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N. Sivasothi,
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Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Wed 20 Jul 2005

The middleman recycler

Category : envt

"Veteran recycler." By Hilary Chiew. The Star, 19 Jul 2005. The neighbourhood waste middleman is a welcome sight, especially when our old newspaper piles up. But these icons of the recycling business also collect a lot of other unwanted but reusable stuff.

Malaysia - "Suratkhabar lama man A. Ponnusami is a veteran in this field, having been in the business for 34 years.

Over the years, the self-employed man has expanded the list of materials that he collects. Besides paper-based materials, he also collects an assortment of plastic and glass bottles, used car batteries, old metal utensils, tins, aluminium cans and electrical equipments, including computers.

He pays RM2 for 1kg of newspaper, RM5 for a used car battery and 5 sen each for an aluminium can and a glass bottle.

"You have to be very patient in this job, especially when the weather is hot. You also have to watch out for house occupants who are hesitant in calling out to you. You have to be watchful in order not to miss any opportunities," explained the father of three school-going kids.

Middlemen like Ponnusami are, in fact, more effective recycling promoters than advertisement campaigns because they have direct contact with the public.

Most households appear not to know what can and cannot be recycled. Ponnusami patiently informs them the items that he collects and encourages them not to throw these things away by telling them the monetary value."

Posted at 3:32AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news