1,697.5 tonnes per day last year,” the ministry said.

The most common type of plastic waste generated in Malaysia is plastic film like wraps for food packaging.

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Rigid plastics like water bottles and soap containers are the second most common.

The third category is plastic foam or polystyrene, which is normally used in the manufacture of packing materials, food containers and disposable eating utensils, among others.

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Currently, there are 5,640 recycling facilities in six states: Perlis, Kedah, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor, and two federal territories, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, which have adopted the Solid Waste And Public Cleansing Management Act 2007.

The Act empowers the Federal Government to regulate the management of solid waste and public cleansing.

“Malaysia, through the National Cleanliness Policy, aims to increase the number of recycling facilities by 2% every year to reduce recyclable waste disposed directly at landfills,” the ministry said.

It added that efforts to boost the number of recycling facilities such as recycling factories and drop-off collection points will help Malaysia reach its goal.

It has been reported that Malaysians generate about 38,699 tonnes of solid waste every day – at least 1.17kg per person.

While Malaysia has many landfills, it is still a challenge to deal with the large amounts of trash generated daily.

According to the ministry, the life expectancy of a landfill is about 20 to 25 years, depending on the area it takes up.

But the amount of solid waste is expected to continue piling up as the population grows.

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