Old bungalow a 'factory' for repurposed waste products
Published on: Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Text Size:

Kuala Lumpur: Upon entering Taman Rainbow neighbourhood, one cannot help but feel awed by the luxurious bungalows flanked on either side of the road. However, the eyes will definitely rest a little longer on a bungalow located just at the end of Jalan Sungkai, Off Jalan Ipoh.

Some will find it hard to take their eyes off the house, some may stop their cars for a better look at the three-storey building.

Its architecture and design may not be extraordinary, but the aged bungalow measures 9,000 square feet.

So what is it that attracts people to this house? An unkempt looking house that shelters old items behind its stone walls and steel gate. Some wonder why the owner has not been reproached about the condition.

As bizarre as it may sound, this bungalow actually plays a big role in environmental sustainability.

"People think the house is full of scrap metal. They are not wrong because that is the first thing they will see once they enter the premises.

"Not only metal but all kinds of discarded items such as bottles, steel and wood can be found here. However, we are not a dump, but we turn these scraps into something that has value," said Azam Hisham.

It's true what they say, don't judge a book by its cover.

Despite the negative perception people have towards the bungalow, it has actually helped transform the minds and make waste reduction part of Malaysian culture.

This has begun in Taman Rainbow where they practice 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle).

Azam, along with friends Rashvin Pal Singh, Zoe Victoria and Gurpreet Singh Dhillon set up a social enterprise in November 2012 called the Biji-Biji Initiative to champion the cause of sustainable living.

They've been taught not to easily dispose of damaged or faulty items unless it is turned into something of value through creativity.

Biji-Biji tries to run from the conservative recycling concept by producing exciting new items out of disposed items to inspire others to do the same.

"Some people have no idea what to do with used goods, while some have ideas but don't have the equipment. They are most welcome here.

"The Biji-Biji team is full of ideas and skills on how to turn trash into a high-value product," said Azam who is one of the founders of Biji-Biji.

Furnished with equipment like those in a factory, the bungalow known as the prototype development centre, has machines such as saw, sewing machines, wood machinery and more.

With these equipment, waste is transformed. For example, an old belt can be used as part of a sling bag, laptop or chair.

Meanwhile, a vertical garden concept can be applied to those who love to do gardening but lack space because they live in apartments.

Bottles, shoes or vases are usually used in this concept, but Biji-Biji has decided to use banners instead. It is then shaped into a multi-functional bag with pocket that will hold the plants as a wall deco in the home.

Bottles can be strung from the ceiling to make unique lighting.

Biji-Biji also teaches the concept of saving energy through the sensor method, whereby the lights will only switch on if movement is detected.

So many other products have emerged from their initiative. During her tour of the bungalow, the writer was impressed by the spirit and imagination of these youngsters in reusing recyclable items.

For example, oil drums and wood are transformed into furniture and tyres are changed into tables or used for rainwater harvesting.

Almost 90 per cent of the house is made up of items which repurposed. They even came up with an automatic watering system to water plants that is activated by mobile phone.

Even more interesting is their bicycle-powered blender which was invented using the Personal Scale Power Generation concept. According to Azam, old bicycles are used as a medium to generate power.

The blender runs on the power generated by pedalling the bike and is an alternative to saving electricity.

Besides that it also reduces carbon dioxide emissions, Azam said proudly.

Biji-Biji's efforts in reusing waste through green technology, creativity and effective waste management has been fruitful and even garnered several awards including the Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin Entrepreneurship Award (SME Innovation Challenge 2014).

With 12 workers on their payroll, Azam said creative ideas do not solely come from them and they have various sources to generate ideas, including what they call open sources.

"We also have volunteers from Malaysia and even countries like France. They live here in dorms provided and churn out unique ideas with us. – Bernama

"If anyone wants to copy our ideas it's not a loss to us, because our goal is to reduce waste and collaboration is important. This is not a competition," said Azam.

Their products used to be sold online only at www.biji-biji.com and selected shops, but efforts are being taken to expand the market.

In efforts to increase their production capacity, Azam encourages single mothers, the disabled and the unemployed who are skilled in sewing to come and work with them.

"This is our way to help people out there. Those interested can send in their application to share@biji-biji.com," said Azam. – Bernama


Other News

Follow Us  

Follow us on            

National Top Stories