Back to database    Mar 28, 2017



Innovation series gathers stories of some of the most innovative social businesses around the world that work with the dual aim of profit and impact. Businesses committed to doing good stand out from the crowd because most customers feel good about supporting socially proactive companies. They also achieve a boost in productivity since employees who know their work tangibly affects the lives of others are more likely to go above and beyond. It is hoped that the series will impart useful knowledge for greater institutional support for activities with social innovation impact.  Read about SEV’s new investor-led initiative – a social venture builder.

Social business: XUsed

by Joanne Willemin & Yusuf Jaffar

In 2015, only 15% of Malaysians were recycling their waste. This is far from the 22% target rate that the government wants to achieve by 2020 – which, in all honesty, looks fairly modest in comparison to current recycling rates in some of the developed countries such as Singapore (59%), Austria (68%) and Germany (62%).

The costs of non-recycling are not insignificant: increased environmental pollution, reduced natural resources, greater energy consumption (because producing a recycled product consumes up to 70% less energy that creating it from raw materials) – all of which continue to put undue financial burden on public finances.

It appears that most people are aware of the importance of waste reduction but have little to no incentive to actually practice recycling. Meanwhile, personal ethics is a motivator for a very small proportion of the overall population. For low-income households especially, recycling is not a major concern given their preoccupation with other essential problems.

Finding a solution

xused_logoXUsed Global Solutions (XUsed) is a social business that encourages Malaysians and local organisations to recycle in exchange for money. Various used items such as cooking oil, aluminium, plastic, paper, glass, food and even e-waste (e.g., mobile phones and computer hardware) are sold and bought via a web-based application. The latter features a simple dashboard that helps users keep track of their waste item totals and earnings.

In addition to the positive environmental effects of recycling, XUsed also alleviates the financial difficulties of struggling families as well as charities.

Impact to date

The company is very young but very hopeful. In October 2016, XUsed recorded more than 2,000 active users of the application; these individuals have been supplementing their regular income by an average of USD40/RM160 a month.

The recycling sector in Malaysia has a huge potential since the market remains largely untapped. Particularly with regard to certain types of items (such as paper and aluminium cans), it seems possible for the country to achieve a relatively high rate of recycling. (For example, Brazil and Japan both boast recycling rates for aluminium of more than 90%.)





you may also like

a school girl using a tablet with headphones on

Technology to enable quality education in poor communities

Zaya Learning Labs is a social enterprise that has developed tools schools can use through a tablet or other WiFi enabled devices. They provide interactive class material and videos which focus on Maths, Science and English and target students up to the fifth grade.

   Sep 26, 2017 Read more

3 asian young men discussing something at a table with a laptop

Foodabox

Since 2015, Foodabox has been working to spread an eco-friendly alternative to polystyrene and plastic packaging, making it more affordable and accessible for food operators via food box advertising. The startup has gained traction since.

   Sep 26, 2017 Read more

Five men in blue T-shirts standing with hands crossed against a pickup truck

1L Car Wash

As a social enterprise, 1L Car Wash also aims to reduce rising youth unemployment. We offer fair paying employment and train youth from underprivileged backgrounds to be auto-detailers, empowering them with essential life as well as entrepreneurial skills.

   Sep 26, 2017 Read more