By Cassandra Albanus, 6th July 2016
A team from Forever Sabah recently checked in with a local supermarket chain on its green waste composting efforts carried out since early 2016. Maria Lasimbang, Irene Mositol, Winnie Jimis and Cassandra Albanus sat with Chua Kah Seng (CKS) Supermarket’s Purchasing Manager, Grace Chua on a sunny Monday in Donggonggon to learn why this supermarket is taking the lead in composting.
Forever Sabah (FS): First of all, thank you so much for your ongoing support supplying green waste for our composting efforts. What made you do this?
Grace (G): You’re welcome! Rather than throwing our green waste away in our dumpster behind our store and letting it rot, we choose to do our part for the environment and pass it to you to be reused and turned into compost. We know the benefits of organic compost so we are more than happy to supply our green waste to you.
FS: How many outlets do you have? And are all outlets planning to supply their green waste too?
G: Currently we have 8 outlets – Donggongon, Plaza Millennium, Bundusan, Lok Kawi, Papar, Sepanggar, Telipok and Menggatal, and soon we’ll be opening more in Tuaran and Beaufort. Each store generates about 50-100kg of green waste per day, more during the weekend, so the answer is yes, all stores are onboard supplying them to you – you can even start today if you want!
FS: Do you have a team that segregates the green waste from all the other waste?
G: Yes. We have 8-10 people in charge of packaging and they are the ones who segregate the waste every day. Our staff makes sure all plastic wrappers are removed and they’re more than happy to do it.
FS: What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed since CKS in Donggongon started supplying green waste to us?
G: The stench! Our dumpsters are not as smelly and we have you to thank. We wish we had more rubbish and green waste bins around Donggongon but here’s our problem – our rubbish bins get stolen. There are people who throw their rubbish into the river and drains, and this causes an eyesore during the rainy season. All that rubbish reappears when the water level rises.
FS: That sounds like a nightmare. How do you think we can solve this problem?
G: Enforcement would play an important role. The authorities must make their rounds to ensure that the law is followed. Besides that, the community can be the eyes and ears. For example, if you catch someone littering or stealing rubbish bins, make a report and get the authorities to issue them a fine. A lot of us grew up here in Penampang and love Sabah so much. We want to see our land prosper and maintain its uniqueness, so it is sad to see some people not respecting it. The community has to take responsibility – we need to advice each other and share our knowledge so that everyone understands the effects we have on the environment. We know it will be a challenge to change people’s mindset but we must start somewhere before it’s too late.