By Avila Geraldine - January 23, 2019 @ 5:47pm

KOTA KINABALU: A local non-governmental organisation (NGO) is initiating the first glass recycling project in Sabah.
The project by Partners of Community Organisations in Sabah (PACOS) Trust, in collaboration with Hyatt Regency and Siung Films, is aimed to upcycle glass waste and turn it into items which can provide income for rural communities.
PACOS Trust executive director Anne Lasimbang said Sabah was facing problem with trash and it was about time the local communities engaged in a project to find solution on ways to manage waste, particularly glass, sustainably.
“If you go to the river, for example, one can find bottles or broken bottles by the river bank and this can be dangerous. We have been talking within the community on how we wish there is a recycling centre (for bottles).
“These bottles can be recycled into sand and reused. It can be turned into beads to make handicraft, among others. Sabah has a wealth of talented artisans, who will benefit from the development of this type of handicraft business,” she said launching Sabah’s First Glass Recycling Project at Hyatt Regency Hotel here today.
Present were state Tourism, Culture, and Environment assistant minister Assaffal P. Alian, Innovation and Education assistant minister Jenifer Lasimbang, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu general manager Thor Gervasi, and Siung Films executive director Jo Luping.
Anne said the project would be piloted in Penampang, adding PACOS Trust was working with Jo, who is a Sabahan and an artisan living in New Zealand, to bring her expertise to the project.
Jo said they were looking into bringing basic equipment for glass crushing and sorting machines from New Zealand, adding that a crusher cost RM15,000 and a sorter, RM100,000.
“Crushed glass can be used as glass sand for industrial purposes such as water filtration, road, and golf course. Through this project, we hope to reduce glass waste problem in Sabah, provide income and educational opportunities for the public.
“We have also formed a social enterprise called RIPPLE to manage the programme in collaboration with PACOS Trust,” she said, adding RIPPLE would also work with Siung Films to develop series of public service announcement focusing on environmental issues.
Meanwhile, Assafal commended the move taken by the NGO, and assured that the Ministry and the state government supported the initiative aimed at promoting cleaner environment as well as sustainable living and development.
“I recently went on a working trip to Japan and I was impressed to see on how they manage their waste, which I think Sabah can emulate. I’m happy to know Sabah people have started to take a positive step towards this.
“I hope this glass recycling project can be expanded to other areas in future,” he said, while urging NGOs to continue to play their part in assisting the government to bring better understanding to the communities on matters pertaining to the environment.
During the event, Gervasi, on behalf of Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, presented RM15,000 mock cheque to PACOS Trust, to help fund the project.

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