iCycle: Waste Separation & Recycling Solution Provider

In this blog post, we are honoured to have Dr Tan Ching Seong, Co-Founder of iCycle, to share his experience and insights on operating iCycle. iCYCLE is committed to reduce waste to the landfills whereby a smart technology called Internet of Waste Thing (IoWT) is introduced. This circular economy will reduce the demand for primary raw materials, thus helps to reduce the carbon footprint as a whole

Dr Tan Ching Seong

iCycle is a company that sorts and also provides services for recycling. Could you tell me more about it?

There are 4 values that iCycle upholds:

1. Digitalising Waste.
We are digitalising all the waste that has been collected from the community such as the individuals, workers, cleaners, truck drivers, warehouse to process the waste. We provide a full picture of how the waste is collected from the source to the final end. Transparency is respected here.” He explained. 

2. Convenience
iCycle bins are easily found in the Klang valley area, shopping malls, airports and even in the airplanes in the near future. These wastes are constantly tracked from the source to the final process. 

3. Comprehensiveness
“You can only recycle valuable items, that’s where you could make money!” This has been a misconception on recycling. 

However in iCycle, Dr Tan emphasised that their aim is to cut down waste by educating and changing every individuals’ perception on reducing waste and recycling waste.

4. Rewards
“We provide reward as long as the waste is clean, dry and separated accordingly. Drop it to the available iCycle bin and you’ll be rewarded” 

Could you elaborate more on the value of comprehensiveness – how do you plan on changing people’s behaviour?

We try to be as easy and convenient as it is for everyone to be involved with iCycle. 

iCycle reiterated that all waste (regardless of plastic, paper or glass bottle) have to be in clean and dry condition. Pack it well and drop it in the bin. Then, you will be rewarded. 

We assure convenience to our customers. We aim to provide the greatest accessibility and convenience to people. Easy right?!

How did iCycle started? 

“It started by accident.” He recounted. “We never thought that it’d be commercialised, self-business model and even expanded to 4 countries. But having said that, we started iCycle to solve the landfill issue in my hometown, Pulau Pangkor. I wanted to cease the incinerator but unfortunately that small town was piled up with rubbish.” He continued.

We tried to ensure that each household separates their waste. Eventually, the government was convinced in cutting down the waste and the incinerator has been removed. Hopefully the vision of a zero waste country would be able to achieve. 
He said hopefully. 

Zero Waste Festival was held last weekend and the usage of going package-less was advocated. If everyone goes package-less, how would your business go about it? How are you going to sustain your business?

There’s been a general misconception that iCycle is a recycling company. Truth to be told, it is not a recycling company. We just assist and enable the recycling. 

We follow the concept of waste management – 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle)

The number 1 choice is to reduce not to recyle. In fact, recycle is the last choice. Unfortunately, due to the amount of waste that people have created, separating waste seems like the only practical thing to do. If these wastes are clean and disposed in the right channel, they could potentially become valuable resources. 

To be more precise, iCycle is a waste separation/management company. We want individuals to be involved. The more individuals involved, the greater the values.

What do you think about Malaysians going zero waste?

Humans have already existed since 30000 years ago on this earth. It was literally a ZERO WASTE until industrialisation era started. The so-called rubbish only existed and accumulated in our society about 2 centuries ago.

Humans today are sabotaging one another with all these toxic being dumped in our vicinity. 

So if you think zero waste is difficult, just look at human civilisation. Within these 4 years, we have already created an insurmountable task to handle these wastes which poses problem for sustainability. 

iCycle is about providing sustainable solutions, to sustain the sustainability.

How do you think that Malaysia is able to accept the movement of zero waste and recycling? Especially demographics of 40’s and above. 

According to my observation, every demographics have different perceptions on the environmental concerns.

Surprisingly, environmental issues are a concern for demographics of age 50 and above;  young kids and teenagers have better understanding in terms of waste management. The demographics of age 20-40 have the worst waste management knowledge and are quite ignorant to environmental issues. This happens not only in Malaysia but globally as well.

Zero waste could be achieved by introducing circular economy (CE). It can be achieved by cooperating 3 parties:

1. Nothing can be achieved without the support of government. They play major roles to implement these initiatives. Therefore, the government has to enforce the policy, taxation and offer incentives. 

2. Private sectors. We encourage them to create more eco-product and eco-services. One of the prominent policy that we should incorporate in business is the Extended Producer of Responsibility. Biji-biji is already on this line.

3. Individuals. People often think that waste and pollution are 2 different issues. They have not realised the impact that their actions have caused. They are ignorant of their impacts.

iCycle aims to bring everyone together to solve these issues. iCycle is an engagement module that goes directly to the society and brings everyone together in a community. 

As a reward system, how does it work?

Circular Economy, as we mentioned previously is a form of economy that is introduced to steer human behaviour. 

Truth be told, the rise of societal or humanity issues arise as a result of economical situation. Heaps of rubbish are created as a result. 

In fact, Dr Tan said that in order to change people’s behaviour, circular economy has to be incorporated in the economy. When there is right resource, economic value can be generated as well.

What is your opinion on Malaysia moving towards CE? How long will it take and what does it take for an individual to initiate CE?

During the year of 1972 to 1973, Malaysia is actually one of the countries in Asia that have established the department of environment. 

Alas, Malaysia has now become the number 1 rubbish importer and  toxic importer. Malaysia’s environmental initiatives are seriously flawed thanks to our government.  Malaysia could be potentially environmentally friendly if the conceptualisation of sustainable future is established. Sadly it doesn’t. Hence, it is important to have a strong enforcement and governance in order to rectify it. 

Where do you see iCycle in a few years’ time? 

We have been working closely with other parties such as government, private sector, NGO or Biji-Biji. We are also globally present in countries namely Thailand, Singapore and China. We do hope we could be more well-known to Asia countries in future. He ended his note hopefully. 
If you would like to know more about CE, do come join OSCE Days Festival happening on the 20-21st July! In fact, Dr Tan will be joining as well! We have 4 Bicara sessions, 20 workshops and diverse vendors! You wouldn’t want to miss!
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