News Release

There's More To Recycling Than Smashing Cans  

Sorting paper from cardboard and plastic from aluminum may sound dull and laborious, yet volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have found that serving with other Miri residents at the Recycling Center run by Tzu Chi is a fulfilling and joyful experience.  

The Tzu Chi Foundation, an NGO service organization, has found a way to turn recycled trash into good works for others. Three times each week volunteers gather at the Tzu Chi Recycling Center in Miri, East Malaysia to sort donated magazines, newspapers, books, used paper, cardboard and any other items that can be recycled. After being sorted, and made ready for recycling, the materials are bagged and sold to a merchant. The material is then made into new, usable products.

All those involved in the recycling project are volunteers eager to provide service to an organization that only provides service itself. Regular volunteers at the center include retired people, volunteers from churches, housewives, neighbors and members of the Tzu Chi organization. Shirley Yap, 73, lives in a home for the aged next door to the center. She enjoys serving at the center twice a week. Through an interpreter she told us "I like to come here every week. My life is better when I serve the earth and my friends".  Han, a devoted Tzu Chi member, shares her smile, song and positive attitude with all who come to the recycling center. Her heart is full of joy and "it just comes out on my face" she said.

Elder David Chin, one of eight volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expressed his appreciation for being involved at the center. He said, "it is great to have this opportunity where we can come every week to serve. It is hot to work here, but giving service is very 'cool".  

Dennis Yee, person in charge at the Recycling Center stated, "this is the only earth we have. If we don't do something, the earth will be unfit for people to live. This isn't garbage - it is recyclable materials". On a donated piece of land, the recycling center in Miri opened September 7, 2012. There is also a small thrift shop on the premises. He shared five ways to protect the environment; refuse to use, reduce, reuse, repair and recycle.

Tzu Chi's recycling efforts are aimed at protecting the earth. In the past, Tzu Chi volunteers collected recyclables in order to "turn trash into gold". Today, they are going a step further to educate the public to clean and pre-sort recyclables before sending them to the recycling centers. This serves as a gesture of respect and also serves to safeguard the health of recycling volunteers, besides enhancing the cleanliness of the recycling centers. 


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