UCSI Applied Sciences students win Ford environmental grant

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ford Motor Company, together with its local partner; Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC) have announced UCSI University’s Faculty of Applied Sciences (FOAS) as one of the grant recipient for its 2014 Conservation and Environmental Grants (CEG) Programme in Malaysia. 

Out of 53 applications from a wide range of organisations including schools, universities, NGOs, community groups and public entities, 11 local conservation and environmental projects were selected. The recipients were granted a total of RM150,000 in grants to carry out their environmental preservation, conservation and education projects. 

FOAS was granted RM11,250 for their CAREton Project that collects beverage cartons, to be recycledinto roofing tiles for indigenous (Orang Asli) villagers’ homes. 

CAREton Project @ UCSI is the first and only University campus-based public collection centre in Malaysia under the CAREton Project umbrella for used beverage cartons. It is the signature community-cum-environment project of the Faculty of Applied Sciences Student Association (SASSA). The project supports the original project initiated by Tetra Pak and Nestle Malaysia – to collect as many used beverage cartons as possible for recycling, not only reducing the contribution of beverage cartons to solid waste in the environment but to upcycle the cartons to help build roofs over underprivileged Orang Asli families. 

According to Assistant Professor Dr Crystale Lim Siew Ying of FOAS, unlike other CAREton Project affiliates, the project is managed and executed by the University’s students. 

“They often have bright ideas to improve the project as a whole. They have introduced a daily free service of collecting, cleaning and transporting the used beverage cartons from F&B businesses around the University to the campus, thus encouraging donor compliance and effectively recovering more cartons.” 

Since the initiation of CAREton Project @ UCSI, the University have raised the awareness of over 5,000 students and staff on the benefits of recycling used beverage cartons. This is reflected in the slow but steady increase in the collection of used beverage cartons redirected from landfills to be upcycled. 

Its first periodical collection in September 2013 saw 10kg of collected used beverage cartons, 20kg in March 2014, and 100kg in September 2014. The initiative has also been accepted by the University as a Student Enrichment Programme (SEP) project, which encourages UCSI University scholarship students to acquire essential life skills and make a difference. 

On the long-term aim for the project, Dr Crystale stated that she envisions it to be an effective and high-profile collection point for the greater Taman Connaught community and increase the awareness of beverage carton recycling among community members. 

“This project also strives to remove at least 500kg of used beverage cartons from potential landfill sites every month, with increasingly efficient recovery rates of cartons from the public,” said Dr Crystale.

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