RCE Greater Gombak - 2023

Edu-Action for Zero Waste Community: Turning Trash to Treasure
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Edu-Action for Zero Waste Community: Turning Trash to Treasure
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Gombak
Contributing organization(s) : 
-SW Corp Malaysia
-Alam Flora Sdn Bhd
-Daya Bersih Sdn Bhd
-Sally Global Enterprise
-Malaysian Nature Society
-Lions Club Indera Mahkota
-National Unity and Integration Office (Pejabat Perpaduan Negara dan Integrasi Nasional), Daerah Kuantan
-Royal Malaysian Navy (Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia)
-Pejabat RELA Kuantan
-McDonald’s Kuantan
-Mat Rock Restaurant
-Aqqad Enterprise
-KOMITED Malaysia
-Life Line Clothing Malaysia Sdn Bhd
-Auxiliary Police, International Islamic University Malaysia
-Medical Students Society (MEDSS), International Islamic University Malaysia
-Biotechnology students
-Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Polytechnic (POLISAS)
-Avantcom International Sdn. Bhd
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Asst. Prof. Dr. Noor Artika Hassan
Organizational Affiliation: 
International Islamic University Malaysia
Prof. Zainal Abdin Sanusi
Organizational Affiliation: 
International Islamic University Malaysia
Format of project: 
Community Transformation, Community Awareness & Engagement, Capacity Building, Experiential
Language of project: 
Malay and English
Date of submission:
Monday, September 4, 2023
Malaysia’s Environmental Quality Act 1974
At what level is the policy operating?: 
National Strategic Plan for Solid Waste Management
At what level is the policy operating?: 
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Basel Convention for Hazardous Waste Management
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Kuantan, Pahang
Address of focal point institution for project: 
International Islamic University Malaysia
Jalan Gombak, 53100, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Pahang is the third largest state in Malaysia with a permanent forest reserve area of 1.59 million hectares and a forested area covering 57% of the state area up to 2.04 million hectares. The project is focused in its capital, Kuantan, which is the ninth-largest city in Malaysia with rapid development as a social, economic, commercial, and tourism hub for the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia due to its strategic location. Its population of approximately 548,014 residents (as of 2020) consist of residents of all economic levels i.e. high-, middle-, and low-income groups.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Malaysia faces distressing waste management problems as more than 30,000 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) are disposed daily, which is equal to 1.17kg of waste daily per capita. The National Solid Waste Management Department reported that landfills are filled with bulks of paper of RM205 million worth for recycling and plastic materials valued at RM163 million. The area of Kuantan, Pahang is no exception from the sustainable development challenges related to waste management given the limited landfills and low recycling rate as it has yet to be a norm among Malaysians generally.
January, 2022
Waste mismanagement is a concerning issue globally as it endangers and deteriorates the environment through pollution, carbon and methane emission, and its high resource cost. It is important for communities to not only work on projects aimed at sustainable development goals, but also to set the habits onto themselves and on other communities so that the projects themselves would be sustainable. Through projects such as Trash to Treasure, we aim at addressing this issue of climate change by promoting sustainable urban development through effective waste management that not only reduces the amount of waste in landfills, but also improves public spaces and generates opportunities for the low-income communities to meet societal needs.

Societally, proper waste management minimises health risks, enhances aesthetics, and ensures a healthier living environment. Environmentally, it reduces pollution, conserves resources through reducing, reusing, recycling, repairing, upcycling and mitigates climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Economically, efficient waste management reduces disposal costs and burdens in landfills, while recycling and upcycling initiatives stimulate industries, job creation, and income to the public, thus supporting local economies. Overall, a well-structured waste management approach nurtures sustainability awareness, contributes to a healthier planet, and yields economic advantages for all stakeholders.
The project reflects substantial reduction of waste generation to achieve SDG 3, Good Health and Wellbeing, SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production. The project comprises monthly recycling programmes, donation drives for used items, and collection of used cooking oil to be transformed into bar and liquid soaps. These components are strengthened with capacity building and knowledge-transfer workshops on waste management such as food composting and upcycling. For students at the International Islamic University Malaysia, waste management is prominently discussed in two courses, i.e., Integrated Waste Management and Environmental Health.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The project actively promotes environmental sustainability through robust waste management programmes, fostering genuine multi-stakeholder collaborations. The project encompasses three key elements: monthly recycling initiatives, pre-loved item donation drives, used oil-to-soap conversion. Additionally, food waste is composted into fertiliser, contributing significantly to waste reduction.

