lifestyle

New Vending Machines In Malaysia Can Refill Liquid Detergent, Hand Sanitiser & More

It's the first-of-its-kind in Malaysia!

Cover image via Provided to SAYS

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Malaysians go through tonnes of single-use plastic waste a year

A study by World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) revealed that Malaysia ranks second highest in Asia for overall generated plastic waste — even beating countries like China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Not something we should be proud of. But thankfully, the country has been taking baby steps towards more sustainable living, such as reducing plastic bag waste in supermarkets and offering more eco-friendly alternatives.

Introducing Malaysia's first vending machines for refilling liquid detergent and other cleaning agents

EcoVend is a zero waste solution company based in KL that has set up vending machines called Bubbles. At these machines, you can refill your:
– Floor cleaner
– Dishwashing liquid
– Toilet cleaner
– All-purpose cleaner
– Hand sanitiser
– Laundry detergent 
– Hand wash liquid

Instead of tossing out plastic bottles once they're empty, bring them to one of these vending machines, select the product and amount you want on the touchscreen, and that's it!

The machine accepts cashless payments, such as debit/credit card payments via PayWave or e-wallet (Touch 'n Go / Boost / Grab). Super simple and efficient.

Here's a look at how it works:

The idea came about four years ago when its founder Don Low realised that there were no refill packs for shampoo in Malaysia, despite there being refills for soap and laundry detergent

Even refill packets are still single-use plastic, so there was no proper zero waste option. He told SAYS that he hadn't discovered zero waste stores at the time.

"I was thinking about a vending machine where people can reuse their bottles directly from the machine. Only then would it be 100% zero waste!" he shared.

As someone who hates trash and is always reminded of plastic waste in our everyday lives, the 36-year-old felt the need to address the problem, which he explained stems more from large corporations selling products in single-use plastic products rather than consumers' usage.

As a result, his company EcoVend came up with two main products in February: Bubbles vending machines and Zeffort cleaning products.

Don Low is the founder of EcoVend and holds a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science.

Image via Provided to SAYS

So far, people have been receptive of their vending machines and have been requesting for them to place one in their areas. Low hopes to be able to eventually expand on the products by approaching larger corporations to offer body care and more.

"I'm amazed that so many young Malaysians are incredibly keen to go zero waste. The problem is accessibility, and the only way to solve this is to reach out to more people by having more machines in more locations," he added.

There are currently six Bubbles vending machines in different parts of Klang Valley

They are located in:
– The Waterfront @ ParkCity, KL
– Wangsa Walk Mall, Wangsa Maju
– Lotus's Cheras, Cheras
– Lotus's Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya
– Desa Green Serviced Apartments, Taman Desa
– Symphony Tower, Seri Kembangan

Low told SAYS that they're working on opening more machines after receiving enquiries from almost every state in Malaysia.

"We want retail refill stations with at least 10 machines and 80 products from 30 different brands; covering hair, body, fabrics, and floor cleaning products."

To find out more, you can check out their website and Facebook.

Here's a step-by-step video tutorial on how to use the machine:

If there's no vending machine near you yet, you can check out these local zero waste stores:

Here are more easy ways to help you reduce waste and kickstart your sustainable living journey: