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How to separate your household waste: A guide

If you’re confused about how and what you need to separate, here’s a handy guide

Written by
Syarifah Syazana

If you live in KL or Putrajaya, you should know by now that according to the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007, you’re required to separate your household waste or be possibly hit with a compound fine. If you’ve been separating your rubbish before, this just means that your recyclables will now be collected for you every week. For the rest of us new to waste separation, it may seem like a daunting task, but on the bright side, you’ll finally be recycling on a regular basis (and not only when you’re in a mall and you discard your plastic bottle in the bin marked ‘plastic’).

If you’re confused about how and what you need to separate, here’s a handy guide.

Which items to separate?
According to the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, you’ll need to separate your waste in the following categories:

1. Paper – discarded receipts, cardboard, paper, newspapers, magazines, drink cartons and anything made of paper that’s dry/uncontaminated. 

2. Plastic – bottles, plastic bags, and anything else made of plastic (this can include plastic toys and plastic and polystyrene food containers – rinsed first).

3. Miscellaneous – pack and separate according to these groups: 
a. Glass/ceramic wares (bottles, pots, etc.)
b. Aluminium/metal (such as cans, steel utensils, etc.)
c. Electronics (batteries, calculators, phones, wires, cables, lightbulbs and small electrical items).
d. Fabric/shoes/rubber/leather (T-shirts, handbags, sneakers, rubber gloves, etc.)
e. Hazardous waste (aerosol cans, insect poison/repellent, paint cans).
f. Bulk items (furniture, bed frame, large electrical items).
g. Garden waste (leaves, flowers, etc.)

4. Non-recyclables: residual waste such as food items and soiled/wet materials like used diapers and tissues. Only these will be sent to landfills.

I’ve separated my rubbish. Now what?
On collection day, items in categories one to three must be placed in a plastic bag or container (unless it's a large/bulky item) outside the rubbish bin, whereas residual waste must be packed in a plastic bag, tied and placed inside the rubbish bin.

When are the collection days?
Collection days vary according to area. Recyclable waste will be collected once a week; residual waste, twice a week. Call 1 800 88 7472 for collection days in your area.

How much will I be fined if I don't follow these rules?
For landed properties: RM50 (first offence), RM100 (second offence), RM500 (third offence). For apartments/condominiums: RM100 (first offence), RM200 (second offence), RM500 (third offence). Failure to pay the fine may result in a fine of up to RM1,000 if found guilty. 

What else do I need to know?
If you have further questions, visit  or call 1 800 88 7472. You can also get in touch with SWCorp Malaysia (the agency handling this project) on Facebook

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