During a recycle day event at our RCEG2 Real-world Lab for Sustainable Health in August 2023, the team efficiently gathered 80,000 kg of recyclables within a few days.

Our Freecycle Kuantan programme garnered over 31,072 members. The platform facilitates reducing and reusing opportunities of otherwise wasted product by enabling residents to donate or receive items for free. On average, 10-15 items are exchanged daily, benefiting the Kuantan community.

These efforts are further fortified through knowledge-sharing workshops from the staff to students, and communities, including in the rural areas. These workshops focus on waste management techniques like food composting and converting used cooking oil into dishwashing soap.
Size of academic audience: 
31,072 members (Freecycle Kuantan)
Our long-term programme, Freecycle Kuantan has over 30,000 members, with over 4,000 donors donating 32,214 items throughout the past 4 years. Yields from this programme and others were used to improve the lives of the community, by upgrading public facilities such as worn-out seats, producing products such as soap from used cooking oil, as well as providing books to schools, prisons, and other institutions. During our recycle day programme at our Real-world Lab for Sustainable Health in August 2023, we collected over 80,000 kg of recyclables within that time, with over 2,000 kg of cooking oil which were turned into soap. Additionally, our monthly recycling programme accumulates up to 18,000 kg of recyclables every year. The programmes are done alongside knowledge-transferring to help communities sustain their own sustainable lifestyle.
Lessons learned: 
The team's strength lies in its diverse composition, with members from all faculties in the campus. They also excel in maintaining organised records for every programme to provide updates to the university every three months. Collaborative interactions with students, NGOs, and government, and private agencies reinforce our collective effectiveness. Due to all these concerted efforts, the team secured the Environmental Sustainability Award in 2022, the Silver Award during the Innovation Competition in the same year, the International Green Gown Award (IGGA) under the Benefitting Society category in 2023, and a Special Mention Award from IGGA in 2023.
Key messages: 
We're spearheading an award-winning community project in Kuantan, Malaysia, with over 30,000 members. Annually, we recycle up to 18,000 kg of waste, craft products for community income, enhance facilities, and distribute goods to those in need. This project is a true showcase of small E acts for big SD change.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
As the RCEG2 Real-world Lab for Sustainable Health, the project relates to RCE activities and partners in the design and execution for long-term orientation, the inclusion of education and learning in the mentioned courses, and applications that boost the socioeconomic status of the residents in Kuantan who are involved in the programme.
The committee was established in 2018 with zero cost. All our programmes were conducted in collaboration with government agencies such as Malaysian Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWCorp), National Unity and Integration Department (Kuantan district), Malaysian Royal Navy, Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Polytechnic, non-governmental organisations such as the Malaysian Nature Society, Lions Club Indera Mahkota, KOMITED Malaysia, and private agencies such as Alam Flora Sdn Bhd, RELA, Sally Global Enterprise, and other vendors. In 2022, we started to receive formal funding from the International Islamic University Malaysia which facilitated the conduct of more programmes involving local communities. In 2023, our programme received food and goodies sponsorship from McDonald’s Kuantan, Nestle, Mat Rock Restaurant, Aqqad Enterprise, and Avantcom International Sdn. Bhd.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon IIUM recycle day 2022 - NOOR ARTIKA BINTI HASSAN.JPEG (1.07 MB) IIUM recycle day 2022 NOOR ARTIKA BINTI HASSAN
Image icon Malaysian Gazzete.jpeg (106.23 KB) News Coverage 1 Malaysian Gazette
Image icon Kosmo.jpeg (172.93 KB) News paper Coverage Kosmo
Image icon Sinchew east.jpeg (208.34 KB) Chinese News Paper Coverage Sinchew east
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Curriculum Development 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: