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Olympus XD card in unsustainable packaging

Well, the recent "Hopenhagen" summit turned out to be a dismal failure and an prime example of short-term political and business interests winning it out over good sense.

One of the main problems we face as a human species, is the unsustainable consumerism that pervades the 'development' and 'free market' (as long as it isn't the big banks) discourses that dominate the blinkered minds of the ruling elites.

And here is a little example of how wasteful some practices are:
olympus XD card unsustainable packaging

note the size, think of the plastic needed, the space for transporting thousands of these, etc. It is large so that the consumer feels they're getting something for their money, which is...
olympus XD card unsustainable packaging

A tiny Olympus 2gig XD card!


Recycling Centres in Petaling Jaya

**Update 22 January 2012**

Well I just googled for a place to recycle glass in Kelana Jaya, and this post turns up first unfortunately. I say unfortunately, because I couldn't find out much then, and it just goes to show how little has changed in the last 2 years+.

Anyway - there is an updated list from Alam Flora, but it is pretty meagre.

Also, Nokia centres will take your batteries.

Good luck out there


One thing that frustrates me is finding places to drop of material for recycling. Getting rid of paper is easy enough - we just wait for the sounds of 'paper lama' to echo through the neighbourhood, and try to catch the truck - we don't ask for money as it is not a lot and - frankly - I think they're doing a public service.

Metal and plastic bottles ('hard plastic') is more haphazard, but still possible - what we do is to leave it on the corner or in front of the house in a fairly obvious manner, and within a couple of days someone has picked it up. Usually it's a guy cycling around, collecting scrap wherever he can. It will get recycled, but I wonder under what conditions - sometimes the manner of recycling is extremely un-eco-friendly too (see here for example) :-( Also, this isn't an option if you live in a condo or certain areas.

But getting rid of glass is a hassle, and for Tetra Paks and similar packaging it is even more difficult.

I did a quick search and came up with these two useful documents produced by the Global Environment Centre: 'recycling collection centres in the klang valley', and 'The Art of Recycling'. They both have addresses and information about recycling collection centres.

But still, the problem is that they may be out of date, and also one still has to work out where the places are.

So - here's a solution: The Google Maps 'Recycling Centres in Klang Valley' map!

View Larger Map

I've made the map public, so anyone can add and edit it (I think you need a Google login though), and I propose that for each entry the following information is provided:
• Status: i.e. confirmed or not, active or inactive
• What is collected: i.e. paper, glass, batteries...
• Time: i.e. opening times
• Address: duh
• Source: i.e. where does the information come from

You can check the map out here, and start adding your local collection points! If people add to it, and link to it from their blogs with some relevant keywords (recycling centre, recycling collection point, kelana jaya, kuala lumpur, damansara, etc...), it could start turning up in Google search.

**Edit 06/03/09**: Anyone can edit the map - click on the above link, sign into Google, click on 'Edit' and you're there!

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Vermicomposters unite!

Someone saw my film of setting up a vermicomposting bin, and sent me a link to - it's a Google Map-type thing, with entries for vermicomposters all around the world. Our entry (one of three in Malaysia) is here.

Wherever you are, check it out - some of them offer worms for free, and can help you out.

Yesterday, there was a community event in our neighbourhood, and WW volunteered us to have a small stand to give some information about composting and vermicomposting. So, along with her mother, we set up a table with a small demonstration. We showed the film I made once, and also a couple of very simple and short presentations to give an introduction: for normal composting, dan ada juga di Bahasa Malaysia untuk vermikompos.
vermicomposting stall Kelana Jaya SS4

There was quite a lot of interest (more than I expected to be honest), and we managed to convince everyone that composting does not smell! Honestly! :-) The thing is, you mustn't put any animal products in your compost or worm bin, and then the worst you get is some fruit flies if you don't cover it up properly. We also found out that popular way to do composting here is to dig a hole in the ground, chuck stuff in and cover it up; then it's just left to decompose. It's OK as a method, but it means you can't really spread your compost around your garden wherever you want it to go. And, of course, vermicomposting speeds it all up and gives you much better quality fertiliser.

Another thing which puts people off is having to buy worms - the price at the moment is about RM400-450 a kilo. Actually, you don't need a full kilo to start, but the minimum purchase for us was one kilo - so the thing to do is split the cost with someone, 200 or 250g are enough to get started. And remember that they will breed and grow the colony by themselves - all you have to do is feed them with what you were going to throw away!

WW and her mother got the worms at the Serdang UPM campus - the Taman Pertanian Universiti. They have a big set-up there, producing worms and fertiliser on a big scale. The basic business model is to use organic waste to produce fertiliser, and also to sell worms - as they breed quite quickly too.
Taman Pertanian Universiti vermicomposting harvest, cacing vermikompos

There's a company called 'Agro Bio-Tani (Kelantan) Sdn. Bhd. which has received some interest in the national press. - the telephone number is 09 747 7539 or 013 935 5539. You may also be able to get some worms from FRIM too, but I'm not so sure about that, call them up if you're going to try.

You can order a booklet produced by the Jabatan Pertanian here.
These blogs seem to have good information about vermicomposting, but they are in BM so I don't know the details:
Ternakan Cacing Tanah | Penghasilan Baja Organik
Ternakan Cacing Vermikompos

**Update 21 October 2008**
There's a Malaysian company, Eastern Agro Centre, who seem to be into larger scale production of vermicompost and selling worms.
and more (29/10/08) The Worm Man

Clouds over Sarawak

Arrived in Sarawak! :-D I'm here for a conference and a short holiday, will try to give updates as I go along

I took a couple of photos from the aeroplane - this was my first sight of Sarawak and East Malaysia

I like the way the clouds follow the coast.

This is clouds and - I think - haze. You can see a band of dark stuff which I think is the haze, it looked kind of different from the rest of the clouds.

Fortunately, the sky here is clear, so maybe it was not haze.

RuMe review and giveaway competition! Get a free reusable bag!

**Sticky post until 13/08/08 - Scroll down for new posts**
In a way, it’s a story about blogs – you know how you randomly spot something in PPS or Innit, then click here then there, and end up somewhere you never expected?

It all started with a post by yinhao – through him I came to Nikkiko who was promising a link to anyone who posted a photo showing how not to use plastic bags. So, I did, and also set up a space in my sidebar for Bloggers who hate plastic bags.

Then I got a comment and an email from The Tiny Tapir: she has this online shop full of great enviro-friendly stuff, and was asking me if I wanted to review some reusable bags! Cool! My first review, and for environmentally friendly stuff summor :-D

So, I’ve been using them for a couple of months, and here it is… Oh and you can win one, details at the bottom!

The first thing I noticed, was how small they pack up; the manufacturers say “our patent pending enclosure system enables three bags to roll up to about the size of your cup of coffee.” Actually, the ‘patent enclosure system’ is a couple of velcro straps sewn onto the top, but they work very well and the bags arrived in one A3-size envelope, delivered two days after ordering online.

Radioactive Man vs. RuMe!
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Indiana Julian and the Temple of Earth

In American academic tradition, archaeology falls under the general discipline of anthropology. So, since Indiana Jones is American, and I taught in the American Degree Program, that kind of makes him and me colleagues!

See the resemblance? No? Try squinting hard, even closing your eyes!

OK, maybe he’s a bit more ‘athletic’ than I am… But I also went on a quest, braving danger and near death, just to look for answers to impending environmental disasters :-O

Crawling through caves…

almost drowning in hidden water traps…

and then, when the summer equinox sun shone at 12pm through the hidden grove...
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