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Malaysia converts plastic bottles and cans into gold

Asia – Only 15% of Malaysian people recycle, according to the country’s Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan. Gold may be finally able to change this. At least, that is what reverse vending machine manufacturer KLEAN is hoping to prove by creating one-of-a-kind take-back machines that reward consumers not with vouchers or a small cash prize ‘€“ but with highly valued gold bullion.

KLEAN has partned-up with HelloGold to install special reverse vending machines in hotspots across Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. The machines accept both plastic bottles and aluminium cans and are believed to significantly boost Malaysia’s 17.5% recycling rate.

People can convert digital credits they’ve accumulated via the KLEAN KLEAN digital wallet and HelloGold app into ‘investment-grade gold’. The precious metal is stored in a vault in Singapore, and can be redeemed as physical bars, coins or cash.

‘Unlike cash, physical gold is a desirable form of savings in emerging markets such as Southeast Asia. By making access to gold easy and affordable, we believe that customers will be incentivised to recycle,’ comments, HelloGold ceo Robin Lee.

He adds that the first couple of ‘gold vending machines’ have already been installed in Klang Valley, Kuala Lumpur. This will be expanded with 40 by July, and another 500 nation-wide before the end of the year.

Ultimately, the collected bottles are cans are recycled into polyethelene pellets or smelted back into aluminum for the production of new products.

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